Sarasota Real Estate Investors – How to Deal With a Sarasota Real Estate Agent

While most qualified homebuyers with a ready down payment and good credit history are more than welcome by any Sarasota real estate agent, a real estate investor is seen as a pain. In fact, most Sarasota real estate agents consider real estate investors a complete headache when it comes to purchasing any property.

There are two main reasons for this…

First of all, like any businessperson, a real estate agent likes making a quick and hassle-free profit. Secondly, many real estate agents do not have the experience, expertise, or willingness to handle the creative deals that real estate investors need.

Nevertheless, real estate investors have no choice but to use an agent because that is the only place where they can access the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Therefore, it is in the best interest of the investor to get on the “good” side of a real estate agent. Here are a few tips…

1. Offer a fast closing. Real estate agents love “quick” deals. A realtor would much rather have the chance of making a commission in 2 weeks as compared to 2 months. Also, real estate agents are much more likely to take you seriously if you offer a fast closing.

2. Offer a down payment. Most real estate investors are used to paying little or no upfront payment, however, if you want a realtor take you seriously than offer a serious down payment.

More often than not, a real estate agent will recommend the home seller accept a lower offer if the overall package is better…meaning the offer has a higher down payment and a faster, hassle-free closing.

3. Offer the offer yourself. Sometimes real estate investors can come up with very “creative” offers. Try persuading the real estate agent to allow you to present the offer directly to the seller (with the agent present of course). You want the seller to hear the offer directly from you, as no one else can match your precision and passion in presenting the offer. It will also allow the seller to address any questions directly to you, instead of going through the real estate agent as a middleman.

As a real estate investor you may come across many uncooperative real estate agents. A number of Sarasota real estate agents would prefer not to work with real estate investors because it requires more work than simply writing up a contract and handing over the keys. Don’t get discouraged though…there are also many Sarasota real estate agents who enjoy working with real estate investors…especially those that follow the tips above.

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8 Questions To Ask Any Real Estate Agent Before Signing Anything

Everywhere you look, there are advertisements for Real Estate, and for Real Estate Agents. We’re everywhere! The reason is pretty simple: It’s not extremely difficult to get your real estate license, a college degree is not required, and the income potential is pretty high. Unfortunately, this means that there are a lot of BAD Real Estate Agents out there. The BEST way to find a good professional – in any industry – is to ask for a referral from a trusted friend or colleague. This does not, however, mean that any person referred to you is a quality professional – everyone has a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or cousin who is in the business, after all – but it will increase your odds.

There are a few questions that you should ask ANY Real Agent before signing a buyer’s agency or listing agreement.

1) How long have you been in the business?

Pretty much any average person could decide they want to get their license today, and have that license in their mailbox a month later. Because of this, your Real Estate Agent’s experience is VERY important. A new Agent will learn a LOT their first year, and will continue to learn more with every transaction. Don’t automatically choose against a newer Agent – they typically bring a lot of energy to the transaction, and they will have LOTS of time for you. However, if you do decide to use a newer Agent, make sure they have a great support system behind them.

2) Are you a Realtor?

Not all Real Estate Agents are Realtors. Members of the National Association of Realtors have to adhere to a strict code of ethics, or otherwise face having their membership revoked. Also, you must be a member of the National Association of Realtors to have access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) which is what gives Realtors access to almost every home for sale in their market area.

3) What certifications do you hold?

There is an “alphabet soup” of advanced certifications that Real Estate Agents can earn. While it doesn’t automatically mean that they are a good Agent, it does mean they are serious about their job. Keep an eye out for GRI – this is the most time consuming certification to obtain.

4) What is your specialty?

Real Estate Agents typically categorize themselves as either “commercial” or “residential” which are vastly different. Even among Residential Real Estate Agents, though, agents will specialize in Buyers, Sellers, or Renters. Some Residential Agents successfully handle Buyers & Sellers, but make sure they come with plenty of satisfied customers. Agents typically cut their teeth working with renters.

5) Can I have a list of past customers?

Take the time to call a few of an Agent’s past customers. Ask for their strengths and weaknesses (and make sure they don’t share the Agent’s last name.)

