“What is the Value of having a Queens Real Estate Agent?”, by George Herrera, Realtor and Co-Owner of the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty.

I have wanted to write this post for a while now because as times and technology continue to change, I continue to ask myself the same question, what is the value that we as Queens real estate agents bring to potential home buyers and sellers? The answer to this is important so that we can offer the best service possible, and more importantly so that we can revolutionize the role of a real estate agent here in the Queens real estate market. Here is my attempt to explain the value that a professional and expert Queens realtor should be able to offer to their consumers.

Traditional Value vs Modern Day Value

What is the Value if having a Queens real estate agent

Just as an FYI, my wife and I started our real estate careers back in 2008 so technology has always been a part of our business, however, in the past we know that technology was not as instrumental or vital as it is today. From what I’ve learned in conversations with more seasoned agents, it seems that the real estate agents were at one point “keepers of the information”. In other words, if you wanted to see some homes or were interested in buying, you would need to go to a real estate agent to see what was available. This is true for sellers as well because before technology it would be hard for you to find out how much your neighbor’s home sold for, what houses in your area have been selling for, and what they were going for at that moment. The information was not as readily accessible as it is now so my assumption is that in the past the Realtor had information (and expertise of course) as their primary value add.

The Impact of Technology

What is the Value if having a Queens real estate agent

Since the arrival of technology, the internet, and major real estate website portals, real estate information has become more and more accessible for consumers. You would think that this would eliminate the need for a real estate agent, but as more and more information comes out, the more confused it seems people get (i.e. information overload). Just go on one of these websites like Zillow or Trulia and you’ll quickly see how much information they’re throwing at you all in one page. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the more information consumers have the better their conversation will be once they meet with a Realtor because they will be well informed. In my opinion, it is still necessary to meet with a local Queens Realtor because there are some things they can do and have access to that you as a consumer simply cannot.

For example, a Queens real estate expert will be able to interpret the market data and explain to you what it all means for you. They can tell you if the market in a specific neighborhood is in your favor or not. If your price range or desired sale price is realistic. A local expert can also tell you about different neighborhoods and if they fit your lifestyle. They can tell you where most buyers are moving from. They can tell you if a neighborhood is growing in popularity or losing it’s appeal. They should know about new developments and(or) economic factors that can impact values now and in the future. Put simply, the local expertise an agent has is still very valuable because while you may know your neighborhood very well, a good agent will most likely know more about different areas throughout the county and specifically, they will know a lot more about local market trends because they are “in the market” everyday.

New One Family Homes for Sale in Queens

A Shift in Value & Services

What is the Value if having a Queens real estate agent

In my opinion, the value of having an agent has shifted from being the person with the information to being the person who can interpret the information. In addition to that, I think that the value an agent brings to consumers is that of being a valuable resource with contacts and referrals for each stage of the transaction as well as beyond closing. This coupled with good negotiating tactics, hyper local expertise, and first to know investment opportunities make finding a good Queens real estate agent invaluable.

With all that said, below is a summary of where I think the value lies in having an experienced buyer or listing agent to help represent you during the Queens real estate process. Hope this helps you in some way shape or form 🙂

Value of having an agent for Queens Home BuyersValue of having an agent for Queens Home Sellers
Market KnowledgeHome Valuation and Pricing
Local ExpertiseHelp with Preparation
Negotiating TacticsLocal Expertise
Vendor ResourcesNegotiating Tactics
Investment OpportunitiesVendor Resources

Value of a Queens Real Estate Agent for Home Buyers

If you are thinking of buying a home you may be thinking “what do I need a real estate agent for?”. Your first instict may be that you can easily buy a home on your own, all you have to do is go on Zillow, find some listings, call the listings agents, go see them, and then make an offer to buy one. The problem with this approach is that it gets very confusing, frustrating, and you end up talking to so many agents that a lot of tie is wasted looking at places that don’t match what you’re looking for. In addition to that, and most importantly, is the fact that if you don’t hire an agent to work for you, then every agent you come into contact with is a seller’s agent and that puts you at a big disadvantage from the very beginning. For more on agency relationships and who agents are working for, check out our blog “Understanding Agency”.

