Friday, April 17, 2015

The Value Of Your Agent's Reputation

When you choose a real estate agent to help you buy or sell a house, you probably don’t think very much about his or her reputation in the real estate community. But it is important to your success either in buying or selling. Here’s why:
Most of the time, the agent who lists a home or land will not be the same agent who brings a buyer. In fact, in some agencies, it is against company policy for one agent to work with both the buyer and the seller in a given transaction. That’s why cooperation and trust between agents and agencies is vital.
For Sellers:
When your listing agent has a reputation for dealing fairly with buyers' agents, those buyers’ agents will be more eager to show your home.
To maintain a good reputation, your listing agent must:
  • Return all phone calls from agents – either with questions about the home that aren’t answered in the MLS information or with requests to show
  • Make it easy to show your home – preferably with a lockbox and through convincing sellers that it is unwise to restrict times and days when a home can be shown.
  • Enter complete and accurate information in MLS – Some agents leave blank spaces and even enter incorrect information.
  • Keep MLS information up to date, especially with regard to homes under contract. No agent wants to take time to arrange a showing on a home that is already under contract.
  • Present all offers fairly and quickly. Some agents have a reputation for holding on to offers from competitors while they attempt to get an offer from their own buyers – it’s illegal, but some do it.
  • Present counter-offers within the time limits specified in the offer
  • Present complete counter-offers – no blanks left unfilled and open to questions. 
  • Cooperate with buyer’s agents when its time to arrange inspections, and throughout the closing process
  • Communicate. Short sale transactions can take many weeks or months to negotiate with the banks – buyers and their agents want to know what progress is being made, so it’s good for the listing agent to communicate regularly.
  • Be polite. Such a simple thing, and yet some agents are simply rude to other agents.
When listing agents develop a reputation for failing in any of these respects, buyer agents try to avoid showing their listings. They may get there eventually, but only if the buyer has specifically asked to see the home, or after they’ve shown all the properties listed by agents who are pleasant to deal with.
For Buyers:
While all agents will allow even an agent with a bad reputation to show their listings, an agent’s bad reputation can harm their buyer’s chances of a successful purchase.  This is especially true in situations with multiple offers on a home. But in any case, if a listing agent has had a few bad experiences with a certain buyers’ agent, he or she will warn the seller to be wary.
To maintain a good reputation, a buyers’ agent must:
  • Be on time for showings…or call if there’s an unavoidable delay. This may not harm chances once an offer is made, but raises a question about how the agent will conduct business throughout the transaction.
  • Work with pre-qualified buyers. When listing agents know that a buyer’s agent doesn’t require pre-qualification, their offers get shifted to the bottom of the pile. No one wants to tie up a listing on an offer with low probability of closing.
  • Present complete offers. There can be no questions caused by spaces left blank.
  • Respond to counter-offers on time
  • Complete inspections and other contingencies on time
  • Behave reasonably after the inspections. Some agents routinely use this period to begin re-negotiating the price – even if the inspection didn’t reveal expensive problems.
  • Communicate willingly – keeping listing agents in the loop regarding the buyer’s loan process, any anticipated delays, etc.
  • Be polite –  Again, it matters if an agent is pleasant to work with.
Reputation matters in all areas of life, but in real estate it can affect results for buyers and sellers – not just the agent.

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