It Takes a Village: Preparing for a Smooth Real Estate Transaction
Recently, a client of ours made a remark that stuck with me. She is in the process of selling a property and purchasing another, and we were chatting with her to give an update on progress and next steps.
“You guys are my village,” she said. “I know that you have it under control, and it’s all going to work out. Thanks for keeping me in the loop!”
I’ve always said that real estate transactions are very complex, involving many steps, multiple service providers (both professional and trade services), and countless deadlines and milestones. I used to use the analogy of a team as being the key to ensuring a transaction went smoothly. But the more time I spend in the industry, I’m more inclined to describe it as a village. Allow me to explain:
A village is a small group of tightly-knit people. It’s a small community, so everyone knows each other and have all worked together before. Within the village, each person is a specialist — they each serve a specific role keeping the community fed, or clothed, or sheltered. Each person relies on the others to get their job done, which in turn allows each member of the village to thrive.
A team, on the other hand, has its own type of synergy. Team members have typically played a number of games together, so they know one another’s strengths and weaknesses. They rely on each other. The difference is, by definition, teams either win or lose. And if a player gets injured or isn’t performing well, there is a backup on the bench ready to step in. Neither of these are true in real estate. You can’t afford the losses, and you generally don’t have the time to find replacements for anyone on your starting lineup.
You might be wondering, “What do these analogies have anything to do with buying or selling my next house?” Short answer: you’re going to need a group of professionals supporting you, and you should know what to look for in the folks you end up choosing.
When you’re getting ready to enter the process of buying or selling real estate, you may reach out to one or two key professional service providers who will help you navigate the steps that will follow. Usually, they are a real estate agent and possibly a mortgage lender. But keep in mind — you’re not just choosing who your realtor will be, or what mortgage person will help you get your loan. The outcome relies on many other people along the way.
What I’m saying is, while those are important professionals who will help you with your purchase or sale, there are countless other services you may need to rely on along the way. From title insurance reps and notaries… to insurance agents, home inspectors, and attorneys… to moving companies, painters, and plumbers… the list goes on and on. The good news is, you don’t need to hand-select every one of these people. But in order to ensure you’re tapping in to a strong network, you should start by seeking out a realtor who is a part of a reputable and reliable “village.”
In my experience, it’s not something that’s generally on our clients’ radar as we are having the initial conversations and preparing to work together. But we make it a point to mention that over the years we’ve been in business, we have developed relationships with other skilled and like-minded professionals in each of the critical categories. When they take advantage of our network, or “village,” they don’t have to take shots in the dark to identify the 30+ service providers who are typically involved in a move.
The key takeaway: when you are choosing the professionals you plan to work with, consider asking your first point of contact (typically your real estate agent), “Who else can I expect to need to help me along the way, and how can I find them?” Any agent who has a great village surrounding them will be enthusiastic to brag about it, and will share plenty of stories regarding how it’s made their clients’ moves a whole lot easier.
Paul Augustine, Associate Broker at RE/MAX Centre Realtors