Agents Do More Than You Think
Many people think that all a real estate agent does is to list a home or property, have a sign put up, enter it into the Multiple Listing Service, show it when asked to (or have a lockbox with key access for key with other agents) and then write up a sales contract and process the escrow paperwork. The role of a real estate agent is far more involved and of vastly of greater significance than those are me minimum activities might suggest.
Therefore, agents are often required to be “hand-holders,” wear the hat of a counselor, occasionally perform a function similar to that of a therapist, be an effective problem solver, and understand the principles of “staging”, as well as supervising and monitoring the myriad of details that are involved in the entire escrow process until closing of escrow happens.
Agents are also often asked for complimentary or courtesy market evaluations for people’s property. Some reasons for these requests include financial planning, down-sizing analysis, and comparison of alternatives, family trust evaluations and planning, and so forth. Agents might also be called upon as a design consultant, resource for determining where to move next, and assistance in identifying excellent agents in other areas to help their clients either in purchasing or selling property elsewhere. Agents are often looked to as a source for people to contact for landscaping, solving of water-related problems in or around the home, handymen, painters, electricians, plumbers, termite company, and so forth.
There are time when agents will be asked by clients or someone in the community regarding such issues as boundary lines disputes or questions, various disputes with neighbors that they feel an agent may have suggestions to help resolve, suggestions regarding property upgrades and repairs.
Knowledge vs Wisdom
Most of the functions and roles a real estate agent will need to be well versed in come from on-the-job-training and experience in dealing with dozens of wide-ranging types of situations. For example, my staff and I find that we learn something new from every single transaction we have done—which is over 1,000 so far!
Many recent experiences involve the numerous challenges now arising during the loan approval process. Although interest rates are at historic lows, tightened lending standards have greatly impacted both the appraisal and the personal approval aspects.
The current Westside escrow “fall-out ratio” is between 25-28%, and in some areas nearly one in three transactions fail to close escrow. Many of these failures arise through issues during the inspection period, and seasoned agents may be able to use their experience and problem solving skills to provide a higher level of service to achieve a successful close.