The United States is currently experiencing a bullish real estate market, the likes of which have been unseen for quite some time. The National Association of Realtors reports that at the end of April 2020 "All but one of the four major U.S. regions witnessed month-over-month drops in home sales, but each registered double-digit year-over-year gains for April." While that statistic may indicate that the market will start to feel less "frantic", as I've heard from multiple people, it can still feel like a daunting prospect to be entering the market for real estate buyers right now. Property sellers on the other hand are riding the wave of good fortune created by the lack of inventory.
Whether you are a buyer trying to navigate a complex and fast-moving market, or a seller looking to maximize your profit and minimize stress, one of the biggest decisions you will make is the REALTOR you decide to hire.
It goes without saying that your agent's set of skills and knowledge is quintessential to achieving a successful outcome. Local market knowledge, process expertise, and team support are all facets of an agent's value to their clientele, but there is an added piece of the puzzle that can be equally important; their network and relationship with other local agents and related vendors.
In a market like the one we find ourselves in today, the saying "it's not what you know, it's who you know" carries tremendous importance. I'll detail two specific instances of that principle at play:
Agent-to-Agent Relationships: In Chicago, a small but mighty minority of agents do a majority of the deals in our market. That results in strong relationships between brokers that allow some deals to happen that might not have otherwise. I have had buyer clients win multiple offer scenarios without even being the highest bid in the bunch, purely because the listing agent and I had a pre-existing relationship and he was able to vouch to his seller's that this deal would be easy, quick, and hassle free. The fact that he knew how I worked, how I set expectations with my clients, and my track record was able to give my clients' offer the final nudge they needed to secure the home.
Vendor Relationships: Who your agent connects you with, also matters. Just like there are countless REALTORS our there, there are also countless lenders, attorneys, inspectors, etc. While you are always able to pick your own vendors, stop to ask yourself why your agent is making specific recommendations. Similarly to the example above, in more than one multiple offer scenario where I represented the buyers, the deal has been won due to the reputation, track record and name recognition of the lender that I recommend. If an agent on the other side of the table has worked with and knows that your lender has a proven track record, they can speak to the seller about that on your behalf.
While the two aforementioned examples are buyer specific, the flip side is true for sellers as well. Your agent should have the knowledge needed, and be able to advise you on some of these crucial (yet seemingly invisible) aspects of an offer - especially if you are reviewing multiple offers to purchase your home.
The market can seem intimidating right now, but I'm here to tell you that you can achieve a successful outcome with the proper guidance. Just don't forget to ask your REALTOR who they know.
Co-Founder + REALTOR® & Managing Broker at HomeCo Chicago