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To follow my last blog where I highlighted 5 things your Agent wants you to know, it only seemed fair to touch on things your Agent doesn’t want you to know. Here goes…..
1. Anyone can get a real estate license.
There are only 3 pre-licensing courses required, which can be taken in a classroom setting or even online. The only other prerequisites for getting your real estate license are passing a 100 question exam and paying CAL BRE licensing fees.
Joe Smith can go from being unemployed to licensed Real Estate Agent Extraordinaire in as little as 30 days.
Generally speaking, within the industry, full-time Professionals tend to frown upon part-time agents. It’s important to ask your Agent detailed questions about their experience.
How many transactions did you close last year? 2 years? 5 years?
Do you have another full-time job?
Length of years licensed, or “being in the business,” has less bearing when compared to recent experience, especially in this ever-changing real estate market. You want to work with an Agent who is up to date on local market conditions and disclosure requirements. 30 years of being licensed means nothing when s/he hasn’t closed a transaction in the last 5 years.
2. They don’t have as much business as you think they do.
Most Agents have adopted a common boiler-plate response when asked, “How’s business?”
“Oh, business is great. I’m just so busy!”
The reality is about 5% of the Agents in your area handle 95% of the transactions. In Santa Cruz County, the vast majority of Agents do 6 or less transactions. The gap is wide between the top-producing agents and the rest.
Everyone starts their business somewhere. I’m not implying that a new Agent won’t do a phenomenal job. After all, I can distinctly remember my first sale. I’m proud to say those clients are life-long friends who have continued to refer us to many of their friends and family.
What do I say when I’m asked, “How’s business?”
“Business is great! I’m always looking for more. Do you know anyone who would benefit from our services?”
3. We don’t know everything.
This may appear contradictory to my last blog where I named “We don’t know everything” in the 5 Things your Agent wants you to know.
As much as we want you to know that we don’t know everything, we also equally want to be able to wow you with our expertise of all things Real Estate.
One fellow agent summarized our job description quite accurately- “Experts of nothing, Knowledgeable of everything.” In addition to knowing the inventory, we have to have a basic understanding of taxes, construction, lending, title, and legal matters.
It takes experience and confidence to be able to tell a client, “I don’t know the answer to your question, but I’ll be sure to help direct you to the right expert.”
4. The Horror Stories… Oh the Horror Stories!
Not everyone can say they’ve stumbled upon people in the throes of passion, a pig hanging out in the living room, or what could be the set for the next episode of "Hoarders" all in a days work. Every time I open up a door, I briefly think to myself, “What new adventure might I discover today?”
I recently showed a property in Felton to a client who so aptly labeled the basement as “The Dexter Room.” It was all taken in good humor, but it got me thinking about some of the other, less humorous, horror stories some of my fellow Realtors have shared.
5. Dual Agency is not always a good thing.
Dual Agency is when the same Brokerage represents both the buyer and seller. In an even more specific scenario, sometimes the same Agent represents both buyer and seller. It’s great to be able to manage a transaction working with oneself. There’s no miscommunication or waiting on response from the other Agent. There are fewer parties to manage and align schedules. Not to mention, the pay is better.
Often referred to as “The Holy Grail” among other Realtors, I find that dual agency doesn’t come without its downsides. I personally think dual agency is not just double the work, it’s triple the work. In a typical transaction where each buyer and seller has their own representation, an Agent only has to keep in mind what is in the best interest of their client. Well, in dual agency, that Agent has to keep in mind 1) what is in the best interest of their seller; 2)what is in the best interest of their buyer; AND 3) where these interests overlap.
Dual Agency is hard. It can be successful, but it requires transparency and fully informed clients.
Check back next week for my recap of my first Wharf to Wharf (2015).
Aimee Thayer-Garcia is a Real Estate Broker Associate at Bailey Properties. She is Top-Producing Agent and practices Real Estate full time with her husband, Angel Garcia. Mom of 3. 831-435-9146. ATGarcia@BaileyProperties.com
I’m still amazed by the relationships that I’ve formed through the years with clients. Typically buying or selling a home is a significant event in one’s life. It ranks up there with falling in love, getting married, starting a family, and retiring. I learn so much about a client’s dreams, life goals, family dynamics, and pet peeves when working together. It’s too easy for the relationship to be a one-way street of information though, from client to agent. Here is my attempt to balance that often one-way flow of information with 5 things I think most Agents would want their clients to know.
1. We have lives outside of Real Estate
Yes, every Agent knows that working weekends and irregular hours goes with the territory of being in the industry. When everyone else is off from work, we are busy little worker bees. However, at the end of the day, we are still human. We get sick, we have families, we celebrate births and marriages, deal with loss and death, take vacations, and have interests outside of real estate (gasp!)
