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Ask Adam: Being a Good Client

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. I work in the consulting field and know firsthand that you can have good and bad clients. We are in the process of hiring a real estate agent and I would like to know how I can be a good client in hopes of getting everything I can out of the relationship.  

A. I have not thought about things from this perspective before, but it certainly has validity. Below are four suggestions that I think will help you build a productive relationship with your real estate agent.

Commitment — If someone is committed to working with me then I am going to give them 100 percent of my effort regardless of how much money they are spending or how long they may take to accomplish their real estate goals. Although I expect their up front commitment, I feel they should hold me accountable for delivering everything I promise. I include language in all of my buyer and listing agreements that allows clients to cancel the agreement at any time.

Communication — It helps me help my clients when there is a productive flow of two-way communication. For example, let’s say you are buying a house with me and I am sending you homes I have picked out that I think will be a good fit. It helps tremendously to hear what you like or don’t like about them. If you despise split-level homes and would really prefer a cul-de-sac … these are things I will be looking out for in the future.

Set Expectations Early — I find it is easier to cater to someone’s expectations when I know exactly what they are. Let your agent know what you expect from him or her. Describe your goals and find out how he or she can help. Put anything and everything on the table. This way everyone is on the same page from day one.

Commission — If you negotiate a compromise on the commission rate, just be sure that you have not negotiated out the incentive for your agent to go above and beyond on your behalf. It’s not always about the dollars and cents, and I assume that most agents are savvy enough to not get themselves into this situation. I am just putting it out there as an item to consider, as I have seen that beaten look in another agent’s face before where the demand on their time compared to their potential compensation, stopped making sense a long time ago.

The fact that you are considerate enough to ask the above question tells me that you are likely to have a great relationship with your agent. Best of luck with your home sale or purchase.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

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