What is the Advantage to Working with a Realtor?
Well, I believe there are many advantages. I’ma back it up, and tell you a little bit about where I’m coming from.
IN THE BEGINNING
When I was growing up, my mother was a Realtor.
I have solid memories of driving around in her pristine Chrysler LeBaron station wagon, visiting clients’ homes to get signatures, or picking them up to look at houses. I spent hours in her office, eavesdropping on her phone conversations – listening to her converse with colleagues and talk with her broker.
I fondly remember coloring the pages of the pastel colored Multiple Listing Service books, which were the only source of info for available listings in the 1980’s. Online access to the MLS listings was not yet a thing.
She was the gatekeeper of knowledge. She dressed for success, smelled great (Charlie perfume, of course), worked hard, and her friends and colleagues never failed to tell me how wonderful she was.
Everyone respected my mother, and I was keenly aware that she helped people, and always did the right thing. She was a pillar in the community, and I admired her for it. She was a true Boss.
When I decided to shift careers from being a professional harpist to selling residential real estate, I wanted to model my business on the strong qualities I saw in my business-boss-mother. I knew that I would work diligently to help people buy and sell homes, always staying true to the principles with which I was raised.
I hoped that I could pull it off with sophistication and class (sans the cigarettes and Charlie), just like Mom did.
Looking back, I don’t recall anyone questioning the value of the service my mother and her colleagues provided. When I started in real estate, it didn’t occur to me that my value as a Realtor would be questioned either. Unfortunately, there are those who question.
It surprises me a little, when I run up against it. I try not to take it personally. But I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said it didn’t make me bristle – just a bit.
Allow me to offer up some thoughts on the real estate industry, and the idea of service – then, now, and evermore. Even, and maybe especially now, in the midst of a changing landscape.
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME
Today’s real estate industry is quite different than it was in the 80’s. In SOME ways.
When I chat with my mom about work, and the biz, she marvels at the tools I have at my fingertips to make my job easier:
- I can watch new listings pop on the market in real time
- I can easily set up appointments with a simple click on my phone.
- I can draw up a contract and have it out for electronic signature within the hour.
- I can set up an ACH Transfer for my clients to submit Earnest Money Deposit in a heartbeat.
- I can research a deed, and view a property’s history on demand.
- Can’t make it to settlement? No worries, we’ll get a Remote Online Notary session set up with the title company, if your lender says it’s ok.
Technology has given us many tools to discover more, do business faster, and be more productive. Gone are the days when Working-Mom-Business-Ladies were required to drive many miles (perhaps with young daughters in tow), traveling to a client’s home or workplace to get a simple signature. Yes. Things are different now.
SO HOW IS IT THE SAME, JULIA?
I would verture to say that the basics of brokering the sale of real property has not changed all that much in the last 40 (and more) years. The best conversations Mom and I share today are the ones about the human element of the process of helping someone buy or sell a home.
These dynamics are pretty much exactly the same as when she was selling real estate. The negotiations between buyer and seller, the ups and downs of the deal, and the stresses and difficulties that can arise and that must be navigated. Some things really don’t change.
21st century technology has certainly changed the terrain of buying and selling homes, but the work of a really good real estate agent is, was, and always will be invaluable.
As the logistics of buyer representation may begin to shift in the coming years, it will become even more important to realize how essential this representation is and will be.
Technology and real estate apps don’t come close to providing what the vast majority of people buying and selling their home want and need. Are online tools and third party vendors like Zillow and Redfin convenient and helpful? Yes, sometimes. Does this technology provide tailor made customer service and essential feedback with personalized guidance, or even guaranteed accuracy? That’s a hard no.
Home sellers and buyers are seeking expert guidance, and dependable and professional knowledge about the important aspects of the transfer of property. The Contract of Sale can be upwards of about 40 pages, with potential additional addenda required, depending on the transaction.
While some people COULD take the time to acquire the necessary forms and fill them out accurately, most don’t feel that executing these legal documents is in their wheelhouse. That alone is a very strong reason to work with a professional who knows these documents inside and out, and how to prepare them.
Truthfully, the contract is just PART of a successful real estate transaction. It’s my job as a Realtor to provide a start-to-finish experience, one that just can’t be pieced together by Googling some info about how to buy or sell a house, combined with looking at listings online.
SECRET’S SAFE WITH ME
Many times, people need a compassionate soul to talk through the emotional aspect of what is potentially the largest financial decision (or most painful, depending on life circumstances) they have ever made in their life.
The role of Realtor can often resemble the role of psychologist. People can get pretty share-y when they’re about to drop a ton of cash, or when moving on from a life they once knew. People move for all kinds of reasons, and I’m sensitive to a client’s circumstance and needs. It’s a vulnerable time, and I consider myself an integral sounding board in these moments.
I am a vault, and what is shared during these heightened times stays in the vault. It is my job as a fiduciary, to keep these confidences. It is often very comforting for people to know this, and can make the process a little easier.
Should I try to sell or buy a house without an agent?