But the question still remains, what is the value of having a buyer agent? Well, in my opinion, the value of having a real estate agent help you with the purchase of your home, coop, or condo is the following:

Market Knowledge

Queens Market Knowledge

If you hire an experienced buyer agent who has closed a lot of deals, one thing you have is their experience to draw from. They have probably seen so many deals and encountered so many issues that those experiences will likely help you avoid the same issues because they will know how to preempt and(or) resolve them if they arise. In addition, if they are full time and work with a lot of buyers, that means that they’re constantly looking at homes. They will not only know what properties are priced right and which ones are over priced, but they may also have seen a property that matches exactly what you’re looking for. There’s nothing like seeing a home in person so a buyer agent who sees a lot of properties and has their finger on the pulse of the market is extremel valuable.

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Local Expertise

If you’re looking to buy in a particular neighborhood or neighborhoods, then finding a buyer agent that specializes in those areas will be a huge help. For one, they probably have already seen a lot (if not all) of the inventory that’s on the market there. This means that as you look at listings online, they can tell you exactly what they are like in person. Also, they will know what properties are selling quickly and which ones you can get a deal on. They most likely also have established relationships with listing agents in the neighborhood(s) so they can probably get you into any listing you want to see fairly easily. All in all, that knowledge of the local market and of a specific neighborhood is invaluable because it is very likely that they will know some things that you don’t.

Negotiating Tactics

Negotiating

In my opinion this is a very underestimated phase in the Queens real estate process. I can’t tell you how many buyers come directly to us on our listings thinking they can get a good deal by going through the listing agent. Little do they know that all we want is to get the highest price possible for our seller(s). There have been instances where buyers make offers much higher than what we think the property is worth, but as seller’s agents, we are happy to let them do so. A good buyer agent will not only tell you if you’re overpaying a property, but they will also know how to help you win the deal. Sometimes you do need pay over asking price or over appraised value to win the bid and if you are willing to do so, that is perfectly fine. The key is knowing because good information helps you make good decisions. A good buyer agent will know negotiating tactics to find out how many offers are in, where the price needs to be, if the sellers are in a rush, etc. the negotiating aspect is all about finding a win-win and if you have a good buyer agent, they should be able to help you accomplish this. On the other hand, if you go directly through a listing agent, you may get the short end of the stick because if they are doing their job right, they will make sure they get you to pay as much as possible.

New 3 Family Homes for Sale in Queens

Vendor Resources

This is arguably the most valuable service your Queens real estate agent can provide for you. This is where I think a lot of the value has shifted in recent years. The reason I say that is because when you’re a real estate agent that sells a lot of homes, you end up needing to hire all kind of professionals to help sell houses. As a result, a good real estate agent will have a whole list of vendors that they have experience with who can help you with your needs as well. I can soeak to this from personal experience because when we first bought our house, we needed a ton of referrals. We needed a good lender, a good inspectior, a good real estate attorney, etc.And that was just during the transaction. Once we closed on our house, we needed to do renovations so then we needed recommendations for a good plumber, a good electrician, a good contractor, a good handyman, etc. All of our referrals came from people we’ve already done business with, and co-workers in our office who had experience with them. This is a very very valuable resource.

Investment Opportunities

If you want to have a diverse and sound investment portfolio, I’m sure you want to have some real estate mixed in there. Most people love the thought of flipping houses for profit or holding properties for the rental income. Either way, if you had the money I’m sure you would jump at an opportunity to scoop up a good real estate investment. So, another valuable resource that your buyer agent can provide you (post closing) is that he can keep you plugged in to any good deals that he comes across in the field. As I mentioned earlier, a good buyer agent is probably viewing 10-15 properties a week and through all of those showings, they are coming across some gems. If you are one of their past clients and let them know that you are interested in investment properties, you can almost guarantee that you will be on the top of their list 🙂

