What If I Know More Than My Agent?!
Does it ever worry you someone might even ask that question or be thinking along those lines?
Is it unlikely?
Probably not, in this age of the Internet and the availability of information, accurate or otherwise.
It’s certainly possible a buyer may know more (about certain things) than you, or at least think they do.
I wouldn’t sit there thinking because YOU are a licensed professional real estate agent that you know it all, or that some buyers may not be more knowledgeable about some things than you having to do with properties that are of interest to them.
Buyers on a home search mission are very information-oriented, and I am often amazed at the depth of research that some buyers do and what they can uncover.
So what do you do about it?
Consider this. Serious buyers are spending a lot of time researching properties, real estate information, taxes, communities, and more to make an informed decision in their home search. In many ways they have access to much of what we do – MLS listings, public and tax records for starters.
And because they are very focused on a specific task…for many it really becomes a part-time or even full-time job… they could develop a broader knowledge of some aspects of specific homes, neighborhoods and towns they are interested in than we might.
I had a call from a first time buyer in Los Angeles who clearly is VERY dedicated to learning as much as possible about buying a short sale and has been involved in several transactions, although without success. She actually asked me the very question I pose in the title, so it got me thinking.
What if I (the buyer or seller) know more than my agent?
That may not be the reality. But their perception is reality and we must deal with it. If a buyer or seller feels, rightly or wrongly, they know more, does this mean less confidence in the agent? It certainly could.
Buyers deserve a certain level of competence and knowledge from us in their real estate transaction. If there are gaps in that knowledge, which is certainly possible since no one knows it all, a reasonable expectation is for us to get the necessary information, isn’t it?
We have abundant opportunities learn more about areas where our knowledge is limited. And plenty of consumer websites to explore so we know what information they are finding (whether it’s accurate or not). It could prove embarrassing to have our buyer or seller talking about information they found on a site we know nothing about!
So what if a buyer or seller does appear to know more and brings that to your attention by sharing their information?
If your relationship is a good one a healthy, and useful, dialog could occur. If you are not put off by this revelation, or feel threatened, then the two of you can use this joint brain trust to work to your client’s advantage. Letting this become an issue for you in your relationship with your client could cause problems, especially if you get defensive.
But they may also have an issue with their perception. And you will have to deal with it.
We know there are some sellers and buyers who feel they know everything about buying or selling a home and the market, and question everything we do, or refuse to accept the realities we share with them. Some of that may simply be the nature of dealing with our fellow humans; it may also be a strong need to control and to be right no matter what.
You probably can’t win in those situations, so it may be time to part ways.
However, in those cases where we are not as knowledgeable as we should be, and are not making the effort to gain that knowledge, something needs to change. It’s part of our responsibility to ourselves, to our profession, and to our clients.
I know I really don’t want a buyer or seller feeling they know more than me.
How about you?!