In real estate trust is everything.
In real estate trust is fundamental. A few weeks ago, I came across this chart on social media. I lost track where I first saw it. However, I knew immediately how it applied to the real estate business.
Curious about the chart’s origin, I traced it to LinkedIn and Richard Barrett in his post about team building. More Google search revealed the chart’s name as the “Trust Matrix” and a related business best seller on Amazon.
The Speed of Trust
The book is called “The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything.” The author is Stephen M.R. Covey. The book is highly rated on Amazon with over 500 reviews. The summary states “The Speed of Trust offers an unprecedented and eminently practical look at exactly how trust functions in our every transaction and relationship—from the most personal to the broadest, most indirect interaction—and how to establish trust immediately…”
Something tells me that a few of my clients have read this book.
The Search for Trust
In real estate trust is the most important consideration in the selection of a real estate agent, especially on the listing side. Feeding that trust are character and competence. That’s why so many sellers pick family and friends as agents. The character is supposedly known, not so necessarily is the competence.
Low Frequency, High Risk
We shop almost every day for something. We eat out once a week. We take a vacation once a year. We sell our home on average every seven years. It used to be five. Some people stay put for nearly a lifetime. Low frequency makes it hard to select an agent. Even with so much money at stake, it requires too often a leap of faith.
Uncertain About Results
Even after the transaction has closed, how does a seller or buyer know that the agent has done a good job? Unlike an investor who buys several properties a year, the average buyer or seller has few if any means of comparison. There are a few objective performance criteria. Did the transaction close as scheduled? Did the agent respond in a timely manner?
However, In the end, the one person who is in the best position to know the quality of the service and outcome is the agent. Neither the buyer nor the seller will ever know if another agent would have done better. It’s not like going to one sushi restaurant today and comparing it to another tomorrow.
Character and Competence
The chart lists the components of character and competence. Perhaps I will address each of them in my next newsletter. For now, I will say that character without competence is only slightly better than competence without character.
It is helpful to share common ground with your agent. Perhaps you have the same friends, visited the same places, or like the same music. In my experience, you will be more compatible with an agent that thinks like you. After all, you will spend a lot of time together.
You want an agent who is competent. Experience is a factor but not the end-all. Don’t be too impressed with the number of deals. Ask around at work and in your circle of acquaintances. Call a few agents, meet with at least two in person. Have a list of questions. Ask for references. Don’t be wowed by slick listing presentations.
Slow Speed of Trust
Because of the low transaction frequency, gaining trust in the real estate business takes time. After 15 years in the business, most of my work is repeat business or the result of referrals. With new clients—no connections to clients or friends—I have to start at the beginning. I can point to 2017 as the sixth consecutive year of being selected one of Seattle’s best agents, but I still have to earn their trust every step of the way. While slow to develop in a new relationship, in real estate trust is everything.