How Important is Proper Representation in a Real Estate Transaction?
Basic to every real estate sale is the issue of representation. The concept of “proper” representation can naturally be very subjective. For instance, when a seller garners top dollar, they naturally report they were well-represented.
Your own agent should represent you at a home showing
Interestingly, sellers who get top dollar early in the listing often wonder if their agent under-valued their property. Same result but sellers begin to question aggressive representation. Truth is, of course, properly priced property should sell quickly.
Sellers choose representation based largely on an agent’s knowledge of the local market. For this reason, sellers normally solicit the services of an agent they feel has their finger squarely on the pulse of the local market. After all, it’s extremely difficult for an out-of-area agent to understand the nuances of the market without knowing the inventory and the neighborhoods. Besides, most out-of-area agents normally participate with a different Multiple Listing System (MLS).
The idea of geographic expertise is a widely accepted and fairly straight forward and yet, when it comes to buyer representation, buyers seem to apply great latitude. In truth, the same considerations should apply. Our license extends us the privilege of working statewide. Despite the fact that East Hawaii alone is as large as the rest of the islands combined, I feel fairly competent regarding most local neighborhoods. Having sold property all over the Big Island, it’s fairly easy to get up-to-speed because I have a sound basic knowledge of most neighborhoods.
Selling on another island would require weeks of intense research and a few orientation trips. After all, I’d need to understand recent sales trends which translates to value recommendations. Agents need a working knowledge of issues that might influence a buying decision. So, while it’s possible to represent an off-island buyer, it’s probably not in their best interest for me to do so.
I applaud those who succeed, but here’s the rub. With some frequency, out-of-area agents contact me requesting that I show their buyer one of my listings without them being there. At first blush, it would seem the right thing to do, right? Remember, the issue is representation. I represent the seller. With permission, it’s possible for an agent to represent both buyer and seller, but when a buyer is represented by another agent, their agent should be present for showings. It’s not unlike an attorney not showing up in court with their client. Agents have a fiduciary duty to those they represent.
If an agent can’t be present, the buyer should be referred to someone who can properly assist them. Of course, this isn’t the only kind of goofy showing requests we get. Agents with expired licenses (i.e., no license) ask to go alone, buyers want to pick up keys for their agents; you name it and I’ve probably heard it.
As difficult as it is to say no to any showing, buyers not properly represented at showings may be opening the door to future headaches and unintended consequences. Informed buyers are happy buyers. Even in the age of the information super highway, all real estate is local. Asking an area expert to assist you on your journey is really the best way to arrive at a successful conclusion to your next real estate transaction!