Being a realtor is a profession involving much respect and loyalty across the world. People understand that sellers and buyers are not friends, and need not know one another, nor sit around the negotiating table, and therefore, a person selling their house overseas will look for a realtor who has the competence and skills to handle the sale from beginning to end, and empower them to act fully on their behalf, without going into any trouble, or meeting anyone during this process except their trusted realtor.
However, in the Middle East, and here in Israel, a realtor is regarded as someone who had no career and went into real estate to make an easy buck, as it did not require them to be a professional. Let’s see whether that is indeed the case.
True, there’s no shortage of realtors in this country, but many real estate agencies hire hardworking, determined professionals who can provide as good a service as their global counterparts, and yet are far less respected for their skills.
The online world
In such a developed online world, the numerous websites offering properties for sale in Israel and abroad, along with images, simulations, and demonstrations, seem to make a realtor altogether redundant. Anyone can just sit at home and complete the process with ease, requiring no outside help, and saving what seems to be an unnecessary fee. This virtual reality is a slippery slope, buyers think they have been given the tools to be smarter, more selective customers, and explore all the options they believe to be available to them.
Choosing the right realtor
The first step when choosing a realtor is to meet with two of the leading realtors in the geographic area in which you are interested in buying or selling. Interview them, and find out how long they’ve been in this field, whether they are representative and courteous, and if you have the human chemistry necessary to embark upon this journey with a smile.
Try to understand how they work, advertise, and expose the property to other realtors and prospective buyers.
Do they have a website where your property will also gain exposure? See whether they are willing to collaborate with other realtors, and inquire as to who these realtors are. It’s important to find a realtor who is enthusiastic, determined, and hardworking, who loves their job and is proud of the profession they chose. Your realtor must be professional.
Once you have found a realtor with whom you feel comfortable enough to start the process, and it is clear how your property will be marketed, I would recommend that you give that realtor exclusivity over your property. The realtor’s sense of commitment will serve as an incentive and undertaking to advertise your property and spend money on it long before they have made a cent out of the deal, and it won’t kick in unless you make a similar commitment too.
The common fee when only the seller pays is 6 percent. In Israel it’s common to charge 2 percent plus VAT. Many people think that the transaction begins by haggling with the realtor over their fees. Wrong. If the realtor is unable to negotiate their fees with you and get what they deserve, will not have the ability to manage this process for you, nor the ability and faith to obtain an adequate price for your property.
I would recommend you focus on your 98 percent, and give your realtor their dues. Remember that your realtor must have a valid permit to practice real estate, and you should ask to see it. Realtors can only assess the property properly if they have a good grasp of the market.
Signing a realtor fees form
Signing a realtor fees form is required by law. It creates clarity about the property specifics and condition, and ensures that both realtor and seller know how the property will be advertised, and have information on collaborations with other realtors.
None of us hold physical possessions as dear as the property we are buying or selling, and therefore, the beginning of the process, i.e. finding the right realtor, is of great value on the way to achieving the desirable outcome. Until now your realtor of choice was merely a steward, showing your property to prospective customers, or showing you prospective properties for purchase. Now the moment has come and the customer you have been waiting for is interested in buying the property, the process has matured and it is time to negotiate, and that is exactly when your realtor should be utmost professional and seal the deal.
The negotiations begin when a proposal was made to you. Share the proposal with your realtor and only negotiate through them. Do not attempt to contact the seller/buyer directly, or meet with them – once you sit around the same table, the process becomes more emotional and less practical. Moreover, your body language may give you away, revealing how eager you are to buy or sell the property, and the other side may use the situation and your weakness to their advantage.
Trust your realtor to manage the process. It is important to empower the realtor to be involved in the sale process when it comes to dealing with lawyers selected to represent the parties as well. Sometimes, while the contract is being drafted, issues come up that an experienced realtor can solve creatively. The more willing and able a realtor is to accompany you on this process until the deal is signed, the more professional they are.