There are a lot of real estate agents in Silicon Valley, most of whom are competent, professional, and trustworthy. There are others who are less reliable, and some who are really nothing more than hobbyists at home selling. The first thing to understand, though, is the difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor. A Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors and follows a code of ethics. This matters a lot! A Realtor usually also belongs to the state association of Realtors (in our case it’s CAR, the California Association of Realtors) and a local board or association. Here in Santa Clara County, we have two local boards: SILVAR, the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors (of which I am a member) and SCCAOR, the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors.
I can provide you with every service you should expect from an experienced and competent Realtor, as well as give you an edge on the market with my targeted, technologically-enhanced marketing system.
Silicon Valley Real Estate Expertise
I will use my experience and knowledge to:
- Help you establish a fair asking price for your home in the current market (looking at everything from recent solds to current competition, absorbtion rates in your part of Silicon Valley, etc.)
- Filter out buyers who won’t qualify for a mortgage (we will try to make sure your buyers are not just pre-qualified, but pre-approved).
- Negotiate with the buyer and/or buyer’s agent on your behalf.
- Refer you to reliable sources for insurance, inspections, legal counsel, and financing.
Service to Assist You in Selling Your Home
I will take care of the details you will probably want to avoid:
- Advertising your home — I will create, buy, place and monitor the success of your ads, whether in the large daily (San Jose Mercury News) or a weekly, like the Los Gatos Weekly Times or the Saratoga News or the Willow Glen Resident or any other publication that might seem appropriate. (More and more, we use online advertising such as Realtor.com, MLSListings.com, and CraigsList.com.)
- Scheduling appointments and showing your home to prospective buyers, even when you are not available.
- Helping you with the complex and often confusing paperwork involved in the home selling process. This is especially true with the local San Jose/Silicon Valley disclosures, which seem to change every 6-12 months.
Evaluating a Professional
Below are some of the more common distinguishing characteristics you should consider when evaluating any agent that you intend to do business with. You may also have special requirements that will influence your choice of a real estate agent. I will be happy to discuss my own areas of expertise with you, or answer any questions you may have about my own specialties.
Some agents specialize, or have extensive experience in particular areas. In some cities, agents may specialize in certain housing types (like lofts, Eichler homes, ranch properties, condos, and so on). Other agents excel in a particular aspect of the selling process. If you want a great negotiator, for instance, you should ask about your agent’s experience making deals. Or, if you are selling a property in the top range of the market, be sure your agent has experience selling homes of similar value.
Local San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga and Silicon Valley Market Knowledge
Hiring an agent who isn’t familiar with your particular geographical area is a bit like asking your dermatologist to do a deliver your baby. Wouldn’t you rather work with someone who specializes in your county, at the least? You should hire a Realtor who works in your your county and has an office no more than 10 miles away. This is the only way she or he will have an accurate sense of what your home is worth. (Some sellers hire a “cheap” agent out of a faraway place like Stockton – this is a huge mistake.)
Although buying and selling a home is a business transaction, it can also be a highly emotional and personal experience. An agent with whom you communicate well will be able to anticipate issues that may concern you—even if you haven’t thought about them yet. Your agent will represent you to other people during the selling process. Make sure you are comfortable with the agent’s style and methods.
It isn’t necessary to hire an agent from a national brokerage house, but you should be sure that the agent you choose has access to the resources you require and a backup support system if he or she is too busy or falls ill. This may not happen in a mom & pop type operation. Don’t get stuck with an agent who doesn’t have the tools to get the job done, whether it’s human resources or high-tech tools.
Your Real Estate Agent’s Professionalism and Reputation
The best agents are busy. They are respected real estate professionals who take their job seriously and serve their clients well. Make sure that your agent isn’t just dabbling in real estate.
Your agent should have enough time to provide you with the service you need. Your agent should be fairly available–providing timely listing information to buyers, and actively promoting your home.
Don’t hesitate to ask me for information about any of these areas. I am as interested in you are in making sure we will work together successfully, and to our mutual benefit. If you are selling anywhere in the greater San Jose or Silicon Valley area, I can help you. (I specialize in the west valley communities of Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell, Monte Sereno, and nearby parts of San Jose such as Cambrian Park, Almaden Valley, and Willow Glen – but work all of Santa Clara County.)
Remember, Mary Pope-Handy wrote the book on selling homes in Silicon Valley!