I must admit I’ve been pretty lucky, overall I buy conservatively and have done well as a real estate investor, it’s because I know the market. I do have some stocks, bonds, mutual funds (because diversity is supposed to be a good idea) but have no clue as to how to buy and sell them, I rely on someone I trust whose job it is to pay attention to that market every day, I want him to advise me. What a concept… a trusted advisor…. Real Estate should be no different.
One of my experienced agents pulled me aside today after returning from a listing appointment where she was hired to sell a lovely house. She presented her research citing comparable properties that sold, current competition for sale and those that were rejected due to overpricing. The agent carefully reviewed the price point that is most likely to catch the attention of a buyer and was clearly the most professional in her analysis of the three agency’s interviewed. The good news; she now has the opportunity to sell this beautiful home. The bad news; chances are one in a million a buyer will pay the price the seller wants.
Now wouldn’t you think if one were hired as the “expert”, or “market leader” or “real estate professional” that someone seeking advice would actually follow it? For some strange reason that is not always the case in real estate. We have to spend months convincing the owners we know what it will take and to trust our advice. In todays scenario my agent found out the “trusted expert” was the next door neighbor who told the home seller that his property should sell 20% higher than the top of our selling range! Do you know how many “experts” there are that have never sold a single thing… its amazing, we run into them all the time and they are not even licenced. If someone I trusted told me I was going to hit the jackpot if I played the lottery long enough, I’d I might want to believe it, but really…. what are the odds?
So what’s a Realtor to do?
1. Take the listing anyway, entertain the sellers fantasy knowing if you don’t, someone else will?
2. Walk away and say “I am sorry I cannot perform miracles”?
3. Find a buyer who is fine overpaying by 20%, and has a bucket full of cash they are willing to donate to the seller’s fantasy fund?
The role of the Realtor is to be the “trusted advisor”, a job I have always taken very seriously. Just as in the stock market Real Estate has no crystal ball, but I know there is wisdom in knowing the local market and trends to educate the consumer. I believe our job is to be the source of information that helps our clients make the right choice given their circumstances at the time. So to my agent who has just been charged with selling something 20% above market value I say; Provide your client with all feedback from the agents and their clients especially regarding pricing. Keep him informed of those comparable properties that are selling and all new inventory that comes on the market as his competition. Be sure you initiate an open and honest communication on a regular basis to provide him with relevent informationt that affects the salability of his property. The goal is to prove your value and that you become his “trusted advisor”, for only then will your advice be taken seriously.