A recent post in a real estate Facebook group reminded us why having a local real estate agent matters. As agents licensed in Texas, we are allowed to conduct real estate business anywhere in the state, but what happens when we leave our local market and help someone buy or sell real estate? Does it matter? The contract forms are the same throughout Texas, so technically if we put a house under contract here in San Antonio or over in El Paso, things should be the same…right? Why does it make a difference if you choose to use a local real estate agent or not? The story posted in Facebook was somewhat anecdotal (although not to the homeowners that chose the out of town agent), but it reminds us that we should always focus locally when it comes to real estate.
The story went something this: a local real estate agent showed a home in Shavano Park to their clients. The home was listed by an agent out of Austin. When the agent finished up with their buyers, they turned off the lights and locked up. After arriving home, the agent received a call about the sellers being locked out of their home. Turns out the sellers had left a door unlocked for their access, but the agent unknowingly (and smartly) locked all the doors so as not to leave any potential liability for a break-in. There was no indication from the showing service or inside the house that they should leave any particular door unlocked (we do not recommend this by the way). The listing agent, being in Austin couldn’t come down and help the owners unlock the home, so the agent who had just shown it thought they’d be helpful and run back to the house and open the house for them with the key from the lockbox. Of course, there is a lot of potential liability in this decision, but that’s a topic for another day.
Because the sellers chose an agent from another city, their agent was unable to help them. We unlock doors all the time for our clients. When your house is on the market, things happen and your agent is a great resource to help you – whether you’ve locked yourself out of the house or the electrician showed up early and you can’t get free from work. We do these things for our clients because we care about them and know that the stresses of having your home for sale can sometimes make you forget things like your keys when you leave the house. It happens. And we’re there to help whenever we can.
A Local Real Estate Agent Does More
But there’s more to having a local real estate agent than having someone who can unlock your doors for you in a pinch. There’s knowledge and experience. A familiarity with local customs and standards. An in depth knowledge and insight into your local real estate market. Dallas and San Antonio are two totally different markets. Agents work differently, the way homes are marketed differs, the actual houses themselves differ. Doesn’t it make sense to have someone with that knowledge and experience on your side? Sure, the contract forms are the same, but forms aren’t the only thing we do as real estate agents.
We know that your cousin who lives in Lubbock has his real estate license and you want to give them their first big chance at a sale, but do they know about the foundation issues common in San Antonio? Do they know that it’s quite common for sellers to pay for a home warranty? Can they tell you who the best title company and closer is for your needs? Can they recommend an electrician or plumber? Do they have access to the local MLS or are they just searching for homes on the internet (and potentially missing some of the available inventory)? A local real estate agent will help you with all the facets of the transaction, not just the documents that need signed.
Local does matter and whether it’s your lender or your real estate agent, you should always choose to work with someone that has the knowledge, experience, and local connections that can make your experience an excellent one.
image courtesy of Damian Gadal