We live in the information world. Buyers, sellers and everyone in between has access to more information than you think. With the real estate debacle of 2008 having taught everyone a lesson in improving real estate transactions, it is in your best interest to open the hood and show clients what is involved. Here is why honesty and transparency in real estate in Washington State are critical.
Why Honesty and Transparency in Real Estate in Washington State are Critical
The Law Requires It
While many of the laws created after the 2008 real estate market crash had to do with mortgage lending, realtors still need to be very aware of them and follow their own disclosure guidelines.
As a real estate professional, you might find yourself building power relationships with mortgage lenders. As such, your reputation is on the line every time you send them a customer. Why? Because if they aren’t totally honest and transparent, it becomes a direct reflection on you.
Vet out those you choose to work with and actively seek feedback from your clients about the service and feelings they have about the transaction. This is critical to avoid any potential problems that can affect your relationship with your client.
It Gives You Greater Value
Most customers today feel they can do most of the work of buying a home on their own. They don’t understand the value of a real estate agent’s commission. After all, they can research homes online, go to open houses and even make an offer on a home, all without a contract with a real estate agent.
What they don’t understand is the matrix of moving parts in negotiation and closing a home in escrow. This is your expertise and this is why they need you. It’s what you get paid for: making sure their dream home doesn’t slip away because a deadline was missed.
Take the bull by the horns and offer clients a customized email that is sent to them with all new listings meeting their search parameters. Give them what they can already find online, but what this does it keep you top of mind as the expert. Ask about what they like and don’t like to further hone into the perfect home for them.
Explain the process of buying a home, the access you have to pocket listings and the various costs associated with getting into a home. Acknowledging that buyers can do a lot of the work themselves doesn’t discount your value. Your value lies in the emotional handling of the process and maneuvering of the sale and escrow files.
Consumers Are Savvy to Lies
Because there is so much information available, consumers are very savvy to the realities of what someone says. If something doesn’t seem quite right, it can easily be fact-checked online.
For example, if you are a new agent, don’t lie. Realtor license records are public information. Even sites like Zillow list the number of transactions recorded by an agent in the previous year. It doesn’t seem right that an agent won’t update their Zillow numbers if they are inaccurate because doing so gives them higher credibility.
The same is true for just about any other aspect of the transaction. If you refer customers to a specific insurance agent, let them know what your relationship is. If it’s your cousin, tell them. Facebook and all other social media quickly show the truth if someone feels like they were referred as a favor, not for the quality of service. People rarely will refuse the referral and appreciate the heads up of knowing your relationship.
Because real estate purchases are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and buyers have huge emotional roller coasters in the process of buying, being the calm, honest and trustworthy agent will serve you greatly taking your career to the next level.