May take your order pleaeIf you go to a fast food restaurant, you probably don’t need an advisor to help you to decide what you may want to eat. In many cases, it would be wise if you’d consult the nutrition information chart – if it’s readily available – but aside from that, how much help do you need?

Similarly with plane reservations, you most likely don’t need a lot of help in figuring out what flight to book. There are some nuances, though – perhaps one airline has all kinds of hidden fees for luggage, food, and hey, maybe they even want to charge you to use the restroom! Perhaps some have much better “ontime arrival” statistics or fewer lost luggage complaints. Overall, though, you don’t need an advisor most of the time.

Real estate, though, is a complicated process. It’s not like buying a seat on a plane or an ready-made meal at a fast food joint.

The mistake that some consumers make, and that I see once in awhile, is in assuming that they know as much as a seasoned real estate professional, and that input from a Realtor is of little or no value.  This happens with both home sellers and home buyers at times.  Luckily it’s not too common.

Most of the time, Silicon Valley Realtors have a great desire to help buyers and sellers by sharing their experience, insight, and wisdom.  We don’t just “take orders” and fill out listing agreements or contracts if we are full time and full service.  We are able to offer you guidance.  That’s what an agent is – a fiduciary, someone who cares for you and your interests and puts them ahead of the real estate licensee’s own position or interest (i.e., paycheck).

Recently I had the unpleasant experience of meeting both home owners wanting to sell and would be home-buyers who considered me to be an order taker.  In both cases, the common denominator was that they did NOT ask for my input.  They didn’t say “what do you think?” It was “here’s what I want”. Period. [Not to be snarky, but in the case of the seller, I opted out of the listing and he listed with someone else.  That home did go on the market but did not sell even after many months.  In the case of the buyer, I was doing a listing agent friend a favor by assisting him in writing an offer. He lost in multiples.]

Normally my clients come to me from either past client referrals, repeat clients, or they are my blog or website readers.   Usually those folks realze that I know more than a new licensee and are happy to request and consider my input, even if they hear it and make a choice to do otherwise.

The thing that’s hard for me to take, professionally, is when a home seller or home buyer just tells me “this is what’s what” without wanting or valuing any input from me or any other real estate professional.

Most of us Silicon Valley real estate sales people are Realtors: we’re here to help, not by recording your wants and needs as some kind of scribe, but in a profound way, as fiduciaries.  And we are so much more than order takers.  Our biggest value proposition is in our ability to guide and offer insight due to our wide ranging experience with cotracts, buyers, sellers, the market, lending challenges, appraisal challenges, trends in what new buyers want and more.

The clients who “get it”, who see us help them in many ways, guide and encourage them, help them to pinpoint the pricing, and cheer them on, they are the ones who are happiest because they know that all through the home buying or home selling experience, they had a wise partner at their side.  They see that their buyer’s agent or listing agent is shoulder to shoulder with them, and not just that, but using their years of experience to help avoid pitfalls and smooth out the bumps.

As for me, I love working with people who get  that my goal is to help them, not by just checking the boxes that they ask me to check in whatever paperwork, but by helping them to maximize their position, whether buying or selling.  I love it when we pull together, chew through the details together, and get the result because we work together as a team.  When I sense an “order taker” mentality, I’ll check out as soon as possible, because I know we aren’t ever going to become the team we need to be for success.