Recently I was fortunate enough to receive my sixty-eighth client review of their overall impression of my effort in helping the client purchase or sell a home. Of the 68 reviews, the average score is 4.8 out of a 5 point scale. I was flattered. Purchasing a home is a highly personal and emotional process. To fulfill this role every day in a positive manner is an important daily goal for me. To amass such a collection of accolades is a rewarding validation of my efforts.
I write this article not as a way to tout my own successes, but more as a reflection of what role an agent's reputation can play in a real estate transaction. Sure I am proud of the 68 positive reviews that I have collected, but this made me think about how vital the role of an agent's ethical perception can be in the process of completing a real estate transaction.
Agent to Agent Interaction
Real estate professionals interact with each other countless times throughout the process of completing a transaction. How fluid these interactions are, can play a major role in the outcome. Frankly put, some agents are easier to deal with than others. Some agents are more candid than others and so forth. So why is this important to you, the buyer or seller of a home?
Five reputation points to consider when hiring an agent.
- What is your agent to agent reputation? Agents typically have to engage each other from early on in the process. This engagement can start as soon as simply setting up an initial showing. As a seller, you don't want to have your listing agent be the contact person that the other agents loathe to call. This will have an impact on your showing volume.
- Is your agent responsive? The real estate industry has never really been a 9-5 career. And with the advent of technology, it can be a 24/7 career. This means real estate professionals need to be attentive from early morning to late evening. And by being responsive, I mean they respond to both their buyer/seller clients and other agents. Many of my agent colleagues know they can text me for a quick response. And, I too, know which ones are good a getting back to me quickly. Response speed does nothing but help the buyer or seller experience. And a non-responsive agent really hinders the process or experience.
- Is your agent helpful? In showing after showing, I have learned that I simply do not know all the questions. Buyers and sellers never cease to amaze me with the questions they can ask about a home. As I noted above, buying a home is a very personal decision. And thus, the questions can be as varied as the color spectrum, if not more. The speed at which an agent can respond to these questions can help or hinder a transaction. Have you ever needed something as simple as a plot plan? How quickly do you get that? Some agents are simply better at this than others. And this can make or break a transaction getting to the closing table.
- Is your agent respectful? Does your agent respect the role of the other agent in the process? Typically one agent represents the buyer and the buyer's interests. And one agent represents the seller and the seller's interests. (Sometimes one agent does both roles, but personally, I don't recommend this for various reasons.) Since buyers and sellers can both have competing agendas, can your agent help facilitate a smooth transaction while balancing these roles?
- Is your agent committed to your success? Real estate agents are ethically bound to help their respective buyer or seller clients achieve their goals. But is your agent a full-time agent? Or do they do real estate "on the side"? Has your agent invested in his or her career by attending national conferences and earning advanced industry designations? These designations show a level of commitment to a higher professional advancement. And thus a better level of understanding of real estate as an industry and a process. This, in turn, will deliver a better client experience.
When I look back at my sixty-eight client reviews, I feel strongly that they stem from more than my desire to serve my clients as best I can day in and day out. A large part of the reason that my clients achieve success, as either a buyer or a seller, is my reputation with my industry peers. My colleagues know that I will return a call, a text, an email in the most timely manner. And they know that I will do it with the most candid information available. This gets the job done for everybody in the process.