Adwerx CEO Jed Carlson put a client’s toughest question to real estate agents: “Why do I need you?” His answer was that agents are like Sherpas: they reduce the risk of the transaction, they help carry the load and they comfort the client along the way. With this mindset, no amount of technology or automation can ever disrupt the role of a real estate agent. “Be the Sherpa,” he said.
We asked leading real estate agents to share a particular moment when they got to #BeTheSherpa.
Real estate portals offer consumer convenience and the ultimate experience in window shopping. And they can take a home shopper from browsing to buying rather quickly. So where does an agent fit in?
New Jersey-based agent Mark Slade has faced off against the portals, proving an agent’s value is in his or her local expertise and ability to focus on the client’s real needs.
One of his clients came in from a Trulia lead from one of Mark’s listings. “They loved the home,” he said. “But when they went back to talk to their lender, they realized that they couldn’t afford the home in question.”
Mark then started searching for homes in a neighboring town that offered greater square footage for the same dollar. Then he found a new listing in the original town that had uncharacteristically lower taxes for the same purchase price.
“They came out the next day and we stole it off the market before it hit the public open house,” Mark said. And it’s clear that wouldn’t have happened without an experienced agent’s help. “Trulia and Realtor don’t allow shoppers to search with taxes as a component. So you end up searching and making general assumptions rather than using an agent as your detective to find you the best home for your money.”
As a local expert, Mark was also able to help with what is an important factor for many families: schools.
“You can always go to third party sites, including Greatschools.org, to help you better understand the school systems in question. However, I always recommend school tours so that clients can get a feel for what their children will actually be experiencing in terms of condition, location, even personnel rather than referring to test scores alone.”
And in Mark’s home turf, there are a few schools with more elevated scores than others. But he knew that test scores didn’t tell the whole story.
“I was able to explain that not only did this school house the majority of the ESL students that typically score lower than non-ESL students, but, having the benefit of personally knowing some local substitute teachers, they universally tell me the school in question is the best run, has the best principal, is the cleanest and most enjoyable student body without any doubts.”
This kind of “boots-on-the-ground” insight is a perfect example of Sherpa technique — and Mark Slade is ready to help his clients climb the mountain.