In several of the posts I've written and read in the last few days, the one constant that's come up is "service".
Service is King. If you're not providing service, you're failing. And I'm not just talking about chauffeuring the clients to and from homes, and unlocking the doors.
But you want to make sure that you're providing a valuable service... unlike our DVD rewinder to the left.
What does the general public want from we Realtors today? What do they need us for? What part of our services are they willing to pay for?
FINDING THE RIGHT HOME
With the advent of Zillow, Trulia and more, including our local MLS that offer a watered-down version to the public and our commercial corporate sites (ie: coldwellbanker.com, remax.com, redfin.com)... the general pubic of buyers can find the house themselves these days
Yes, we can find more accurate and more current results, but that's likely to change in the pretty near future. So it seems they don't really need us to FIND the house.
DETERMINING THE HOMES WORTH
This one works for both buyers and sellers. Some buyers and sellers are savvy enough to have a fair idea of what range the house should be in, but they generally need us to narrow the range. While they can access information (like Zillow) to determine what recent homes have sold for... they probably haven't been in the homes, so they don't really know just how "comparable" those are to their home.
This one is key. The general public, while capable of negotiation, does not like to do it. They feel as though they're in a foreign land when trying to negotiate for their car, let alone a purchase such as a home. This is where they truly need us, we've seen the other homes, we know the value of this one vs. others... and we're comfortable with the negotiation process... nay, we ENJOY it, and we've had lots of experience doing it, and bring new and exciting tactics to the table for the buyer and seller.
NAVIGATING THE LANDMINES THROUGH CLOSING
Another critical aspect. Most people buy or sell a home 2 or 3, maybe even 4 times in their lives. They can't keep up with all the nuances of the sale. What paperwork is required, which legal forms must be signed, again this is where our expertise shines. Once the contract has been signed, there's still enough work left to be done. Lending has become trecherous today... we know our way through... yes, they need us here.
INSPECTION and RE-NEGOTIATION?
Again, yes, they need us here. Very few laypeople know an inspector. Sure, they could find one in the yellow pages, but they don't know which ones are good, which ones are excellent. Which ones fit their personality, and which ones put out a stellar computerized report. They have no idea which inspectors specialize in "walking the roof", or which ones were an electrician in a former career. Yes, they need us here too.
Which problems, when found during an inspection, should I request a credit for... should I request a repair for... should I walk away from the deal for?? Again, we've seen many, many, many prior inspections, and know a great deal about what's salvageable, what's repairable, what's credit-worthy (and how much we might be able to get), and what's so serious that we should run (don't walk) away from the deal. Yes, they need us here.
I'm sure you have more "value" to add...that I've not listed here. Finding the home, just isn't one of the strong ones anymore. Many of my clients arrive at my "internet door", with properties in hand that they want to see. But they're more than happy to have my strengths assist them through a strange and unfamiliar process.
Just be sure that you're offering value-added services to your clientelle. Make sure you know what they need, and that you can provide it.