Is Every Other Person in California a Real Estate Agent?

Jack Turturici, Jr. of Equity Advisors explains how to decide on the best real estate agent to help represent what is usually one of the larger transactions in one’s life

It may seem that way sometimes. According to First Tuesday, a news resource for the real estate industry, the reality is that there were approximately 97,000 brokers and 200,700 active agents in California at the end of 2017. (For comparison, there were approximately 168,746 lawyers in California per the ABA at the end of 2017.)

The more high-end the market, the more real estate agents seem to be prevalent. This is logical since affluent markets bring higher sales prices, translating to higher commissions for agents.

So, how is one to decide on the best agent to help represent what is usually one of the larger transactions in one’s life?

I remember a story told by the amazing actor Al Pacino when someone asked him about experience and if he felt like he was a better actor now versus 20 years ago. To paraphrase his response, he spoke about a house painter. He said that if he set out to paint a house for the first time, he would be a completely different house painter after the experience of exercising the craft for 20+ years. The experiences, mistakes, lessons, time spent, and ability to foresee certain probable outcomes would certainly add up to being a better “painter.”

[To read more of Jack Turturici, Jr.’s thought leadership click here]

That “experience” as a painter, we feel, translates not only to Al Pacino’s acting but also to selling real estate. In addition to experience, we think there are four other key areas to examine when considering hiring a real estate agent to help you buy or sell a home.

Our suggested five areas to vet would be:

  1. Experience
  2. Knowledge
  3. Platform/Marketing
  4. Testimonials
  5. Personality

Experience

Just as the painter learns with each house painted, so the real estate agent learns with each house sold. With more than a quarter century in the business, we can say that there are not very many transactions that close where we don’t learn something we did not know previously. It may be an element of the transaction itself or a new law that is now in play. It can be how personalities of buyers and sellers fluctuate depending on where you are in the deal. It can be a nuance about the house itself. It’s really endless. However, this is also the most interesting part. No two deals are ever the same. I think it would be a mistake to not look for more ways to absorb and become a better broker/agent with each deal closed.

Knowledge

With experience, hopefully, comes knowledge. Being able to advise clients based on decades of experience is a good feeling for any professional. When you are able to bring this knowledge to the table with either a buyer or seller, it ultimately saves your client time, money or both, which is one of a broker’s duties as a fiduciary to the client. Your client’s interests go before yours and as long as you continue along this axiom, you are sure to have many satisfied clients.

Platform/Marketing

When you buy a property, you want to buy off-market with no competition. When you sell you want the exact opposite. Think of selling a vintage Ferrari. Can you find one of your wealthy neighbors to pay top-dollar by “spreading the word” and selling it “off-market”? Perhaps. Are the odds better of you attaining top dollar if you sell the Ferrari on the open market with maximum exposure to wealthy buyers from all over the world? Of course! When it comes to selling a home, exposure is king. eBay is living proof that there is a buyer for almost everything in this world and the exposure of whatever you’re selling is key on eBay. When you interview agents, make sure that they are going to give your house full marketing and exposure from day one. Anything less is probably serving them by helping them possibly find their own buyer, but not helping you expose your home to the maximum number of buyers.

With experience, hopefully, comes knowledge. Being able to advise clients based on decades of -experience is a  good feeling for any -professional. When you are able to bring this -knowledge to the table with either a buyer or seller, it -ultimately saves your client time, money or both, which is one of a broker’s duties as a -fiduciary to the client.

Testimonials

There is a reason people love TripAdvisor, Amazon, Yelp, and Consumer Reports. We all love to read reviews! This gives us the good and bad about products, restaurants, and services before we make a decision. You are about to undertake a VERY large transaction when you buy or sell a home. Reading testimonials from Zillow, client reviews, and calling several references regarding a real estate agent should be part of your due diligence before you hire said agent.

Personality

We all enjoy working with people we actually like. No shock here. When you interview several real estate agents you will see many different types of personalities and styles regarding how they conduct business. You will probably lean toward someone with a similar sensibility, business acumen, etc. as your own. Don’t discount a sense of humor. Life is serious enough and we’ve had some great laughs with clients in the middle of transactions! Sometimes even a veteran Hollywood script writer would not be able to script some of what you see or hear in real estate transaction! A great many of our clients tend to be attorneys, C-Suite execs, and business owners, so we have a similar way of seeing transactions, negotiating, and handling people. Everybody is different. Find the person who will at least be on the same page with you during a transaction.

In conclusion, there are many great real estate professionals out there. By taking your time and using some of these guidelines, we hope you find the right one for you.

We welcome the opportunity to sit down with you and discuss any questions you may have relating to the sale or purchase of a home. At Equity Advisors, we pride ourselves on handling every transaction with an uncompromising commitment to excellence and attention to detail.

[For more on Equity Advisors’ approach to Residential Real Estate click here]

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