How responsive should your real estate agent be?

Stone stepsThe odds are good that if you are looking to hire a real estate professional, one of the criteria you seek is “responsive”. Those of us who sell real estate for a living know that consumers want to hear back from us as soon as possible when they call or email (or text, in some cases).

How responsive should your real estate agent be?

  • Most real estate agents will return phone calls within a half day regularly, or at the end of the business day worst case scenario
  • Some will answer the phone when it rings every time, unless they are with clients or otherwise crunching on something urgent, such as writing or reviewing offers
  • For emails, the response times can be similar – often within a few hours, but not more than 24 hours
  • When consumers text, the response may be faster since it seems urgent to the recipient. You’ll want to see if your agent wants texts outside of certain hours or not, or if texting should be reserved for things that demand a quick response.
  • Some agents may have a dedicated day off and will not return messages until the following day. It’s good to ask ahead of time about how time off is handled.
  • Be sure to ask about your agent’s schedule and communication style (when and how they’d like to hear from you). Make sure you let your preferred method be known so you can be on the same page not just for when to communicate, but how!

Responsiveness and phone calls

If not with clients or otherwise tied up, many Realtors (yours truly included) will pick up the phone when called during business hours. (Some won’t. Some do time blocking and return calls at set times, such as between 11am and noon and 4 and 5pm. Those who time block in this way will often put a message on their voice mail explaining when they will call back. Hopefully, that works for the caller!).  (more…)

Planning to sell your Silicon Valley home? Hire your Realtor before making any big decisions!

Hire FirstSeveral times in recent years I have represented buyers in transactions where the seller’s side of the escrow seems to be a little messed up.  In most of those cases, the problem was a result (directly or indirectly) of the home seller doing too much prep work before hiring an agent.  That is really putting the cart before the horse, is a waste of money and it can cause harm to you, the seller, down the road.

In a couple of instances, the sellers ordered pre-sale inspections first and hired a real estate licensee later.  What could be wrong with that?  Like all professionals, there are better and worse inspectors (and better and worse companies).  There are firms with fantastic reputations for honesty, thoroughness, and reliability. And then there are the duds.

Most of my real estate colleagues have a preferred vendor or two, but also have a long list of professionals whom they would trust to inspect a property and do a good job of it.  Most home sellers, though, do not have much experience with inspectors and do not know these companies by reputation.  More than once, I’ve heard sellers picking a national brand due to name recognition.  That may be OK some of the time, but it’s sure not how most real estate agents would suggest hiring anyone!

When you hire a Realtor or other real estate licensee in a full service capacity (which is what happens most of the time), you are paying not for just the MLS entry, the negotiations, the fliers etc., but the whole transaction package, from start to finish. You’re paying for advice and guidance and that can begin long, long before there’s a sign in the yard.  Why not take advantage of that guidance from the very beginning, with basic input on decluttering and staging and then which inspections to order – and for those, get a list of trusted sources from the real estate professional you hire.

As for the sales in which the seller made a poor inspection choice, in one case it cost that home owner about $10,000 and in another a lost sale.

There are many decisions you’ll need to make when selling your home.  You don’t have to go it alone!  Hire a great agent or broker to work with you and take advantage of your trusted resource from the very beginning. That will save you time, money and stress in the long run!

If you found this informative, there’s plenty more to read. Try one of these related posts:

Hiring an Agent to Help You Sell or Buy a Home in Silicon Valley

How to get a great buyer’s agent in a seller’s market (when most Realtors would rather assist home sellers)

How do you choose a real estate agent whom you trust?

Thinking of Selling Your Silicon Valley Home? Get It Right The First Time if You Go On The Market!




The overly easy answers will easily lead you astray: please beware this misleading real estate tactic

Beware!Buying and selling homes in Silicon Valley can be downright daunting.  Perhaps you have heard this line: “the confused mind says no”.  It’s true. When consumers feel overwhelmed, it tends to freeze them in their tracks.

One approach that some real estate salespeople use to gain control and get themselves hired as a listing agent or buyers’ agent is to oversimplify complex situations such that they feel manageable and doable. If that real estate agent makes things look less complex, it removes some worry and builds trust, and thus the consumer elects to hire that Realtor or other licensee.

The trouble is that too often, the overly easy answer is not really a true picture of the buying or selling situation.  It is simply a convenient one which gets the agent what she or he wants – the job.

How do you know if what you’re hearing is a dangerous oversimplification?  Often, it’s when all choices or decisions are boiled down to just one issue.  For example, you might, as a home seller, hear that “The only thing that matters is….” followed by any number of single choices:  price, marketing, negotiation ability, staging.

I see home owners fall for this too often.  The thing is this – if that agent convinces you that only one of these items matter, than all of the rest can be discounted, played down, and ignored. (more…)

What do real estate agents think you want to know about them? Possibly nothing at all!

Who are you?The way that Realtors and other real estate licensees market themselves may impact the way the home buying and selling public view them – or even which questions to ask during an interview.  Ten or twenty years ago, realty professionals did a lot of “me, me, me” marketing.  We were told to have career books to show to prospective clients so they’d understand our value and what makes us unique in the sea of competition.  A lot of print advertising is still very much that way, as in “look what I sold”.  Online, though, and in person, the trend is to turn away from agent-centric marketing.

We in the business are told that consumers don’t care about us, they only care about themselves, and to tailor our messages accordingly.  “Don’t make it about you!  Make it about your potential clients!”  So many salespeople have little or no information about them, their experience, background, awards, etc. findable on the web or in the material they bring along when first meeting prospective clients.

To me, this is a very weird (but common) state. Why would a consumer want to hire someone to assist with an enormous financial decision, the contract, the marketing (if selling), the labyrinth of disclosures and inspections without a sense of who this person is or how qualified he or she might be?  Who does this “make it all about them” marketing approach serve? In my view, it helps the new, inexperienced or not so successful agent to appear to be even with those who are much better skilled and better respected in their industry. (more…)