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Great Expectations -- What Every Consumer Should Expect from their Realtor

Great Expectations -- What Every Consumer Should Expect from their Realtor

By Darrin Friedman

Choosing the right real estate agent for yourself can be a somewhat confusing experience. After all, there are choices everywhere! From your aunt who has been in the business so long she used to complete transactions on typewriters instead of computers, to your ex-roommate who got his license 6 months ago -- your options are numerous. But that's not what this blog is about. (If you're looking for guidance on how to choose the right person, check out this blog here).

This post is about realistic expectations that the consumer should have of their agent once they have chosen that person. Although the word "realistic" can have different meanings from one person to another, this is what I believe to be a good starting point for all parties:

 

1. Responsiveness: In today's world of instantaneous communication, people are used to sending and receiving messages and obtaining information within seconds. Which begs the question, how long is a realistic time to wait for a response from your agent? Well, between the hours of 8:30am and 6:30pm, seven days a week, the wait should be no longer than 5-10 minutes. Yes, really. Now, that response might not be super thorough -- it may have to be something quick and simple like, "I'll call you tomorrow when I am back in the office" -- but one way or another, the reply should be very prompt. In today's real estate landscape, that level of responsiveness is a reasonable expectation. Occasional lapses may occur, of course, if the agent is in the middle of a phone call or a closing, or is momentarily in a bad cell area. But 5-10 minutes should be the rule of thumb.

 

2. Knowledge of the Inventory: There is almost nothing more important than understanding the inventory of houses on the market, and how each house relates to the neighborhood in which it is located. Anyone can pull up a home listing online, but the standard listing information doesn't tell the whole story. A great agent should be able to fill in many blanks for their buyers. They can tell you why a house is or is not a good investment based on not just the countertops and the yard, but the flood potential of the parcel of land on which it rests, the distance to the nearest public transportation stop, and the location of boundary lines between school systems. It is reasonable to expect that your agent will know the recent and current comparable properties and can tell you exactly how the listing you're considering compares, and how that affects its value.

 

3. Knowledge of the Transaction: This may seem obvious, but it is critical that your agent truly understands the transaction process. From knowing the purpose and significance of every legal document, to explaining every moment during a home inspection, you should expect -- no, demand -- that your agent has outstanding knowledge of the law and the ins and outs of legal contracts. If you discover too late that the agent you chose does not possess this level of expertise, make sure that you get the agent's broker involved. That is how you stay protected.

 

4. The Ultimate Calming Influence: Lastly, you should expect calm from your agent. And not just a normal level of calm -- you need the kind of calm that can smooth the waters of a tidal wave. After all, that is why you hired an agent: to allay your fears and reduce your stress level! Buying or selling a home is stressful for even the most cool-headed buyers, which means that you need your agent's strength and emotional resilience to help you get through. Don't settle for a nervous Nellie -- find someone who exudes serenity like a Zen master. That is your dream agent.