IS IT POSSIBLE TO BUY OR SELL A HOME WITHOUT A REALTOR? I HEARD MY COUSIN DID IT.
The simple answer is yes, sure. I mean look – people are free to do all kinds they know nothing about, and you and I can’t stop them. There’s no law against it, but it doesn’t always work out great.
I’m more concerned with doing things properly. Buying and selling real estate, for most people, is personal, and actually can be quite complicated. There are many potentially costly mistakes to be made, if you don’t know what you’re doing.
People (most people), do not want to go it alone. Believe me, when the going gets tough, even the sharpest of business minds and people in positions of power themselves, are thankful to have a savvy negotiator on their side, and prefer to have an agent as intermediary and buffer during the transaction.
Taking on this role for my clients adds tremendous value.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?
For buyers, it begins with explaining the entire process in full, and making sure they have no unsettling questions unanswered as we begin.
Having the certainty that you will have a guide from start to finish is key. Building trust with an agent that will stand by you throughout your search, no matter how it changes or evolves, is money in the bank.
Looking at listings online can be overwhelming. I will guide you through the process of searching for suitable listings, and will listen carefully to your feedback. I will set up showings, and advise on making a strong and attractive offer. I will prepare, execute and submit a clean offer, handle all negotiations, arrange for inspections, and work in tandem with your lender and title company to achieve a successful closing.
It’s my job to make sure my clients understand the process at every step, to ensure they have gotten the best deal, and make sure that nothing has been overlooked in the process.
For sellers, it begins with a preliminary discussion about goals, expectations, and timing.
As a full service Realtor, I will advise you on preparation to sell – including but not limited to organizing, cleaning, possible staging, and of course proper price positioning.
There is no better marketing than what Monument Sotheby’s International Realty provides. No matter the price point, we make every listing shine. Your listing will be presented in the very best light, in the most desirable outlets. The Sotheby’s Referral Network is unrivaled, and can give you nationwide or even worldwide exposure.
Once an offer (or multiple offers) is received, the important and sometimes tricky process of reviewing and selecting the right offer begins. Strong negotiation strategies are essential, and make all the difference.
As a seller’s agent, it is my job to help a homeowner sell their property for the highest proceeds, in the shortest amount of time – or in the desired timeline.
Fun Fact: It’s statistically true that For Sale By Owner transactions gain less proceeds for the seller, and take longer to sell, on average. Many sellers eventually turn to a professional Realtor to list their home in the end. Why? Because we get the job done, leaving more money in your pocket (even with paying agent commissions), and in less time.
IT’S NOT ONLY WHAT YOU KNOW, BUT WHO YOU KNOW
Are you looking to buy or sell a home in Baltimore City in neighborhoods like:
Tuscany Canterbury, Roland Park, Mount Washington, Homeland, or Guilford?
Maybe you’re looking downtown in Canton, Fells Point, Otterbein, or Locust Point?
What about communities like Ruxton, Stoneleigh, Wiltondale, Mays Chapel, Sparks, Hereford, Hunt Valley, or Phoenix in Baltimore County?
These can be highly competitive markets. We, as agents at Monument Sotheby’s International Realty specialize in these neighborhoods. There are times when the only access to listings in these highly sought out communities is exclusive to our brokerage and our agents.
Position yourself for success by allowing me to utilize my connections, and gain an advantage that comes with working within this powerful network.
LIFESTYLE. BE WHERE YOU WANT TO BE.
What’s your favorite restaurant or activity? A great agent will listen to how you like to spend your time, and create searches with this criteria in mind.
DISRUPTOR, I’M NOT ALL THAT INTO YOU.
It’s quite fashionable today to try to figure out a way to “cut out the middleman”, and go DIY in all matters of living. Because why not? Aren’t I just a fool if I actually engage someone to do what I could do myself? Can’t I save myself a bunch of money and time, and look all clever and awesome by “beating the system”?
When it comes to the buying and selling of real property, I would caution people to think twice about rolling the dice and doing it alone.
Yes, there are certainly some things you can do yourself, with the aid of online tools. Go for it – look for new listings every minute of every day online – we can work in tandem! However, good old fashioned, tried and true professional representation is still anything but foolish.
If someone tells you Realtors shouldn’t make money for working 24/7 for helping you to sell your home, for finding the home of your dreams, or for saving you time, money, and heartache, we need to have a conversation.
FREE TO BE YOU AND ME
Hey. I work hard, and I love what I do. Maybe you do too! I spend my days looking for innovative ways to bring success to my clients. I provide real value to those planning a move.
Maybe you want to sell or buy real estate, and you’re too busy to get your Realtor’s license, and head up the process yourself. Thankfully, I already have my license, and years of experience helping people buy and sell homes. I’m really good at it, and I am committed to providing a wonderful real estate experience for you.
How about I take care of the work of it all, so you can do your own job, and enjoy spending time with your friends or family. Sit back, relax – I’ve got you covered.
If you’re interested in buying or selling a home in the near future, and you think we could be a match, I’d love to hear from you.