Many times as REALTORS®, we are faced with ‘on the spot’ questions that can make or break a transaction or a listing presentation. As the president I hear them all the time from the media, but I’m sure you get them every day as well – at the coffee shop, in the grocery store, a Chamber of Commerce event, or just about anywhere where people know you are a REALTOR®.
This was a list I was given recently as to the questions a REALTOR® may get. Having a “sound bite” response can often be more difficult than an involved conversation where you can explain the finer points of your answer – but that quick response is sometimes the first and only chance you get.
Part of being a professional is having good answers to questions like these. It is good to have answers that you have practiced and are repeatable so that you can answer and show your knowledge without missing a beat.
I’m happy to share my thoughts with you below so you have somewhere to start to answer this: How would you respond to these questions?
- What is the difference between a REALTOR and a non-member agent? A REALTOR® is a real estate licensee who belongs to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and has taken an oath to abide by a Code of Ethics and thereby adheres to a higher standard of practice.
- What is this Code of Ethics? The NAR Code of Ethics defines and holds REALTORS® to a higher standard of professionalism and behavior in three categories: Duties to Customers and Clients, Duties to the Public, and Duties to other REALTORS®. As a largely self-policing industry, it is very important that we not only personally adhere to the Code of Ethics, but that we also hold other REALTORS® accountable to those same standards.
- What is the most pressing problem in this real estate market? The current low inventory at select price points can present a challenge when buyers aren’t local and able to view and make an offer on a property in a timely fashion. Since Cape Cod is a discretional market and many of our buyers are located off-Cape, the buyer who can view and act quickly on a property often wins out.
- What do you look for in a good REALTOR®? Someone who raises the bar by doing more than what is required. In my opinion, a good agent is someone who takes pride in being a REALTOR®, is ethical, thorough, knowledgeable, and holds themselves to a higher standard. They always go above and beyond for their clients and fellow REALTORS®.
- I can find a house and financing myself – why do I need you? You could probably sew your own clothes too but why would you? A REALTOR® can help guide you through the process by knowing all the ins and outs and the local market, avoiding pitfalls and working diligently on your behalf.
- With all the tools available to your clients, how do you justify your commission? The tools are only so useful without the accompanying knowledge. A full time, professional REALTOR® adds a dynamic to a real estate transaction that cannot be equaled by any tool available to the consumer. Commission is compensation for the agents’ time and knowledge in successfully navigating the often winding and confusing road of real estate transactions and achieving the goals of their client.
- Is now a good time to buy a home? Yes, but inventory is low at certain price points. Interest rates are still low which is always good for buyers, however, your choice of properties may be limited. Don’t wait!
- What is the solution to low inventory? One solution is new construction. However, with rising prices of available land, regulations placed on property usage, and recent tariffs on many building materials, new construction is facing challenges especially in regards to offering homes at the needed price point.
- How will rising interest rates impact real estate? As interest rates rise, the buying power of potential home owners diminishes. They are able to afford less expensive properties for the same mortgage cost and they have less buying power.
- Buying a home is a long process – at what point should a buyer/seller contact a REALTOR®? From the get go! As soon as a buyer or seller starts considering a real estate transaction they should team up with a REALTOR®. The sooner the agent is involved in the process the smoother it is likely to be. A REALTOR® helps guide the consumer through the process, suggests other professionals as part of the team, negotiates and offers counsel to help assure a successful transaction.
- Are value estimation websites (like Zillow) accurate? Not only are they not accurate, they actually have a disclaimer on their websites stating so! Zillow, for example, states their accuracy has a median error rate of 4.6% and they encourage you to get additional “information” to verify. Spelled another way, that’s R-E-A-L-T-O-R. Here is a handout that shows you exactly what those websites say about their own estimates.