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How to Choose a Realtor in San Diego
Homeowners desiring to sell their homes are faced with the big question of how to choose a Realtor. There are so many Realtors to choose from that it can be somewhat overwhelming. The following is a simple guide to assist homeowners who are seeking to retain the services of a Realtor to assist them in the sale of their home.
1. Stay away from family and friends: A homeowners natural tendency is to select a family member or friend that is a Realtor to help them list their home for sale. A wise person once said, “Family is family but business is business”. Selling a home is business and is best kept separate from familial and friendship relationships. The sale of a home is very involved and the stresses associated with such can tax relationships. When money is involved even the closest family and friends can cause friction when adversity arises. A case in point is a real scenario that occurred in 2003. A homeowner decided to ask her Realtor sister-in-law whether she should sell her house or refinance. The homeowner was paying 6% principal and interest on her loan and could no longer afford the payments on her $900,000 home in Laguna Niguel. The sister-in-law told her that if she could not afford the payments that she should sell her house while she could; that if she did not sell, she could face losing the house. The homeowner, relying on her sister-in-laws expertise and knowledge, asked her Realtor sister-in-law if there were any loan programs that she could refinance into that might allow her to stay in the house. The Realtor sister-in-law said no, that it was obvious she could not afford her house and that she should sell. The homeowner relied on her sister-in-laws advice and sold the house using the sister-in-law as her Realtor. Shortly after the property sold and her sister-in-law received her commission the homeowner discovered that she could have refinanced into an interest-only loan and that she could have easily afforded the payments. In 2007, the person that purchased the homeowners home sold it for nearly $2,000,000. When the homeowner discovered how much her property had appreciated since she sold it and realized that she could have kept it by refinancing into an interest-only loan she was devastated. Whether the sister-in-law knew about interest-only loans (which she should have) or not or was merely trying to secure a large commission deal will never be known. The tension between the two has affected the homeowner’s relationship not only with her sister-in-law but also her brother. The fact remains that there will forever be bitterness and the familial relationship will be strained forever. The point of this story is that, no mater a homeowners situation, it is best to separate business from family and friends.
2. Education: The only Realtors that say that education is not important when selecting a Realtor to sell your property are the ones that do not have it. When looking at how to choose a Realtor you should consider eliminating Realtors that do not, at least, possess a bachelors degree. If you have to reduce the pool of potential Realtors you have to criteria that will help you and what better way to do it than using education level as the first cut. Selling a home is not just about marketing and finding the highest and best price. Every Realtor is committed to that proposition. Real estate transactions are filled with legal paperwork and complexities. Who would you rather have on your side guiding you through the numerous legal documents that you have to sign during a real estate transaction, a Realtor with a high school education or a Realtor that has a law degree or an MBA? Is there really even a choice?
3. Look for a Realtor that is also an attorney: Real estate transactions frequently have issues that arise that are beyond the scope of ability of an average Realtor. No matter how high-profile the Realtor is or how many commercials the Realtor has on T.V. or radio the Realtor is still limited. Homeowners that desire a stronger Realtor, one that has more power, training and overall abilities should seek to find a Realtor that is also an attorney. Although there are not many, homeowners should be able to find one that is willing to work in their area. Realtor/Attorneys can legally advise you as to the contents of the legal paperwork that you are signing, draft ancillary contracts and addenda, deal with potential pitfalls and breaches of contract, and, overall, carry a lot bigger stick to negotiations. Homeowners should exhaust the possibility of locating a Realtor/Attorney prior to looking for another Realtor.
4. Interview at least 3 Realtors: Homeowners trying to decide how to choose a Realtor should consider interviewing at least 3 Realtors before making a choice. Even if the homeowner is considering using a family member or friend to sell their home it would be wise to, at least, interview 2 additional Realtors before actually signing a listing agreement. If nothing else, the homeowner might be able to get ideas from the 2 Realtors to use in their own marketing of their home. When a homeowner meets with a Realtor they are interviewing for a job. Homeowners should not be afraid to ask for references or to view the Realtor’s resume.
5. Perform Due Diligence: Before deciding on a Realtor homeowners should thorough research the Realtor on the Internet looking on websites such as the Better Business Bureau, Linked-In, YELP, the California Department of Real Estate Website, etc. Performing a thorough investigation will provide some peace of mind knowing that there are not any pending disciplinary actions or negative reviews of the Realtor.
6. Personality: Homeowners should try and choose a Realtor that is a straight-shooter and not a “snake-oil” salesman that is only telling the homeowner only what they want to hear. Many Realtors are very good salesmen, good that is, at selling themselves. Most are full of hot-air and have overly inflated egos. They will promise the homeowner the sky and assert that they are the best. The truth is, that most of these types would be selling cars if they were not selling homes. Homeowners should remember that selling a house is the largest transaction that they will probably be involved in and should strongly consider whether or not they want to work with a Realtor that comes across like a cartoon character.
7. Beware of promises and guarantees. Realtors are always attempting to find ways to obtain clients. Some come up with gimmicks and guarantees that seem too good to be true. Homeowners desiring to eliminate Realtors should consider eliminating Realtors using “circus tactics” to lure them in. When selling a house a homeowner does not need a sideshow they need competent and professional representation.
8. Big real estate companies versus boutique brokerages: Homeowners should not immediately eliminate a Realtor merely because he is not with Prudential or ReMax or any other major real estate company. Likewise, homeowners should not choose a Realtor merely because they work for a major real estate company. The truth is that pretty much any Realtor can work at these companies provided that they are willing to pay the desk and franchise fees. Working at a big company does not make a Realtor a better Realtor. Big real estate companies have well-known names and many Realtors work for them for that reason as it helps with their marketing. Many well-qualified and experienced Realtors have chosen not to pay the excessive fees associated with working for these entities and have established their own boutique real estate companies. These Realtors are just as qualified and experienced as Realtors working at big real estate companies. Homeowners should interview Realtors from both big real estate companies and boutique companies to get a really good idea of what each Realtor brings to the table.
9. Don’t be afraid to negotiate commissions: The industry standard is 6%, however, depending on the homeowner’s situation, the homeowner might be able to negotiate as low as 5%. However, Sellers should not select a Realtor purely on the basis of the commission. If a homeowner has a more difficult home to sell or has some unusual issues related to the sale of the house the better choice might be a Realtor charging a higher commission. This is especially true for homeowners having high-end luxury homes. Some Realtors might charge 6% but will more than make up for the extra 1% by finding a buyer that will net the Seller a higher return. The best thing for a homeowner to do is to ask a Realtor to justify why paying a 6% commission is in their best interest versus paying 5%. Sometimes the justification and the 6% is the better deal for the homeowner.
If you are looking to sell your house please contact Michael Gaddis, J.D. of Michael Gaddis, J.D. Realty Group. Michael Gaddis is a real estate broker, NMLS licensed mortgage broker and licensed California attorney. Michael Gaddis, J.D. assists homeowners in San Diego, Orange and Riverside Counties with the sale of their homes. Michael Gaddis, J.D. charges no additional fee other than the traditional fees paid to a real estate broker but brings with him the knowledge and experience of a licensed California attorney. Call 888-242-2272 for a free consultation of your situation. To obtain more information regarding Michael Gaddis visit www.sdshortsaleattorney.com, www.michaelgaddis.com or www.californialoanmodificationattorney.com To view sample of short sale approval letters obtained by Michael Gaddis for homeowners that have successfully short sold their home please click the following link: http://sdshortsaleattorney.com/approved-short-sale/