Here in Summit County, “shopping local” is encouraged, promoted and a logical trend. It supports our local economy and more often than not, turns out to be a better experience and purchase result. It is actually not a lot different when “shopping” for a real estate broker.
It is no secret that real estate brokers, in general, are pretty good at “selling” themselves and with a positive experience, they can develop a trusted relationship with their clients. We understand those dynamics and perhaps the reason we are seeing more customers using their real estate broker from another area in Colorado (mostly Denver) to purchase in Summit County.
Does this translate well into the best experience and real estate business/transaction for a Buyer or Seller? Oftentimes, this real estate broker may be a friend who is somewhat knowledgeable of our area, or has limited experience in purchasing their own property here, or might even be living here part time (and having a license with a front range company), or maybe just think it would be fun (and profitable) to head up to the mountains to view the properties here.
Accurate Property Information
Due to the plethora of free information online (especially from 3rd party websites such as Zillow, Trulia and Redfin and not necessarily a direct/accurate feed from our MLS) most people really think that they have the right and most accurate information. Would you want to have a real estate broker with this same limited information? These websites are helpful but tend to be very basic and a bit misleading, since they can enter their own information and statistics and are not nearly as accurate as the systems we have available locally.
Therefore, after working with a number of these out-of-area brokers we have found that there are NO benefits for a Buyer or Seller to be using them in the direct assistance of a purchase or sale of a property here.
They are NOT (usually) a members of our local board of Realtors.
Members of Local Realtor Association
Mostly due to the fees and regulations which can be costly for brokers not practicing their business in this area on a regular basis. Yearly and monthly membership fees and dues are to an organization that operates on a state and national level; it keeps the real estate industry at a respectable, professional level for those that adhere to those rules and regulations. Local Realtor Associations know the latest about their area and work closely with local entities to provide their associates with the most accurate and up to date information as possible.
Regulated Electronic Lock Box
One of the main privileges of our local Realtor Association is our highly regulated (a broker is registered and fingerprinted through our local Sheriff’s office) to our Electronic Lock Box System (again fees are paid). This is a carefully monitored online system that allows access to most of our properties. Our “ELB” system has clear, updated showing instructions and helps monitor all showings for our Sellers as when the entry and exit, time was in the property, who was there, and of course allows for “feedback reports”to be sent. This is imperative when a listing broker is monitoring showings and dealing with multiple offers. With short windows for showing times, and the challenges of traveling, oftentimes the windows for showings cannot be met. This ELB system is only available (with a fee) to our local Realtor members. This is NOT available to out of area brokers although they can call a listing broker to pick up a key or use an old fashioned manual lockbox. Our local board even implemented a new “Forewarn” app to find out necessary background information for those looking at and entering properties for the protection of both the homeowner and the Realtor.
Accurate Contract Information
Out-of-area brokers do not always have access to necessary contract information to draw up contracts such as: accurate legal descriptions, how much earnest money a Seller is requiring and the title company involved which can put their Buyers at a HUGE disadvantage when submitting a competitive offer to be accepted by a Seller. On the selling end, I had an out of area listing broker with the wrong legal description which worked out well for my buyer who acquired the adjacent 5 acres for free!
Local Team of Resources
Another, and one of the main hindrances we run into is that an out-of-area broker does not have the necessary local “team” with “boots on the ground” available to have someone here for the times when a property needs to be revisited for a number of reasons: showing the property to another family member to see or being there for a contractor to access in order to get bids on inspections items etc. Oftentimes, a selling broker needs to have access to get into the property quickly to make decisions on items that move a transaction forward. These brokers also don’t have the local knowledge of the contractors they need to get the necessary work done for their Buyers/Sellers.
Understanding of Investment Numbers
We have had numerous requests from out-of-area real estate brokers saying they “are working with a group of investors”. How could that possibly happen when they don’t know the market, and area in detail? This includes knowing all the facts on the market with the “past sales” in that exact location with comparable properties, or the history of the area of typical trends on prices. How does one guarantee “income”, unless their area accurate records presented with rentals numbers, future projections of etc. and how does a real estate broker know what a competitive offer would be?
Third party websites, not generated directly out of our MLS system (a listing broker and Seller has to ALLOW their property to be on those sites) do NOT generate ACCURATE information. This is true not only with property for sale, but when projecting the “estimated” value of a property. This puts a Buyer (and Seller) at a huge disadvantage of not knowing the true market value of their property.