I won’t lie. Part of the reason I entered real estate was because I thought I would be able to set my own schedule. I was wrong! But that’s OK. I still set aside time for my family and my own interests, which include reflecting and laughing at my naivety when I entered the business.
I won’t always be able to answer your calls 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week AND take you out every Saturday and Sunday to tour homes. Some of the best agents are those who are able to effectively time manage. Some of the best clients are those who are able to respect their Agent’s time management.
2. Real Estate is a lot of work
Let me revise. Real Estate is a TON of work. Often the public thinks our face-to-face time with clients is what makes up our job, limited to driving around in fancy cars looking at homes, holding open houses and writing offers.
The reality is, there are about 50 million small tasks involved when working with every client.
That weekend tour of property likely happened because of hours and hours of prep work by your Agent- previewing 50 homes in order to find you the best 5, tracking down other Agents to confirm appointments, taking our car to the car wash, filling up the gas tank, planning out the route, reviewing property reports and disclosures, researching the neighborhood and market activity…… the list is endless.
When your offer is accepted, guess what? We’re not just working weekends showing you homes, we’re now working during the week managing lenders, title and escrow, and inspectors.
I have really only touched briefly on the work hours and days in this section, but I really could dedicate a whole other blog topic to the physical demands- walking through flea-ridden properties (my poor ankles), attending septic system pumps (smelly!), and exploring acreage out in the country (I’ve stopped wearing high heels.)
3. Nitpicking a property during an open house will not get you a deal.
By nature, I am a very energetic person. Nitpicking is perhaps one of my biggest pet peeves. I have dedicated hours to hold an open house for my seller. If you are going to come through and find something negative in every room of the property, please leave.
What’s shocking to me is that, excluding those people who just are naturally cynical and negative, a good majority of people who nitpick at an open house actually LOVE the property and will eventually write an offer. There’s this misinformed perception that if you pick apart the property and don’t let the agent know how much you like the house, somehow you’ll get a better deal…??
Negativity + Negativity does NOT = Accepted Offer.
I have an amazing memory when it comes to people, faces, their attitudes and opinions. When your agent brings me your offer- I will remember you as the buyer who said the kitchen was ugly and needs a facelift, hated the paint colors, and didn’t understand why the seller planted that tree. If you’re acting that difficult during an open house, I can only expect you’ll be that much more difficult in escrow!
If the house is not for you. That’s OK. Nobody is forcing you to buy that home.
If you do love the home, great! Call your Agent and write up an offer.
4. We don’t know EVERYTHING.
Every house is different, every neighborhood is different, every buyer and seller are different.
More than once I have had a similar exchange happen during an open house:
Potential Buyer A: “Do you know if the door faces East or West? And how much will it cost me to add a second story?”
Me: “I’m actually not sure about the door direction. But I’m happy to pull up a compass if that information is important for you to know. As far as adding a second story, there are a lot of different factors that go into permitting and construction costs. Can you give me more info and I can help point you in the right direction?”
Potential Buyer A: “What do you mean, you don’t know?!? Aren’t you the Agent selling this home? How can you not know what direction the front door faces?!”
It’s OK if I don’t know whether the front door is east-facing or not and if I don’t keep every City’s permit fee calculator permanently etched into the back of my brain. That doesn’t make me a bad Agent.
However, if we can treat each other with kindness, respect, and professionalism, I am more than happy to help do the research necessary to answer your questions.
5. The advice from your cousins, uncles, sister-in-law’s best friends, neighbor who happens to be a part-time real estate Agent doesn’t apply.
Again, every house is different, every neighborhood is different, and every buyer and seller are different. The set of circumstances that might have applied to your cousins, uncles, sister-in-law’s best friends, neighbor likely does not apply to our transaction.
As an Agent, I’m not just negotiating price and terms. I’m also negotiating personalities and emotions! I’m educating, advising, consoling, coordinating, managing, helping and pushing sometimes 3, 4, or 5 different sets of parties in a transaction.
One of my strong points is that I’m a collaborator. I put a lot of effort in being able to work with all kinds of clients and all kinds of Agents. I’m always open to hearing what other Agents are doing, but likely the complexities of that transaction won’t apply to your transaction.
Aimee Thayer-Garcia is a Real Estate Broker Associate at Bailey Properties. She is a Top-Producing Agent and practices Real Estate full time with her husband, Angel Garcia. Mom of 3. 831-435-9146. ATGarcia@BaileyProperties.com