I have worked with many real estate agents during my years as a licensed Realtor® and I have found that this field is home to all types of agents and personalities. Did you know that approximately 1 out of every 220 adults in the US is a licensed agent (or was at some point in time). Yet despite the high number of real estate agents, I find that I can count on one hand the other agents that I would love to do business with again.
I find this to be a very sad statistic. Why are there so few real estate agents that I look forward to working with again? I thought about the agents that I have enjoyed working with and they all possess the following 3 qualities.
Communication is key. An agent with whom it is easy to communicate and who stays involved throughout the process makes for a pleasant experience. Constant communication keeps you on target and makes for a smooth transaction from start to finish. All parties need to be on the same page throughout the entire process. If there are issues or potential delays, all parties need to be aware of them so that they can resolve them in a timely manner. Another agent may be your competition when you are trying to get a new client, but when you are working on the same transaction they are your team. I love working with an agent who is just as dedicated to the transaction as I am. If the other agent lacks communication skills, then you need to go direct to the source (lender, title company, etc.) for answers.
2. Adhere to deadlines
Deadlines are written in to contracts to create a timeline so that the process flows seamlessly from start to finish. When we write an offer, we set forth timelines for earnest money deposits, property inspections, appraisals, mortgage commitments, etc. These are written to protect both the buyers and the sellers. Deadlines give buyers contingency periods in order to be able to legally cancel an agreement and get their deposit money back. Deadlines provide sellers with the security of knowing that the buyers are making progress with the purchase of the home. Deadlines are not just there for the heck of it, though many other agents do not take them seriously.
I have encountered agents who dragged their feet on writing up a Reply to Home Inspection. When we received the buyer’s lengthy list of repairs over 10 days beyond the contingency period, my seller could have refused to make any repairs and the buyer would still be obligated to purchase the home even without any repairs being made. Is this the kind of agent you want representing you? One who does not adhere to deadlines and either costs you your earnest money deposit or a home in need of repairs for which you will be 100% responsible?
3. Team work
We are all trying to get to the same end goal, the closing table. Real estate agents should be working together and not against each other. The buyers want to buy and the sellers want to sell, so as agents we should be doing everything in our power to make sure that happens. Some transactions are smooth from start to finish, but sometimes we hit a bump or two along the way and how we navigate them makes all the difference. It is our job to do what is best for our clients, but it also matters how our clients perceive an issue – is it a problem worthy of ending a deal or is it just an obstacle that we can overcome.
I had one listing that was delayed due to some minor financial issues that the buyers’ lender had to resolve. Due to a last minute postponement, the electricity was turned off at a vacant, newly renovated property. Over a long holiday weekend, the ice from the freezer melted and destroyed the new wood floors in the kitchen. The buyers could have used this unfortunate incident to break the contract and walk away from the deal at the last minute. However, instead we worked together to find a solution that worked for all parties. My sellers were willing to have their contractor replace the kitchen flooring with brand new tile. The buyers were accepting of this solution, continued with the purchase of the house and ultimately wound up with nicer floors. So we came up with a win-win solution to an issue that could have potentially ruined a sale.
A Realtor® brings a lot of value to the table, but it is not only how they work with their client that matters. The way that they interact with other people in their field (agents, home inspectors, lenders, title officers) is just as important.