Times have changed and as always when this happens there is a flight to quality. In this case, it is a flight to not only the best agents but to the top brokers who offer more experience, education, and ability to be successful in a down market. This happens in every industry at some point and real estate is no different. Sellers especially have higher expectations of the professionals they hire to sell their homes.
Over the last 7 years when both the national and local Temecula CA real estate and San Diego markets were rising steadily to its peak, people often chose their representation poorly: their friend who worked real estate part-time, a co-worker, the soccer mom down the street, or a new agent who also happened to be a family member. This was understandable due to the large number of agents that flooded the market looking for easy money, the overall heat of the market, and the belief that any real estate agent was the equivalent of a professional and experienced broker.
Although this sentiment was understandable it was also wrong and now represents one major problem among many in the market today. These part-time and inexperienced agents did not know how to guide and protect their clients from aggressive loan brokers, many of whom were also part-time or new to the industry. They also didn’t know how to explain the long term ramifications of a buyer’s purchase in areas such as high tax rates, true comparables, working with home builders, and loan choices. And, to be completely fair, many clients simply didn’t want to listen.
Now, as more and more people find themselves in financial straights, clients are starting to listen and be much more discriminate in their selection of a real estate professional. As many of the newer agents are leaving the industry and loan companies are shutting down, the needs of buyers and sellers have grown significantly. It is time for the true and proven industry professionals to start meeting these increased needs. It is also time for clients to start making the smart long term choices and avoid the seemingly easy ones that cost much more in the end.
There are different levels of competence in every profession. The true professionals in real estate are full-time, committed to learning, and put their clients first. A real estate broker should act as the quarterback of your team, guiding the entire process from start to finish. He should feel comfortable communicating his thoughts about the choices you are making whether or not it is what you want to hear at the moment. A professional broker will put your long-term interests first. In doing so he hopes to create a satisfied, loyal customer thereby protecting his own long-term interests as well.
Your broker should also be experienced with short sales, foreclosures, marketing in a difficult market, and have connections to professionals in real estate law and bank processes. Be sure to interview brokers about their experience with your particular situation. And make sure to share your expectations with them up front and simply ask them if they believe your expectations are realistic.
Client expectations that are out of line with the market are a major cause of broker concern. Real estate professionals are investing their time and money to sell a property. It is taking much more of both in the current market than it has at any other time over the last decade. It is unrealistic for you to expect a broker to invest hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars trying to sell your home if you are pricing it too high, not having it ready to show, or ignoring their professional observations.
The most important thing to remember is that real estate is one of the biggest and best investments you can ever make. It gives you a place to call home and a community where your family will participate and make friends. But it is also an investment and ultimately the decisions you make will mean the difference between your long-term financial success and failure. Get the best professional you can – one whom you trust, respect, feel comfortable with, and who is also a master in his craft.
Author Stefan West is a Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee, and Wildomar CA Real Estate Broker who specializes in the communities of Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee, and Wildomar Real Estate. To learn more please visit his website at www.stefanwest.com for more information.