Real estate, like any other business, is subject to risk management issues. From unsatisfied clients leaving negative reviews to lawsuits filed against them, realtors need to make sure they’re doing everything they can to create a pleasant and successful experience for all involved. If you’re getting ready to buy or sell your home in the San Francisco area, you can empower yourself by learning more about what realtors can do to avoid risk management slip-ups. By learning more about these key tips, you can spot whether or not you’re partnering with a realtor who is experienced and reliable.
1. Avoid accidents and injuries
This tip is pretty straightforward, but an easy one to miss. Even an experienced East Bay realtor can forget to check a property for potential slip or injury hazards. Not only is it bad if an agent gets injured on the property, but if a potential buyer gets injured, the seller’s agent could be held responsible. The main pitfall of getting injured on the job is that it could keep an agent from tending to their other responsibilities. Resting and recovering might mean missing meetings with other clients or another open house. With potential buyers, many things can go awry at viewings. Perhaps a buyer wants to get a better view of the side of the yard and leans against the porch or pool screen to see. The screen breaks, and the buyer falls against the railing or straight through onto the ground. Perhaps the owner has requested that all pieces of art and decor aren’t touched, but curious buyers do so anyway and break a precious family heirloom.
Though homeowners should do what they can to keep their homes in top shape for viewers, ultimately it's up to the Berkeley realtor selling the home to make sure visitors stay safe. Agents need to inspect the home prior to an open house to make sure there aren’t obvious hazards, like spills, or at the very least bring them to each potential buyer’s attention. Ultimately, the homeowner is most likely to be held responsible, but real estate agents should be aware that they can suffer from legal repercussions, too.
2. Always put the client first
It’s no secret that the best way to have a happy client is by putting them first. Valuing a client’s needs and their time are surefire ways to help them feel heard and looked after. Where a Berkeley realtor might go wrong with clients is when they spread themselves too thin or are too focused on outcome over process. A client who feels taken advantage of or simply neglected could take their business elsewhere, or, in worst-case scenarios, take legal action. Realtors need to remember that the key to a successful, fulfilling career is nurturing each and every client relationship, and clients need to partner with real estate agents who have their best interests at heart.
3. Remember that the market can change quickly
An inexperienced East Bay or Berkeley realtor may place too much confidence in current market trends. Just because Berkeley real estate has risen in value in the past year doesn’t mean it will rise at the same rates in the coming year. Just because buyer demand is high in the greater San Francisco area doesn’t mean it won’t fluctuate season to season. It’s important that your realtor keeps on top of trends by continually analyzing local markets for signs of change. Promising clients a certain result in the future based on today’s market is never a strong strategy for success.
4. Always recommend inspections
The most common reason why an East Bay realtor might have legal action taken against them is for failing to disclose property defects. If you’re buying a home, your realtor should encourage you to work with a professional inspector
. If you’re selling your home, your realtor may do the same. It never hurts for your agent to be one step ahead when they’re representing your property. Understanding what a property is lacking in addition to what it’s offering can help realtors be more strategic during negotiations and avoid any issues or legal action down the line.
5. Keep clear records and documentation
Nothing’s worse than having something fall through the cracks, especially when it comes to documentation. If a realtor is ever asked to present copies of past contracts, inspection reports, or agreements, they need to be able to produce those quickly and easily. A major risk management issue can arise if you or your agent come under fire for not disclosing that your property had an HVAC system in need of repair and they can’t find the documentation that proves they let your buyer know ahead of time. Whether you’re working with a downtown San Francisco realtor or an East Bay realtor, you need to make sure they keep clear records and documentation throughout the entirety of your transaction.
6. Avoid copy-and-paste listings
Sometimes online listings have a place where realtors can include their own comments about the property. Writing real estate listing descriptions is an art in and of itself, and each client deserves a unique listing that represents their property. It can be easy for realtors to copy and paste certain parts of a listing onto another listing for a similar property, but there are certain risks that come with doing so. First, they risk losing their client’s trust if (or when) the client finds out. Second, they may forget that some of their comments don’t actually fit or apply to the new property. Some lines may be general enough to slide, but others may not. When in doubt, always strive for the utmost professionalism by writing fresh comments for each listing.
Reach out to Jess Williams for more tips
Real estate isn’t free from pitfalls or issues, but many can be avoided when a professional realtor takes the necessary precautions and acts honestly. Jess Williams
is a real estate advisor based out of San Francisco with more than 15 years of experience serving clients with authenticity and integrity. If you’re looking for a realtor you can trust and are ready to step into the home buying or selling process, get in touch with Jess Williams