Courtside Real Estate: How REALTORS® Create Exceptional Value for Clients

Published: December 18, 2023


This is a crucial time for real estate agents and brokers to understand and communicate the  immense value they bring to their clients. Having a  clear understanding of your “Value Proposition”  (the unique skills, knowledge, and value you as an agent bring to the table) is essential in a time of real estate boom and in times of uncertainty and change. This article will identify a few specific  deliverables all agents and associations can bring to  the table that stand out regardless of where the  market is. While the real estate industry seems to  be ever evolving because of technology and  changing structural dynamics, having a clear  understanding and ability to articulate your Value  Proposition will serve as a concrete pillar and  anchor during times of change or times of prosperity.  

Local Market Expertise: Your Key to Real Estate  Mastery 

One of the most significant ways REALTORS® can  serve as an asset to a client or transaction is being  knowledgeable in the local market. REALTORS®  provide Local Market Expertise in a manner that  technology and systems cannot yet match  (although Artificial Intelligence “AI” may narrow  this gap in the next few years).  

Think about the knowledge that comes from a  qualified agent working and living in a particular  market for an extended period of time. As agents  spend time working (and often living) in a given  market, they come to possess in-depth knowledge  of that market, the businesses, the people, and the  local ordinances and practices that make it up. This  knowledge includes understanding pricing trends,  neighborhoods, school districts, who the  powerbrokers of that community are, and  community amenities among other things. This  expertise is invaluable when assisting clients in  finding the right property, because an agent can  utilize these pieces of information to curtail the  transaction process to suit the client’s individual  wants and needs, ultimately finding the best match  of what the market has to offer with the client’s  desires and goals.  

Negotiation Skills: The Art of Closing Successful  Deals 

Building on this Local Market Expertise is the set of  essential Negotiation Skills that agents use in their  day-to-day business. Standing in between sellers  and buyers as a part of a standard course of  business, REALTORS® negotiate in some capacity  every single day they show up to work. As  repetition and practice refine an agent’s  negotiation skills, agents are better able to work on  behalf of their clients to secure the best possible  deal. Most agents do not realize it but given how  much time they spend negotiating each day, many  become very proficient at negotiating in their  practice. Ultimately, the development of sharp  negotiation skills leads to saving clients time and  money. It also allows agents to promote  themselves as strategic assets in the deal making  process. Negotiating Skills add value to an agent’s  Value Proposition because an agent can leverage  their Local Market Expertise strategically to the  benefit of their clients.  

Procedural Expertise: Streamlining Real Estate Transactions 

Another critical element of an agent’s Value  Proposition is the procedural expertise they bring  to each transaction. While it may not be the most  “fun” or exhilarating part of an agent’s practice,  the procedural expertise an experienced agent  possesses enables them to Guide the Process of a  sale. As any agent or purchaser knows, buying or  selling a property is complex and time-consuming.  It involves paperwork, inspections, legal  procedures, permits, etc.. Mastering these  procedural steps allows agents to bring value  because they can provide guidance and efficiency  to each transaction ensuring that clients  understand and complete all necessary steps.  

Expanding Your Professional Network: The  Untapped Resource 

So far, each element of the Value Proposition  discussed has identified how an individual agent’s  unique skills add value. There is another  perspective, however, by which agents bring value  to their clients: their Professional Network. Simply,  as an agent, you are not always going to have the  right answer, but most agents will know other  knowledgeable agents, inspectors, lenders, and  other professionals in their market who will. An  agent who has spent time cultivating relationships  in a market will know (and be able to utilize)  experienced mortgage brokers, home inspectors,  contractors, and real estate attorneys to serve their  clients. Depending on what a certain transaction or  client demands, or needs, an agent can provide  access to the right person at the right time for their  clients. Such connections expedite the  

sale/purchase process and provide clients with  trusted professionals to accomplish their goals. At  any point where a need arises that an agent is not  equipped nor able to handle, that agent can rely on  the other professionals in their Professional  Network to finalize the transaction.  

The Power of MLS Participation: Maximizing  Market Opportunities 

Another element worth considering adding to your  Value Proposition is: Participating in or Subscribing to the Multiple Listing Service (“MLS”). As most  people in the real estate industry know, the MLS is  a database used by brokers and agents to share  information concerning properties for sale. It  provides a “one-stop-shop” where subscribers and  participants can post and obtain detailed  information about properties for sale in a market  and search for properties that match their clients’  needs. Like the advantage a strong Professional  Network brings in helping an agent find the right  professional to help their client at the right time,  Participating and Subscribing to the MLS allows  agents and brokers to match their clients to the right property at the right time, and to do so  efficiently. It centralizes the information about  properties in a given market and allows for time  efficient searching. By utilizing the MLS, agents and  brokers can comprehensively search for properties  that are a good match for their clients while  maximizing their time through doing so efficiently.  