6) Who is your Broker? Can I call him/her?

Real Estate Agencies are moving towards the “mega-brokerage” mentality which means that many Agents today have never met their Broker. If an agent doesn’t have their Broker’s cell phone number, find out who they will call if they run into questions.

7) How many sales did you complete last year?

A good agent will complete at least 25 sales per calendar year. You want to make sure that the agent helping you through the largest purchase or sale of your life is a GOOD agent.

8) Is this your full-time job?

It always surprises me how many people are willing to let their office mate down the hall handle the purchase or sale of their home. You need someone who handles real estate transactions full-time, day in and day out, to make sure that your best interests are taken care of.

There are plenty of fantastic Real Estate Agents working today. Unfortunately, the incompetent Agents really stand out. (Did you hear about the Agent who contracted the wrong house?) Make sure that you find your Agent through a trusted source, and ask any Agent these important questions.

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Real Estate Agents – What Sellers and Buyers Should Know About Them

For most buyers and sellers the prospect of dealing with a real estate agent brings forth unknown fears. While some agents are genuine and reputable and consider their clients best interest as their top priority, there is no dearth of unscrupulous individuals either who are just trying to make a quick buck at someone else’s expense. As a buyer or sellers of a property, it is your responsibility to choose a estate agent prudently. So, here is a look at what you should know about real estate agents before you approach one.

What does a real estate agent do?

Depending on which side he is working for (the buyers or the sellers), the realtor acts as an intermediary between the buyer and the seller and helps to complete the sale of a property. For his services, he is offered a commission from his client (seller, buyer or both). When working on behalf of the seller, the agent is responsible for putting the details of a property in the multiple listing services of the area and undertaking other efforts such as home staging to market the property.

In case of a residential property, a real estate agent may start off by putting up the details of the property on his personal or company website depending on whether he is a part of a realtor firm or works on his own. The next step would be to market the property through postcards and advertisements in real estate magazines offline as well as online.

Besides marketing the property, the agent who lists your home is also responsible for following up with other agents who might have clients that may have expressed interest in the property. An agent is also supposed to help you negotiate the best deal possible. He/She is with you every step of the way till the home is sold; advising you on all matters including procuring the services of a lawyer.

The agent does not charge the client/home seller for his marketing efforts; however, you will have to incur any legal cost involved in the selling process

When working from the seller’s side, a realtor is responsible for rummaging through the property listings of an area that his client is interested in. He coordinates with the real estate agent handling the property on behalf of the seller and arranges to show the premises to his clients. A real estate agent from the buyer’s side also helps to negotiate the best deal for his client and is with the buyer through out the purchasing process. He is also responsible for approaching a professional to get a property evaluation done. Some real estate agents may also offer other services such as advice and help for procuring home loans.

Real estate agents not only earn commission from the sale and purchase of homes but also when a property is leased. Usually the commission is paid to the real estate agent at the final settlement of the deal.

Who should you choose to be your estate agent?

Real estate agent can don three mantles that of an intermediary on behalf of the seller, the buyer or a dual agent. When buying a house, it would be best to hire the services of an agent who can work on your side, the same holds true when selling a home as well; you would be better of approaching a real estate agent who works for sellers.

Although real estate agents who work from the sellers or the buyer’s side do not have different credentials, some agents choose to play on a single turf while double agents may work for both the seller and the buyer simultaneously earning commissions from both.

The Sellers Real Estate Agent: An agent working on behalf of the seller will have his loyalties towards his client an he/she will try his hardest to convince the seller to give his client the lowest deal. So, as a buyer if you were to ask the seller’s agent if his client would accept a higher deal, he will be obligated to not divulge this information to you.

The Buyers Real Estate Agent: Similarly agents who work on behalf of the seller owe their responsibility to their clients and will try to get their clients the highest deal possible. So, they will not be willing to offer information on how low their client will go in terms of the price.

A dual agent: A dual agent is obligated to keep the honest picture in front of both parties; since he is entitled to a commission from both parties, he owes his loyalties to both the buyer and the seller.

