Real estate transactions take a village. When I'm buying homes as an investor, my team of contractors is vital to the investment paying dividends. Similarly, in a traditional real estate transaction where I serve as the agent, my support team is what ensures that all of the moving parts of a transaction go as smoothly as my own services and are handled just as professionally. And frankly, these people are also as vital to the investment side of my business as well. So what type of people make up my agent dream team?
Sellers will often ask for your recommendation for a title company, and we all know that not every title company is created equal. Getting even more granular, once you find an amazing title company, you should develop a relationship with an individual title agent within it. Having someone who is accessible, quick to answer emails, pays attention to deadlines in the file, and does meticulous work is vital.
Here in the Katy area, the title company I consider an extension of my team is Frontier Title Company, and more specifically, their agent Kendra Patterson, and her coordinator Lettie. Frontier's tagline is "We don't work from 8 to 5, we work from start to finish." And it's true. The number of times these folks have worked late for me to ensure a deadline is hit is numerous, and the number of times they have ever left me, or a client, feeling like the transaction was anything less than amazing is zero.
Find a good title company, then find a great agent within it and develop a rapport. Lastly, don't forget to show your appreciation for when they go above and beyond on a file. If I know the team worked late for myself or a client, I'll send something like flowers or chocolate covered strawberries afterward to thank them for their above and beyond effort.
Most sellers will usually ask their agent to recommend a home inspector. It's important to find someone qualified, professional, personable, affordable, and making use of technology that you can recommend with confidence.
For me, that local Houston area inspector has been Elite Real Estate Inspections. Their owner, Edgar, has seen the future that technology can provide and uses it in his inspections: from the latest tools and testing materials and methods, to staying up to date with continuing education, to providing inspection reports using technological platforms that make reading that inspection report and requesting repairs or discounts in lieu of repairs something of ease, and allowing online payments for the convenience of his clients.
Find a great inspector, develop the relationship, and always let them know you appreciate them. You should also identify a few backups in case there's ever a time your number one choice is too busy to meet a short option deadline. And don't forget to identify some specialized inspectors for things like HVAC, pools, sprinkler systems, roofs, and termites. In the Houston area, we had a lot of homes that flooded and are now remodeled hitting the market, so I also have a trusted local mold inspector in the Houston area - AWA Environmental - as well.
You should find a handful of RMLOs to recommend when asked that charge fair rates, treat customers with respect, and who you know will work diligently to ensure the lending process doesn't fall apart at the last minute.
I wanted to give a quick shoutout to the RMLO who is always at the top of my list for my personal transactions - Reef Mehri. He has a fantastic personality, knows his stuff, and always has someone in his Rolodex if we encounter a complicated situation to obtain answers without delaying closing. His team has also worked plenty of overtime for my transactions and those of my clients. Find yourself a few RMLOs who are at the top of their game and bring them into your dream team fold.
Finding a great and affordable staging company that does fantastic work is no easy task. According to an article in Forbes, "A staged home will sell for 17% more on average than a non-staged home, and 95% of staged homes sell in 11 days or less. That is statistically 87% faster than non-staged homes." Of course, the price point of the home and target buyer market can influence how cost-effective staging will be. Staging isn't always the right choice for every listing. But, for vacant listings, I think they're fairly essential to acquiring the highest price with the lowest possible DOM.
In my area, I am thankful to know two extremely talented stagers. REI Design Solutions has made a niche for themselves in serving real estate investors and do fantastic work at a very affordable price. And Casa Vilora Interiors can make design miracles happen - though she is priced more for high-end homes. Staging won't be the right option for every listing, but when it is, you'll want to ensure you know who serves to help the homeowner get the best results.
Who Makes Up Your Agent Dream Team?
This list is the shortlist of the team members I utilize the most often in Katy real estate transactions. Though I have a Rolodex of people who I know I can call on when an atypical need arises and can be sure they'll get it done professionally and capably. What types of people or service providers make up your real estate dream team?
Katy Real Estate Agent
Roots & Wings Realty Group
Champions Real Estate Group