The Role of REALTOR® Associations in Shaping  Industry Standards 

While all of this is well and good for the Value  Proposition of individual agents, what is the Value  Proposition for real estate associations? When it  comes to real estate associations, much of the  value they add comes from the institutional  strengths and advantages of having a single  organization dedicated to supporting and seeking  the interests of its members as a whole.  

For instance, REALTOR® associations add value by  Educating its members. As any real estate agent  who has joined an association knows, associations  offer continuing education to its members that  helps them stay on top of (and ahead of) industry  developments and changes. Armed with this  education, REALTORS® can then take what was  learned and add it to their Legal Market Expertise to help their clients. Examples of this would be  continuing education classes or providing access to  literature, such as this article. Associations serve a  key role in providing tools and knowledge for  individual agents’ professional and personal  development.  

Associations also serve an important role in  Advocacy. Because associations are composed of  thousands of members and can pool the resources  and skills of those members, they are able to  influence policy and serve as advocates for  REALTORS® and consumers alike. This translates  into the association being able to help shape and  impact the law and policy making process. Many  

times, it is the associations who are speaking  directly with legislatures and lawmakers and  informing them of how changes to the law will  impact the day-to-day practice of REALTORS® and  consumers.  

Further, when it comes to the Advocacy Value  Proposition, associations often serve as  transmitters of real estate law and policy. For  example, the California Association of REALTORS®  (“C.A.R.”) regularly publishes and updates legal  forms and documents for its members to use. Each  form and document is updated on a regular basis  to match the most current iterations of California  real estate law as handed down by the Legislature.  Effectively, the associations “transmit” the legal  and policy changes taking place at the legislative  level to its members through maintaining forms  and then educating its members about the  practical significance of such changes. Here, the  Value Proposition for Advocacy is that when a  consumer uses an agent who is a member of an  association, they can be confident any transaction  they engage in will comply with the most recent  requirements of the law and ethical standards.  

Ethical Standards: Upholding Integrity in Real  Estate 

Further, membership in an association carries with  it another value building tool when it comes to  ethical responsibility. Namely, to be a member of  an association, most associations (such as C.A.R. or  the National Association of REALTORS® (“NAR”)),  the members are bound to Adhere to a Code of  Ethics that C.A.R. and NAR. propagate.  

Membership in these associations, is based on part,  on the real estate agent agreeing to be bound by  and comply with the respective Code of Ethics. In  terms of the Value Proposition, when a buyer or  seller uses an agent who is a member of an  association, they can be confident the agent will be  adhering to clearly defined ethical standards and  they will have an agent who prioritizes protecting  their clients as required under the respective  codes. For example, Article 1 of the NAR code  reads: “When representing a buyer, seller, tenant,  or other client as an agent, REALTORS® pledge  themselves to promote the interests of their  client.” (Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of  the National Association of Realtors®, NAR, 2023- coe-standards-of-practice-2022-12-28.pdf  (nar.realtor).) As a member of an association, your  Value Proposition is enhanced because you are  bound to seek the best interests of your client over  and above any of your own personal interests.  

While the industry faces many concerns related to  technology and competition, real estate agents  remain irreplaceable due to their Local Market  Expertise, Negotiation Skills, their ability to  smoothly Guide the Process, their Professional  Networks, and through Participating and  Subscribing to the MLS. Further, associations (and  REALTORS® who are members of them) bring value  to consumers because they help set industry  standards and influence real estate policy as  Advocates. Associations also serve an essential  function in increasing REALTORS®’ market  knowledge and expertise through continually  offering Education while also serving as an  important ethical anchor by providing and  enforcing a Code of Ethics all its members must  abide by. As transmitters of policy, associations  also ensure their members maintain and uphold  the highest legal and ethical standards by providing  them with the most up-to-date resources that  comply with the law.  

To bring value to your clients, you need to  understand what your value is. So, what is your  Value Proposition? What else would you add to this  article?  

Last modified: December 18, 2023 at 12:23 pm | Originally published: December 18, 2023 at 12:23 pm
Printed: June 16, 2024