Can Save You Money
There is a general misconception of “saving money” and a general misunderstanding of “saving” a commission by using their own out-of-area broker (usually the exact opposite is true). The Seller is generally the one paying the commission, unless one is paying a Buyer’s agent in addition to or in a separate agreement. We have heard stories, since the out of area broker would not even know the commission that would be that is printed in our MLS, that they find out at the closing table that are making $0. Not a real perc to a friend who has invested a lot of time!
Unfortunately, not all local brokers like to work with out-of-area brokers (mostly due to the unnecessary extra work it involves) and this business is all about cooperation for a successful transaction. Real estate commissions are not necessarily public information but worked out through discussions and contract negotiations between companies and brokers. Sellers will often place their properties on third party websites to save THEMSELVES the commission. Why would a Buyer want to be unprotected through the buying process as they would not be the ones “saving” the commission.
Can Pay Referral Fees to Out-Of-Area Brokers Instead
Most real estate brokers, ourselves included, really ENJOY paying referral fees to out-of-area brokers, as usually their clients come with a great deal of credibility and allows us to move forward at a quicker pace on a transaction. These brokers can still be part of the process and get paid at the same time, but they understand they aren’t the experts of the area here and aren’t here physically to take care of the multiple times it is necessary to be here (meeting with contractors to complete inspection items etc). Make sure though, your broker isn’t just filtering you through their company system for them to get the referral fee, but spend the time talking with and researching this local broker to determine their qualifications.
Inside Scoop on New Properties
Especially in our competitive market, a number of properties NEVER get to the third party websites, newspaper or even our own MLS system. Some of our clients have been in touch with us for YEARS, and when they are ready to sell, we may have the Buyer or may network to other area brokers who have Buyers lined up as well. Sometimes it take a Seller a bit of time to sort through their stuff, make those moving arrangements and finally get their home on the market. At Luxury Mountain Lifestyles we welcome the opportunity to let our years of experience and networking work for you!
Our local Summit Realtors board is also an entity that keeps us accountable and professional with the system and legal means to do so (handling complaints that go through a precise arbitration system which can lead to possible fines or even the loss of a real estate license). They can monitor the accuracy of our MLS data and have regulations on many facets to provide accurate information to the public (photography as well). They are up to date to keep all member practices fair and benefitting the public.
Local real estate brokers here WANT our properties to be exposed through as many resources as possible to get the top dollar for the Seller, but working with an out of area broker presents no real benefit to any one (except the out of area broker who is putting more money in their pocket for less work). We often wonder how a really good real estate broker would even have time to go out of their area to sell a property out of their area of expertise.
Some additional tips from our local Summit Realtors formerly our Summit Association of Realtors:
“When you need someone to help you buy or sell a home, there’s no shortage of real estate professionals willing to take on the job — but how do you know that the person you’re hiring is savvy, professional, experienced and ethical?”
“For starters, look for the “REALTOR ®” on business cards or in marketing materials to be sure you’re getting the best guidance and advice from an industry professional that is up to date on important ethical, legal and industry standards. The Summit Realtors members deliver:
1. Timely, relevant listing information.
2. Expert market knowledge.
3. Full access to properties for sale.
4. Professional, ethical standards.
5. Access to national, state and local education to keep Realtors current in their knowledge, including 24 Summit-area specific classes.
6. Excellent technology that helps Realtors search listings, access properties and evaluate data.”
“Beware of online resources or companies that say you don’t need a Realtor. Real estate is often the largest investment you’ll make in your lifetime — you need professional guidance!
A local mountain real estate agent is going to provide you the best, most comprehensive, competent, local expertise to guide you through your real estate journey.”
“The Summit Association of Realtors’ members are engaged in the community, both personally and professionally. They are parents, neighbors, volunteers, youth sports coaches and friends. They can also help clients find local tradesmen such as plumbers, carpet cleaners and electricians”.
“Buying a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes. A buffer assisting through the rocky, emotional times with spending from 50-100 hours on each transaction and working with integrity, knowledge and professionalism through the entirety of the transaction”
“What can a REALTOR® do for you?
- Realtors vow to treat their clients ethically.
- Realtors help protect buyers and sellers throughout the transaction.
- Realtors negotiate the best price by using current and leading market data.
- Realtors know your neighborhood and community.
- Realtors are your advocates during one of the most significant financial transactions you’ll make in your lifetime.
- Realtors offer a human connection to a complex process.
- Realtors are supported by the nation’s largest professional trade organization — the National Association of Realtors — protecting your property and community long after contracts are signed.”