Delivering real estate services is no longer a one person job. Technology makes it easier for an individual to do more and more, but professionals need back-up and support to deliver timely, consistently-on-point services equally well to all the clients they serve simultaneously.
The real estate industry keeps the spotlight on individual real estate professionals through awards and advertising ("I'm Number 1!"), but clients are best served by a committed professional team. The makeup of teams varies, but their purpose is the same: to make the process of buying and selling easier and hassle-free for both the professional and clients. "The team" may include behind-the-scenes brokerage personnel, a group of high-profile professionals collaborating for their mutual benefit and that of the clients', or a combination of both types of service providers.
In real estate, time is of the essence. Delays can mean missed opportunities and there are no "do overs." Getting it right the first time is essential. That's where the team comes in:
From keeping on top of new listings and monitoring offer presentation activity to researching relevant details during offer preparation and ensuring every aspect of the transaction is nailed down for closing, there may be more to do than one person alone can do effectively while working for many clients at a time.
Technology can be a time-saver, but it can also add more demands and distractions—from emails, texts, tweets, and other instant communication, and related expectations of instant responses.
During peak selling season, the real estate professional has to be "on"—mentally and physically—for a number of clients at once, each with unique needs and demands. Seeming to be in two places at once is only possible because team members provide back-up and support to make sure paperwork is attended to, showing appointments made, mortgage applications processed, and home inspections and other steps in a purchase are completed on time.
A client's "quick question" must be answered, but if the professional is tied up at a showing or offer presentation, the client wants the security of knowing their needs are met by qualified professionals who are familiar with the client's situation. No waiting until the professional is free, procedures and systems ensure business as usual all the time.
In hot markets, hearing about new listings first is essential for client peace of mind. Sellers want the same quick access to feedback from new buyers. The team is on it.
When considering which real estate brokerage offers you the greatest benefits as a buyer or seller, your focus is usually on one or two high-profile professionals within this organization. When this is true, you may be making two mistakes:
- Underestimating the importance of the specific skills of less-visible, dedicated individual professionals and their team who are ready and able to do the work for you, relative to your specific needs and time line; and,
- Placing yourself at risk for a less than professional service experience, whether you are buying or selling, if you don't accurately identify the strengths and compatibility of the real estate professional and the team who will serve you.
Are you searching for that one real estate professional, armed with a smartphone whom, you believe, is all you need to successfully buy or sell real estate? Big mistake. Yes, you need a sharp, experienced real estate professional. Yes, a smartphone can be useful to both of you. But isn't the back-up and support available—online and off—to this professional as important as these other two ingredients if not more so?
The many details involved in buying and selling real estate must all be addressed. Since the professional is servicing more than one client at a time, organization and systems are the key to excellent consistent, reliable service delivery.
Successful, foresight-driven professionals are proud of the procedures and systems they design, implement, and monitor as these process-streamlining elements keep clients happy, not hassled, during some of the most stressful days of their lives. Each savvy professional knows it is support from committed team members that keeps those procedures and systems humming on even the craziest days.
When you are deciding which real estate professional to commit to as you buy or sell your dream home or cottage, make sure the following three questions are answered, so you fully understand "The WHO" who will take you to a successful outcome whatever "speed-bump problems" arise along the way:
1. Who'll be on your team?
How many "trained brains" will be working to ensure you have access to the choices necessary to achieve your goals in buying or selling, and to follow through with the most-beneficial transaction, without any hitches, unexpected expenses, or serious disappointments? This is not a numbers game - more people will not necessarily guarantee greater efficiency or success. You will benefit from understanding who will contribute what throughout the process of buying or selling. This way, sudden crisis from any source, heavy client work loads, consecutive offer presentation demands, illness, accidents, and other interruptions and distractions will not derail your plans or process. Nor will pop-up opportunities be missed. "Unexpected" anything is not unexpected by professionals with responsive, flexible procedures and systems designed to bridge or circumvent barriers, sudden change of plans, or pop-up client opportunity.
2. Who's in charge?
Who keeps the flow flowing? Who catches glitches and opportunities and knows how and who can deal with either promptly and effectively? Who is tracking the overall process from your first contact with the brokerage until all details are resolved after closing? Professionals with procedures and systems for service delivery also understand responsibility and follow-up, so that they or one of their trusted team, at any moment, have a finger on the pulse of the process of helping you exceed your expectations for buying or selling.
3. Who's the troubleshooter?
If there is a problem or conflict with the professional, who is the "go-to" person to ensure details and disagreements are resolved quickly and the real estate transaction is immediately put back on track? Knowing what recourse you have during the real estate process helps you avoid ending up with anything less than all that you can accomplish in this market with this set of goals and financial alternatives.
Successful teams are to be congratulated and praised. Many real estate professionals identify their team members, procedures, and systems proudly as part of their marketing campaigns and their introduction of service to prospective buyers and sellers.
"If you want something done, ask a busy person," may be true in your world. In real estate, "done" is not good enough and "busy" is for bees. In real estate, it's, "If you want something done RIGHT, ask a productive real estate team!"