Whatever your experience has been with a real estate agent, if you’re a real estate mogul or a first time buyer, you probably have opinions. Many people have false perceptions about real estate agents, and we’re here to debunk those myths.
Myth #1: I don’t need a real estate agent because of [insert only real estate tool here]. Zillow, Realtor.com and Trulia are web-based real estate databases that have provided some great high level tools for buyers and sellers. But at the end of the day, these services cannot replace the intimate market knowledge and expertise that a real estate agent can provide. In fact, I wrote an article about why real estate agents are still necessary in 2014. In short, we can help our clients win in multiple offer situations.
Myth #2: Real estate agents have tons of time off, because most transactions happen in the summer. It’s commonly thought that real estate deals only happen in the summer when school’s out. And because nobody wants to move while school is in session, the majority of transactions happen in the summertime. In Park City, we essentially have two markets. The ski resort market, which peaks in February and March, and the full time resident market, which peaks in the summer. It is interesting to note that our “shoulder” seasons of spring and fall are blending in with the rest of the market. As anyone who has tried to find a parking space at Smith’s this month can attest, there are still a lot of tourists in Park City right now.
Myth #3: It doesn’t matter which agent I go with. All real estate agents are the same. On the contrary. Like many professions, not all real estate agents are the same. Coming from all walks of life, an agent’s past experience can lend a lot to how they execute. Some put more proverbial blood, sweat and tears into their service, and it shows. An agent can go above and beyond the bare minimum level by:
- facilitating better real estate photography
- ensuring professional staging
- producing local buying guides
- helping buyers and sellers strategize
- being a great member of the community
- always looking after her client’s best interests
Myth #4: Real estate agents are paid salary, on top of commission. Not true. The time, money and energy that an agent puts into a marketing a listing or showing properties to buyers is 100% on him or her. This includes marketing expenses (brochures, websites, promotions, etc.), brokerage fees, travel, gas and mileage expenses among many others. Real estate agents have to front the bill on these costs and put their own time and energy into a transaction, even with the risk that it might fall through.
Myth #5: Real estate agents are greedy. Many people see that agents drive nice cars and are often dressed nice, but those things often go with the territory. If I’m going to be driving clients around, I want that experience to be good for them. And while there are certainly exceptions to this rule, most real estate agents I know are the kindest, most giving people. They are heavily involved in local nonprofits, they work tirelessly to help their clients strategize to achieve their real estate goals. Good agents don’t push people into something just to get the commission.
If you’ve had a sub-par experience with a real estate agent, I don’t generalize that experience to the entire profession. Like teaching, medicine or law, the personalities and skill sets vary between each individual. Real estate is not becoming commoditized. In fact, the successful agents I know are going to the complete other end of the spectrum. They’re going above and beyond to serve their clients and leveraging available technology to provide a better experience for both buyers and sellers. The best agents truly enjoy helping their clients. This could mean helping a family relocate to another state on time or finding the perfect second home that will provide optimal rental income and facilitate the creation of wonderful vacation memories.
One of the things I do love about the connectedness of web-based real estate tools is the reviews. Reviews are a great starting point for finding an agent you trust (one that debunks the above myths). I implore you to check my reviews on Yelp. You’ll find my clients are very happy. A real estate transaction is too important to leave to a random person you find online, or even worse, a web application. Take the time to find an agent who you like and who you find through the recommendation of a friend or another trusted agent. One of the benefits of being part of the Sotheby’s International Realty and Luxury Real Estate networks means I know agents all over the world who I can recommend to my clients.