Most real estate agents have a list of buyers as well as sellers so it is not unusual for an agent to work on behalf of both parties or at least get another agent from his real estate firm to negotiate on behalf of the seller or the buyer.

The problem with real estate agents

While real estate agents are in the business of marketing properties, it is not uncommon for them to play up their credentials; after all, it is a dog eat dog world and there is certainly no dearth of realtors in the market. While this is acceptable, some individuals resort to lying blatantly about their accomplishments and often their customers end up paying for their tall claims.

So, make sure that you check all the claims that are being made by a potential estate agent. Do not hesitate to ask for references. If he has not mentioned his experience in the brochure, make it a point to ask him about it. Also, inquire about other properties that he may have sold which were similar to the one that you want to sell/buy; this would include properties in the sane area, of the same size and price range.

Finding a good and reliable agent can save you a lot of trouble while hanging out with the wrong guy can quickly turn into a nightmare so take your time when picking an agent to buy/sell your home.

Born and brought up in Oklahoma City, Kelly is a passionate writer and a voracious reader. She has been fortunate enough to live in many countries and cultures because her husband Lawrence works with the US embassy and has to travel a lot. Kelly and Lawrence currently live in India. Kelly volunteers for a local non-profit organization to help underprivileged children, and works as a freelance writer the rest of the time.

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Indian Real Estate, Property Portals and the 21st Century Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents? Hasn’t the internet gotten rid of them yet?

I hear this question all the time. Most people assume that property portals in India are working towards eliminating agents and facilitating direct interaction between seller and buyer. Though this is partially correct, real estate agents are the biggest customers of these portals and the portals are doing their bit to facilitate their growth. We interact with agents every day and we see most of them are doing good business. I want to take some time and explain the dynamics behind Indian real estate, the role agents’ play and how the role of agents’ is going to change in the future.

Note – Throughout this article, I’ve focused only on the rental and resale market and not gone into sale of new property by builders as the dynamics of that market are radically different. Also, the scope of this article is limited to Indian Real Estate.

“MakeMyTrip has eliminated travel agents. So why hasn’t the same happened to real estate agents?”

One needs to understand that ticketing is now a point-and-click industry – travel agents have been replaced by computers. The process of getting information about the journey AND purchasing the tickets can be done on the internet. Real estate is fundamentally an offline process. Though information aggregation is an important part of it, site visits, negotiations and paperwork all need to be done offline. Even from an owner/sellers perspective, renting out/selling a home isn’t as simple as listing it online – the process can stretch for months. This is where real estate agents step in – in guiding customers through the offline part of the transaction, bringing both parties to agree to the terms and finishing off the paper work.

Why aren’t property portals trying to eliminate agents and become virtual middlemen?

A property portal provides a platform for a seller and a buyer to interact (A seller can be an owner, builder or an agent). If we eliminate agents from this equation, portals are left with a C2C platform with property owners being the only source of inventory. Though many prefer a scenario like this, we need to figure out how the platform provider is going to monetize from this setup. They have the following options –

Listing fees – They can collect a fee from the owner/seller to list their property. There are few owners who’re willing to pay for premium listings (last time I checked, about 5% of owners listing online were willing to pay) but this is simply not enough to sustain the business. Indian consumers are ready to use a service which is free (free listings) OR pay for a service once it’s rendered (brokerage) but are not OK with anything in between.

Charge property seekers to get owner information – Another option would be to charge property seekers a fee to give them information about the owner who’s listed. This also isn’t a sustainable option because owners who list online tend to list on multiple portals and you can always finds a portal which gives you the owners information for free.

Brokerage fee when the deal is closed – This would be a great monetization scheme that everyone would be willing to pay for, but is very hard to implement. To do this, portals need to keep track of every deal that closes offline and that would be next to impossible.

There might be more options, but I don’t really see them becoming huge ‘revenue making machines’. Running a real estate portal is a VERY expensive affair and portals would need a solid revenue stream to offset that cost.

This is where Real Estate Agents step in: Agents are willing to spend good money to market their properties on a platform which would give them good leads. Property portals see this as a steady, sustainable revenue stream. This, seemingly, is a match made in heaven.

So, you’re saying property portals have made no dent in the brokerage industry?

