The client-broker relationship is critical to ensuring successful Oakland area real estate transactions
Buying or selling a home in Oakland or the Greater East Bay region is an involved process.
If you're a buyer, it means touring homes and finding the one best suited for your needs and tastes in a location you'll love. It involves walkthroughs and inspections, the need for potential repairs, and back-and-forths on scheduling and negotiations. Then comes closing and the sometimes excruciatingly long final stretch before crossing the finish line. Investment deals come with their own unique set of considerations and hurdles.
If you're selling, the laundry list of tasks includes pricing, marketing and staging, open houses, and attracting interested buyers to your door. Then there's the same concerns as above— inspections, negotiations, and closing.
There are a number of moving parts, all of which can be overwhelming even for the most organized and seasoned individuals. But it's also an exciting endeavor.
Purchasing a house or selling a former residence means beginning a new chapter in your life. Those seeking investment properties have an opportunity to flex their financial muscle and build ancillary income.
Regardless of your real estate journey, it's one that shouldn't be taken alone. Any real estate transaction stands a better chance of success and is less of an undertaking for you when partnered with a skilled real estate broker.
Not to be confused with a real estate agent, a broker offers a more customized experience in your real estate endeavors. And although the terms are often used interchangeably, there are slight distinctions.
A real estate agent is a state-licensed professional who can represent a buyer or seller. For buyers, they work to match them with the right home, coordinating tours, inspections, and negotiations. With sellers, they match their home to the right buyer, handling the marketing and promotion of the property along with representing the buyer when it goes under contract.
A real estate broker takes the responsibility of the agent up a notch in that they've continued their training and education, received a state broker license, and can own their own real estate brokerage. The latter point translates to the option of working independently or employing agents under their brokerage.
While not always true, in most cases, brokers will tend to have a higher level of general real estate experience attributable to more education, more training, and more certifications. They also possess more in-depth market knowledge, especially if they've chosen to specialize in a specific niche or location.
To underline that fact, brokers in California are required to take over twice as many hours as agents in pre-licensing courses. That's on top of already being an agent for two years.
Ultimately, an agent or broker serves the same function in representing buyers and sellers and helping them navigate the intricacies of real estate transactions. Here are five reasons to work with an Oakland real estate broker.
Let's start with arguably one of the most critical aspects of partnering with a broker—their market knowledge. Most real estate agents have a solid grasp of the territory they serve. They wouldn't be successful if they didn't.
Top brokers, however, are experts in navigating multiple aspects in a given community or neighborhood. They will understand the appropriate price points and values of a home. For buyers, that knowledge is key to determining if a home is under- or overpriced. With sellers, that info is paramount to appropriately pricing your property to sell quickly for maximum value.
Take this a step further, and they understand which neighborhoods offer the best return on your investment. Or those trending up versus the ones that have plateaued or no longer offer good value. They provide insight into intangibles such as commutes, schools, area vibes, and major attractions or intangibles to narrow your search.
This expertise is at a premium in a dynamic market such as Oakland and the greater East Bay region. The mix of urban and suburban communities can mean vastly different neighborhoods, home types, and price points within a short distance from one another. If you have your heart set on a specific area or certain type of home, look for a broker who specializes in the area or provides niche services that fit your needs.
There's little question that buying a home is one of the most stressful events an individual faces in their lifetime. There's similar pressure when it comes time to sell a home. A significant portion of that stress stems from how infrequently we experience it.
On average, most individuals will buy or sell a home three to five times during their lifetime. Considering an average person's lifespan, that's about once every 15 years. Things do change in a decade and a half.
Part of a real estate professional's primary focus is to stay up-to-date on those changes. Much of a broker's on-going education involves knowing when laws and regulations have been updated and how they impact their clients.
Further, with the number of transactions they facilitate, a broker's previous experiences will help guide you through your own purchase. There are very few aspects of a real estate transaction a seasoned broker
hasn't witnessed. That familiarity with the process can prove comforting amid a transitional time for a buyer or seller.
Considering it's done so infrequently and often signifies a major upheaval in our lives, the homebuying and homeselling process is also fraught with emotion. And rarely do people make clear-headed decisions when emotions factor into the equation.
This leads to perhaps the most underappreciated service a top-flight broker provides— objectivity. From discerning your new home criteria to choosing which repair battles to fight to the critical negotiation stages, a level-headed broker leaves their emotions at the door. They do it so you don't have to.
Consider your broker as part homebuying counselor. Don't shy away from asking your broker questions throughout the homebuying process. Using your broker as a sounding board not only taps into their experience and expertise but adds insight to help you see things from a different, impartial perspective.
Even if the process does overwhelm you at specific points, as your representative, the broker takes the lead on presenting a unified and unemotional front. In almost every case, they'll work with their counterpart representing the other party in the transaction. This ensures the focus remains on the deal at hand and any sticking points are resolved calmly and amicably.
Emotions can run unusually high when selling a home, particularly one where you've spent many years creating memories. For these moments, a broker well-versed in staging, marketing, and pricing will earn their commission by moving the property quickly and helping you move on faster.
As we've outlined, the tasks a broker takes on in facilitating a real estate transaction are comprehensive. They are also tedious, involving hours of preparation, extensive leg work, and mountains of reports, contracts, and other documentation that must all stay well-organized.
Consider that the average buyer looks at ten different homes over a two and a half month period before putting an offer on a home they love. If the offer falls through, that means starting the process all over again. Then, once an offer is accepted, it is followed with inspections, negotiations, repairs, maybe more negotiations, before heading to closing. That process can take two months—sometimes more—before the deal finally closes. The broker tends to it every step of the way to ensure nothing falls through or unnecessarily kills the deal.
Yes, it's a commitment the broker is rewarded for, but attention to detail is where a great broker proves invaluable. Real estate transactions are long and winding roads. Guiding you from start to finish and sweating the small stuff—so you don't have to—is the time to appreciate your broker the most.
To keep the relationship productive and you and your broker on the same page, set clear communication guidelines and practices upfront. This ensures your broker will always understand your needs and work toward your best interests.
One final aspect to consider is how well-connected your Oakland-based broker is. In most instances, the reach and worth of their network stem from their reputation. The better the reputation, the better their industry connections, and the higher level of services accessible to them and available to you.
This pulls from both their knowledge and experience, but it's more than just their marketing knowhow or extensive exposure to the industry. You want a real estate professional who is valued among clients and non-clients alike.
Respected brokers often have the best working relationships with their peers and colleagues. This insider status places you at the front of the line for off-market deals or connects you with highly-regarded vendors and contractors.
Having a broker who’s well-regarded and plugged into their industry can save time and money when specific needs arise.