I love it when I hear praise for a real estate agent and a job well done, but after 25 years in the business, I’ve heard numerous horror stories too. Of course, agents have their collection of tales about unrealistic and uncooperative clients as well. The National Association of Realtors®, says the biggest problem between agents and clients is communication. What’s the answer?

I’ve designed this column to help buyers, sellers, and agents develop more realistic expectations of each other. Agents need to appreciate a first-time buyer’s anxiety, or the complete denial of market transition by an older couple who has owned a home for 40 years. Agents may be relatively new and fear admitting they don’t have all the answers or, like me, be a seasoned agent who may make assumptions as to how much a client knows about the process. When buyers and sellers have a better mutual understanding, the outcome of a transaction should be much more satisfactory.

I’ve heard that agents do nothing except show a few houses or put a sign in a yard. It takes years of experience to learn the strategies of negotiating top dollar for a seller’s house, just as it takes years for an attorney to become a top notch trial lawyer. Buyer’s agents work to ensure their client gets the most home for their money and peace of mind that there are no undisclosed material defects, just as a CPA works to maximize tax benefits without exposing clients to unnecessary IRS scrutiny. Buyers and sellers, you are hiring a professional, just like an attorney, CPA, or doctor. When you sign a Listing Agreement or a Buyer Agency Contract, your Realtor® is pledging fiduciary duty: they are promising to advise, assist and represent your best interest.

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In this column, I will reveal real estate strategies used to create win-win scenarios for all concerned. My hope is that buyers and sellers will gain insight into how to hire the best agent for their needs, and at the same time gain an appreciation for the knowledge and expertise used by agents to facilitate successful transactions.

The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Executive Life Magazine or the ACA Business Club. Answers are general in nature and do not apply to particular cases.

Phyllis Cronbaugh is a licensed Realtor® with Keller Williams Diamond Partners and has worked in real estate since 1988. She holds licenses for both Kansas and Missouri and serves both as a Buyer’s Agent and Listing Agent. You may contact her personally at pcronbaugh@kw.com, or www.CronbaughRE.com.