WRITTEN BY PJ WADE
Natural fear in taking action or making a decision is meant to preserve our health, property, and way of life, but it can do the opposite. For some real estate buyers and sellers, any change or decision is seen as risk to be avoided. Even those less afraid of risk or more confident about decision making usually rely on relevant information and expertise they can trust before they act or make a choice.
Since it is the person delivering information who usually imparts “trust-ability” to facts and choices, your ability to read the “trust-worthiness” of real estate professionals you intend to rely on when selling or buying will affect the decisions you make and don’t make.
In this column, we’re not discussing cheats or crooks who are out to deliberately commit fraud or worse. That’s a discussion I’ve had with you many times before including this earlier column: “Silent Crime Against Homeowners: Mortgage Fraud.” That said, remember that professionals with the best of intentions but without up-to-date knowledge or skills can pose risks for sellers and buyers.
Without trusted input, individuals and couples can second guess themselves when buying or selling, vacillating on whether to stick with their decision or not. For instance, “buyer’s remorse” is a risk-averse response attached to purchases of anything linked to dramatic or expensive change like real estate. Trust grounded in the value of the purchase and the soundness of the buying decision reduces risk aversion, and lessens or eliminates second guessing. This trust usually arises out of the relationship with the real estate professional, not the real estate itself.
How can I be sure my real estate professional deserves to be trusted? Here are three signs to look for:
#1. Encouragement: The correct answer to the question above is, “you can’t always be sure about others.” Instead, it’s yourself who you must trust. A real estate professional who is intent on increasing your knowledge of how the sales process influences outcomes is also determined to build your confidence in your decision making. At the same time, your skepticism will be encouraged by welcoming your questions and contributions. As you gain confidence in your understanding of buying or selling real estate, you’ll realize how and when to trust yourself and the real estate professional and brokerage you’ve chosen to rely on.
#2. Clarification: Trust in the face of certainty is an achievement, however, trust in the face of uncertainty is an art. When a knowledgeable real estate professional delivers services, or explains properties or advice, they also clarify what they expect to receive from buyers or sellers who give their trust to the professional. In other words, during the uncertainty of the adventure into real estate, buyers and sellers are told how they can act in their own best interest to facilitate good outcomes from their real estate transaction. Trust takes the form of clarifying wants and needs, confirming budget limitations, and finalizing key decision criteria like location and price range. When a real estate professional is unclear or unspecific about what buyers and sellers can expect during the transaction, trust can be replaced by confusion and frustration. If you find these are common reactions when dealing with your real estate professional, why would they deserve to be trusted? Search out that real estate professional who is clear how to make real estate’s inherent uncertainty manageable from your point of view.
#3. Reliablity: What is said, written, texted, posted…matters, but how professionals act on what they communicate matters more. When a professional’s interest in you is genuine, this concern is visible in every facet of the work carried out for and with you. Your interests should always be transparently and prominently placed above the professional’s according to the Agency Law and fiduciary agreements that rule real estate. This commitment materializes as services that are relevant to your needs and delivery methods that match your daily patterns. If you live through your smartphone, you’ll benefit from working with a professional who is equally connected. If you prefer emails, phone calls, and face-to-face contact, you’d like that preference respected. How does the professional’s commitment to you materialize? Does the professional deliver on promises and responsibilities without prompting or excuses? If it’s not clear to you how connected you are, perhaps the professional does not deserve your trust.
Perception is the reality in earning trust and loyalty. Your definition of trust, and the professional’s, need to be aligned.
- Should trusting include you questioning the professional, or is unquestioning acceptance demanded by the professional?
- Is their reaction defensive or offensive if their knowledge or skill is challenged?
- Do you understand exactly what the professional expects from you and from themselves as your relationship progresses?
From the start, you deserve to understand what “trust” will mean to both of you, and to your real estate outcome. Trust yourself to be sure about this.