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  • Writer's pictureKate Fulford

How Do Real Estate Professionals Work Together to Make Dreams a Reality?

Why am I using corporate buzzwords for my micro business?  Because it’s so darn true. There are several teams involved in a real estate transaction and time and time again, I’m reminded of what an absolute colossal effort it is to ensure that all parties are happy in the end. Contrary to general belief, the ideal real estate transaction is NOT adversarial, it is NOT us vs. them, seller vs. buyer, each trying to claw out everything they want and leave the other party with the sloppy leftovers.  For me and many of the folks I work with in Portland, we are always seeking a win-win.

I thought it would be helpful to spell out and analyze the various team configurations in a typical transaction. This will also demonstrate why outstanding communication skills and a depth of patience are helpful traits for a real estate agent. For this post, I’m coming from the perspective of a buyer's agent

The Relationship between Real Estate Agent and Buyer(s)

This is a very intimate relationship, as far as business dealings are concerned.  The “get to know you” phase gives helpful insights about what the client ultimately wants. I will listen, watch and absorb a client's reactions, comments and energy to truly understand what they do and don’t like. This helps me identify neighborhoods and properties that would be a great fit - even if they may not be a direct match to the basic “criteria”.  The touring, seeking, exploring is only one facet.  

There is also managing the bargaining between partners, the differing opinions and the potential stress that can be a by-product of the experience (we often provide therapy, TBH).  One of my super powers is that I can engage quickly and get a pretty solid read on what will work for a buyer.  Another is my optimism.  Home shopping in Portland can be a heartbreaker - but I always aim to keep the positivity shining throughout. I haven’t had a client yet that didn’t find a successful outcome.

Once we find an offer-worthy home, we enter a phase of decision making, negotiating and communicating with a new team member: the listing agent (who is representing the seller, who also has their own sets of needs and desires).  On the surface, we can surmise that both buyer and seller have the goal of getting the best possible deal (which are usually at odds). But ultimately, the goal is to SELL/BUY this house. The Agents work together to ensure this happens in a manner that appeases each of their clients.  

The Relationship between a Buyers Agent + Listing Agent

This team can have a beautiful relationship when agents are transparent, honest and intent on meeting the mutual goals of their clients. We are so lucky to have a multitude of collaborative agents in Portland. There is a TON of communication CONSTANTLY going on between these parties. 

The first point of contact is when the buyer's agent reaches out to the seller's agent to ask any questions about the home and to learn more about what the seller's ideal offer might include and how offers will be managed (deadlines, expirations, escalations, etc).  (SIDE NOTE: some buyers agents do NOT do this! They might just submit an offer without ANY communication, which is weird). It’s always a treat when your client wants to write an offer for a home where you know and trust the listing agent. We agents know when we are heading towards a smooth operation - and also when things could be awful (agents have reputations, of course).

Phase 2 is when your offer is accepted!  Now we have a new team:

How Various professionals work together on a transaction: Buyers Agent, Listing Agent, Lender, Escrow Officer, Transaction Coordinators, Buyer +  Seller

Yes- the team expands as we move through the transaction, and all parties are doing their part to keep the flow, meet deadlines and ensure everyone is on the same page. Note that the lender has their own relationship with the buyer as well - but that’s a blog post for a lender. We agents have AMAZING relationships with our preferred lenders. I've a cadre of lenders that can perform miracles, close faster than a speeding bullet, and keep things together even in the most wonky situations. The synergy between these two parties is huge. We work together closely to ensure the train is moving towards the station, which is CLOSING time.

The escrow team is generally chosen by the Listing Agent - and we all have our favorites. This team is doing a lot of behind the scenes work to ensure that the paper trail, monies and recording are all in line and on track. They obtain information from the county, the seller's loan, the buyer's financing, the deed, the brokers, the title report and more.

They can identify problems with taxes, restrictions, easements and the like.  

Oftentimes, Transaction Coordinators are part of the team. My TC is sent from heaven above! She is always keeping tabs on the finer details of the timelines and paperwork, while I’m focused on the big picture and building relationships. When a transaction has TC’s on both sides we are all so grateful to their dotting of the i’s and crossing of the t’s.

Really, if the crew is top notch, we are all communicating on the regular. But there are some other players during the beginning phase of a transaction too!

The transaction roles during the Inspection Period: Buyers Agent, Buyers, Inspectors, Contractors

Ten times out of ten, we encourage buyers to perform inspections on the home they intend to purchase.  We help our buyers select home inspectors, sewer scopers, radon testers and oil tank locators. We have worked time and time again with these professionals and know who is trustworthy, reasonable (no go with the scare tactics, thank you!), and just enjoyable to collaborate with.

When something pops up in the inspection, our people report immediately so we can then work to get a specialized contractor in to give their opinion/provide a bid, etc. I’ve seen utterly HORRIBLE inspectors that other agents have chosen for my listings (making mountains out of molehills  - often killing a great deal for no good reason) - so I feel so blessed to have such an incredible group of seasoned pros.

And the contractors! When you have a good team of these folks and you treat them well and hire them time and time again - they not only show up for you (even when they are busy, busy) - but you know you can count on them to be honest. When my roofer says the roof does not need to be replaced, I know I can trust them! They understand how to communicate situations to people who don’t know a lot about the inner workings of a home. And they understand the importance of the timelines.

The seller’s agent is looped in too - so they can begin getting their own bids for unforeseen issues. Again, we are all working to ensure a win-win for the entire group.

The Importance of Office Staff & Principal Brokers

Behind every great agent is a team of people who bring their own gifts to the table: the people running the show. The people keeping the office running, checking the files, making sure we have delicious snacks, providing education and wisdom. The Think team (my agency) is always keeping things running smoothly in the background and our wonderful Principal Broker, Hope Beraka, is my go-to for problem solving, inspiration, and a pep-talk when needed.

When the Team Works Like a Dream

When issues crop up (and they often do - usually at the most inopportune times!) I feel a sense of calm when I know I’m working with a team that works great together. The relationship between agent and client is only one slice of a larger puzzle with multiple facets. Sometimes the appraiser calls out a condition and all parties scramble to solve the issue. Sometimes an old tax lien surfaces and we work together to find a solution to keep it together. And one time (and hopefully the only time), a seller may orchestrate a doctors note with the aim of getting out of a contract when they changed their mind (this was a doozy - but we DID close).

I happen to be dealing with a last minute wrinkle on a transaction that should be closing in 2 days. Instead, I’ve spent my day talking to my seller, the buyer’s agent, the lender, the appraiser and no less than 4 contractors to determine the best way to get the issue resolved and minimize the delay. It is working; but only because the team is solid and focused on fulfilling our clients dreams. The dream is that everyone walks away with their happy ending

Hit me up when you’re ready to ignite delight and realize your dreams.

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