It is sometimes hard to trust a real estate agent (or anyone for that matter) with a purchase this big. We have been through the process ourselves, and help hundreds of people, including our own families, find their new homes. It can be a stressful life transition! Throw in some of the crazy things we ask you for or to do and how could you not be a little stressed. To help ease that feeling for our clients, and all those going through this stage of life, here is a little explanation of why we do what we do!
First of all…It is important to understand that we are not sales people. While we respect these hard working folks, and the effort they put into every dime they make, we want to make clear the distinction here. We would like you to think of us as your consultants. We want to talk you through making one of the biggest decisions in life. While we, of course, want to be the person that helps you with this transition, we want you to understand that it is not just another sale for us. Here is the biggest difference between a sales person and a consultant: sales people want you to buy one specific line or product; as a consultant, we want to get to know you well enough to help you buy whatever home it is that is right for you, not just any home. We work to create life-long relationships with our clients. We’re sure you’ve heard this one… “The best compliment we can receive is your referral.” While this may seem cheesy, it is so true. There is no better feeling than knowing that we did right by you; so much so that you chose to put your own name and reputation on the line by referring us to someone you know. As your consultant, we are here for you every step of the way, answering all of your questions, and actively seeking to find the right home for you.Hopefully this helps explain the big why behind our “21 Questions,” but if not, here are some of the common ones we hear… and hopefully a good explanation of why we just have to ask!
“Why do you need my pre-approval letter, or proof of funds? Don’t you trust me?”
We understand- it is hard to hand over details about your financials to someone you may not know very well, or at all. Hopefully we have built up enough report for you to trust handing it over to us, as your agent, but why must we share this information with other people? The answer is pretty simple here; you just have to look at this from a different perspective. While we may know and trust our clients dearly, the other agent on a transaction has one person to look out for- their client. They do not care if you “cannot tell a lie, much like ol’ George; they need the documentation to prove it. This is especially true in a fast moving market, like the one we are currently experiencing in our area. When the other agent receives our offer, they have to know that we mean serious business and have the documentation to back it up. Let’s go through a scenario here. Say the Roberts family has $3,000,000 in the bank (go Roberts’!). They come across a beautiful little lake front property and ask their agent to put in an offer for them. However, this agent doesn’t think it will matter, and would rather avoid the trouble, of gathering the proof of funds from Mr. Roberts. They submit the offer without this documentation to the listing agent. You see, Mr. Roberts is from a time when your word and a hand shake were good as gold. Around the same time, the Browns also fall in love with the home. They submit an offer with the Valerie Tolbirt Team. Though the Browns and the team have been friends for many years now, they understand when the team explains to them why they need to prove they have the funds for this offer. With their best interest at heart, the team protects any information that may be too personal for anyone else to find out, and submits their offer with the proof of funds. It turns out that the listing agent now has two offers for the exact same amount; cash! The only difference? One has proven it with a proof of funds, and the other has not… Which one would you choose as a seller? Which one would we, if we were representing you, the seller, advise you to choose? The Browns now have themselves a beautiful new lake house!
“Why does my lender need so much information??”
We’ve been around long enough to develop relationships with some of the best of the best. When we refer you to someone for a service that we do not provide (say lending), rest assured that you can trust that person just as much as you trust us. We understand this is sometimes hard, but here are a couple of the reasons they need so much information from you!
- Bank Statements: They need these to be assured that what you make monthly and what you spend add up to leave enough room for a mortgage payment for the home you want. They will want to know what bills you pay every month and see a statement showing these bills taken out. What if there is a discrepancy? Sometimes, when there is a deduction that is not explained in your bank statement, your lender will need you to sign an explanation letter. This is just to ensure this undetermined debit is not another bill that you forget to let them know about, or something that would lessen your ability to pay for your home. Remember, bottom line here is that we, and your lender, want to make sure you can afford the home you want comfortably based on your income.
- Credit Reports: Yes, they must pull your credit report. This shows your likelihood, based on your actual score and your past habits, to pay your bills! Think of it as another way for them to trust that you can afford this home.
- Blood sample, finger prints, every living relative: Got ya! We know… sometimes it can feel like they are asking for crazy things, and it can definitely be a bit overwhelming. Rest assured, this is the same for all lenders. They need all of the information they ask for to make sure they are giving you a loan you can afford. Though they ask for the same documentation, this does not mean that all lenders are the same. To be sure that you are being taken care of, give the people we recommend to you a try!
“Why can’t I just search the internet for homes?”
Oooohh… this is a doozy. We know there are so many resources out there to help you search for homes, and we think that’s great- most of the time. Most real estate agents, including us, can have love/hate relationships with these third party sites. Very often the information they are reporting is not fully up to date or accurate. It is heart breaking to have to tell our clients that a home they found on one of these sites, and absolutely fell in love with, sold a month ago. Not only are these sites not updated quickly, they often report inaccurate information. We watch the market on a daily basis and have access to the most updated sales data. A home’s value can change, even if by a small amount, very quickly. When we determine a home’s value, it is through a market analysis, with information from the most accurate source; the Multiple Listing Service (or MLS). This is also the quickest way for you to see new homes or homes that have reduced their asking price that fit the criteria you have given us. Bottom line is we want you to have access to the best information to stay a step ahead of the game in this swiftly moving market.
“Why do you need my feedback?”
This is a two-fold question. So first, why do we need your feedback when showing you homes? Say you absolutely hate a feature that a home has, but you do not let us know. We got your initial criteria, and this home as ALL of the features that you asked for (and the one you definitely didn’t). We head on back to the office thinking that we found a slam dunk home for you, and continue to search for ones just like that one. We send you 3 more with the same feature. Not only is this frustrating to you, but it prolongs the process to get you into the right home. Meanwhile, 3 homes with all the features you liked and without the one you didn’t, just sold yesterday. We missed out. It is so important for us to know how you feel about the homes we show you and send you. After all, we want to do the best job we can for you. This means finding you the right house, in the smallest amount of time, with the least hassle! We need your input to do so.
Secondly, there is another type of feedback we need from you! While we strive to do the best we can for every client, we are always trying to perfect our craft. In that sense, we need to hear from you after you are signed, sealed and delivered to your new home. If there was something we missed, we want to know about it. This will help us to continually get better at what we do. On that same token, if we did fantastic and you are going to recommend our team to all of your friends and family that is something we need to hear as well! We are always reaching out for new business, and what better advertising than the statement from an elated previous client.Our Bottom Line:
We want to do the best job we can for you. We want you to trust us to help you with this huge change, and we will do just about anything to ensure that you are treated with the utmost respect and integrity you can find in this business. So, while some of the things we, or our trusted partners, ask of you may seem strange and unnecessary, please know that we do this for your best interest. We are here to create life-long relationships with our clients and be the greatest in the industry at the same time.