Undoubtedly, they have. In a BIG way! With many owners listing their properties online, agents are starting to feel the heat. Coupled with the fact that the number of real estate agents has almost tripled in the last few years, you’ll see that the average real estate agent earned a LOT less in 2014 that he did in 2011. Agents are beginning to realize that there’s a paradigm shift and it’s time to mend their ways, before the game gets taken out of their hands. There needs to be a shift in their mentality and it needs to happen NOW.

Role of the 21st century real estate agent

10 years back, agents pretty much charged money for information arbitrage – “I have the contact information of the owner/tenant and you need to pay me money to get this contact” was the mantra and it has worked. A disproportionate amount of money was charged for this seemingly simple service and the world went on without a qualm primarily because there was no alternative. But now there is. Increased owner listings on portals, multifold increase in number of real estate agents, internal portals in corporate companies which help employees find accommodation, Facebook groups, etc. have all impacted the brokerage industry and there needs to be an overhaul.

“What’s dangerous is to not evolve, not invent and not continuously improve customer experience” – Every Realtor in the country needs to latch these words said by Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon. Information arbitrage can no longer be the game real estate agents play – We’re moving towards a world where access to information is getting easier and this cannot remain the USP of why a property seeker goes to a real estate agent. I believe agents need to adopt the following practices –

Save time for your customers – In today’s world, nobody has time to do things (even if they do have time, people don’t want to spend their time house hunting). Saving time for your customers is probably the best value-add an agent can provide. Be up-to-date on the latest inventory that is available in the locality. If you’re not confident if the customer will like your property, just tell them so! Don’t drag them to a dingy apartment they’ll never never be interested in – they’ll lose trust in your sense of judgment and never come back to you again. Learn to truly understand what your customer wants, be equipped to find the most relevant inventory, accompany them during site visits and close the deal. A really good agent should be able to close a rental requirement in 7 days and a resale requirement in 1 month, tops.

Give as much information as possible – Instead of hoarding information, agents need to freely part with it. Tell your customers exactly which apartment society the property is in, tell them exactly how far from the bus-stop it is and tell them if the owner/tenant is not comfortable with someone from their demographic. In the longer run, this helps build a better rapport with customers. Sure, other agents (or your customers themselves) might get to the owner/seller without you, but in the longer run, this is what will work.

Adopt technology, don’t fight it – Apart from Whatsapp, agents don’t use their smart phones for any business related activities. Why is this so? For starters, there’re many CRM applications on the app store which they can use. This alone will improve their productivity 100 times over! Other applications for maintaining inventory, marketing, etc. are available but are not being consumed by agents.

Develop skills a computer/technology can’t do – A computer can never negotiate a good deal for the client – that’s a job that requires a human touch. A computer can never get a feel of what the customer truly wants – Agents can do that given you’re always with the customer. This is a relationship driven industry, make sure you always remember that.

Use social media as a marketing platform – When owners are using Facebook as a platform for marketing, why shouldn’t agents? Creating a Facebook group to marketing their listings is a great way to reach new customers. There are some agents who do this already and are getting good response from the same.

Be professional – Cliche as it may sound, going back to the basics is something every agent needs to do. Being punctual, dressing in formals and talking politely to customers are some key skills that agents need to practice. Again, there are agents who’re well mannered, but the number seems to be shrinking.

The list can keep extending, but I can summarize it this way – If you’re a real estate agent, think of what you were doing for your business 5 years back and compare that to what you’re doing today. If nothing much has changed, understand that you’ll become redundant within the next few years. The world is changing and only those who change with it will live to fight another day. Portals have evolved, house hunting has changed for end customers and it’s about time the role of the real estate agent changes as well.

How are we positioned in this complicated market?

Our vision has always been to build A Technology Powered Real Estate agency that works towards helping our customers find a home they truly love. We do that by mixing cutting edge technology and expertise brokerage. We’re adding great real estate agents to our team, giving them next-gen mobile applications/desktop products to better run their business, helping them understand the market as it is today, providing training sessions and learning material and eventually, helping them serve customers better. Given the amazing response we’ve received from customers and agents so far, we’re confident of the road ahead.

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