Value of a Queens Real Estate Agent for Home Sellers

Home Valuation and Pricing

Queens Home Values

If you’re thinking of selling your home, the first step in the process, and arguably the most important, is finding out how much your home is worth. Many times when we meet with potential home sellers, they have an idea, but aren’t sure exactly how much their home is worth. The reason for this confusion is because what most people have access to is how much properties are going for at this time, not how much they’ve been selling for. So when you look at properties for sale in your area, what you are looking at is how much people are asking for their homes, not necessarily how much they’ll end up selling for. So, the best way to find out how much your home is realistically worth, is by meeting with a local and experienced Queens real estate agent. A good listing agent will be able to walk you through the comps, show you all of the similarities & differences, and ultimately make the adjustments necessary to give you a proper valuation. Unfortunately closed sales data is still not easily accessible online, and even if it were, you still need someone who is “in the market” to interpret the data and tell what is really going on in your area.

Help with Preparation

One of the most common things we hear from potential home sellers is, what should I do to prepare? Sometimes sellers want to renovate but don’t know if it’s worth it, other times they don’t want to do anything, and sometimes they want advice on how to get the biggest return on investment. Preparation is key, both in life and in real estate. No matter what, we never suggest selling “as-is” unless you absolutely have to. The reason why is because when you do a little preparation in a smart and cost effective manner, you can yield yourself a very good return once buyers’ offers start coming in. This is where a good Queens real estate agent can help you. A good listing agent will be able to tell you what features sell best in your area, what areas need immediate attention, and what are some minor improvements you can make that will help the home sell faster, and for more money. Top agents sell homes everyday so they know what buyers are looking for, when you are doing too much, and what is not necessary.

Local Expertise

Just as with buyer agents, a good listing agent will be able to tell you what is happening in your area. Every neighborhood is different, and especially in Queens, there are always different initiatives and plans happening in neighborhoods which can affect the value of properties. In addition to this, a good real estate agent who specializes in your neighborhood will most likely have seen and (or) sold a lot of the properties in your neighborhood. This means that they will be able to tell you first hand how your House stacks up to other homes in the area. Remember, when you list your home for sale you are essentially entering a competition where you will either sell your home (Win), or help someone else sell theirs (Lose). For this reason, it is extremely valuable to have an agent who can tell you how your property fairs against the competition, realistically.

Negotiating Tactics

NegotiatingJust as with buyer agents, listing agents know proven tactics that work in getting sellers the best price with the best terms possible. Unless you sell houses everyday, it’s very hard for you to know all of these tactics and strategies. For example, you put a house on the market and the very next day you recieve a full price offer, do you accept it? The answer is no, because anytime we recive full price offers immediately after listing, it means that we are probably going to have a bidding war that will end up over asking. Here’s another example, you hit the market and start recieving offers from several buyers/agents, do you negotiate with each buyer individually? Again the answer is no. How about once you accept an offer and the inspection is done, now the buyer wants ti renegotiate because of several items that came up in the inspection, do you renegotiate? The answer is that it depends. For situations like this it is all about leverage and understanding of different situations. A good Queens real estate agent will know when you can stand firm, and when you may need to budge in order to not risk losing a good deal. Negotiations happen from the beginning of the process all the way through to closing so an agent with good negotiation skills will save you thousands down the road.

Vendor Resources

As with a good buyer’s agent, a good listing agent will have a whole slew of vendors that they can recommend to you. The best part is that they probably have experience with these people so if they are recommending them you can bet that they are probably good. You would be surprised how many referrals Queens home sellers need in preparation for a sale. For example, if you want to sell with a fresh coat of paint, then you will need some painter referrals. If you have old leak damage, cracks, or holes, then you’ll need a handyman to patch them up. If you have damaged floors, then you may want to get quotes from a flooring professional. If the house is very cluttered, you may need referrals for a cleanout company. If the house is very dirty, you may want to get a cleaning service in there. So on and so on, you get the point. All of these professionals will be in any good Queens real estate agent’s network. This is extremely valuable because you don’t have to worry about getting ripped off, over spending, or getting low quality work done.