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Keys to Maintaining a Healthy Working Relationship

This is an incredibly stressful time for both you and your agent. You’re in the process of buying or selling what is likely the most valuable asset in your portfolio. Your REALTOR will be working tirelessly for months, and their payment relies entirely on whether or not your sale closes. You both have a lot at risk, and you’re naturally going to be somewhat tense.

Over the course of your relationship there will be plenty of opportunities for a wedge to develop between the two of you. Don’t let this happen. Problems between you and your agent will end up taxing you both emotionally and financially.

There are five simple rules to follow when working with a REALTOR.

Rule #1: Establish Expectations Upfront Both you and your agent need to sit down at the very beginning and lay the foundation for your working relationship. You need to tell your REALTOR what you expect from him, and he should tell you exactly what he needs from you. Tell your agent how often you want to be contacted with updates. Tell him about your past experiences with REALTORS (both good and bad). Ask any questions that you have. If there is anything special you want him to do, make sure to tell him. Finally, when your agent talks about what he needs from you, understand that helping your agent means helping yourself.

Rule #2: Address Problems Immediately Just like any relationship, when clients and their REALTORS let issues fester it rarely turns out well. Addressing problems immediately avoids a buildup of negative emotions and allows problems to be solved instead of ignored. When you have an issue with your agent, pick up the phone or meet in person. Don’t use e-mail, don’t text, and don’t remain silent. Talking allows for immediate feedback and doesn’t leave room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation.

Rule #3: Be Honest As simple as it may be, this may be the hardest rule to follow. Lying, misrepresenting, and intentionally omitting never help a real estate transaction. Please be honest with your agent.

Rule #4: Keep a Communication Log This process may take anywhere from a month to a year. The longer the relationship, the harder it is to remember what was said, promised, delivered, etc. An important key is to keep an accurate communication log. First, buy a notebook and keep a conversation log. Any time you talk with your agent, write down the date, time, and what was discussed. Second, file all your e-mails about your transaction away in a separate folder. Finally, keep a copy of every form you’re asked to sign. Any time there is a dispute about what was said, an accurate communication log can clear the issue up better than two people with imperfect memories.

Rule #5: Trust Your Agent Try to put aside your preconceived notions about Real Estate Agents and trust the agent you hire to do his job. There are two elements of trust in a client-agent relationship. The first element is competence—is the agent qualified to do the job? The agents I bring you will be more than qualified to help you, so worry number one is taken care of. The second element is an emotional one—do you connect with your agent? The reason I give you three agents to choose from is so you can decide which agent you bond with best, not which agent is most qualified. Make sure you connect on a personal level with the agent you choose. If you don’t, trust is going to be hard to develop.

By following these rules you’ll give yourself a much higher probability of having a successful working relationship with your agent. By doing so, you’ll also give yourself the best chance to make the most money in the quickest amount of time.

Fran and Rowena, La Canada Realtors - (818) 952-0077
Dilbeck Real Estate - La Canada, CA

Chris - Thank you for these insights.  They are also a good reminder to realtors about what they need to do also.  Best wishes in 2009.

Dec 31, 2008 12:18 AM
Sheldon Neal
Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited - Maywood, NJ
That British Agent Bergen County NJ

Very well put Chris - with your permission I'd like to print that up and use it with an upcoming listing presentation !

Good Job and Happy New Year :o)

Dec 31, 2008 06:11 AM