Not All Realtors® Are Created Equal
There are over 16,000 member Realtors® in Northern Virginia between the three associations; the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR), the Realtor Association of Prince William (PWAR), and the Dulles Area Association of Realtors (DAAR). The largest association being NVAR with over 12,500 members and each is part of the overarching National Association of Realtors®. Buyers and sellers should know the only common denominators shared among practicing agents in Northern Virginia is they have passed an exam to become licensed in the state, they have activated their license with a supervising broker, and they have joined one of the three Realtor® associations in Northern Virginia to be recognized as a member. That’s where the similarities and standards generally end.
Realtors® (referred to as agents in the rest of this article) can vary meaningfully in knowledge, expertise, work-plan, and ability. Varying capabilities mean buyers and sellers can receive a completely different level of service from agent to agent. Likewise, this can also mean consumer satisfaction with their agent can vary widely. This is not unlike any other product or service offered to consumers where there are many choices or perceived substitutes. There are clear and present differences in quality, value and consumer experience when it comes to real estate agents.
Buyers and sellers engage in the sale or purchase of a home very infrequently, usually only four to five times in their lifetime. The decision ranks among the biggest decisions in life like choosing a college, a career, a spouse, or the town in which to work and raise a family. A real estate transaction can be filled with emotion and is shaped with challenges given all the complexities and participants. With this in mind, it seems important to hire the most skilled agent you can find to collaborate with you during the process. In my experience, these are the characteristics of exceptional, highly effective agents. I hope this helps you during the evaluation of who to hire to become your next real estate agent.
1. Thorough Understanding of a Client’s Desired Outcome
Agents are in the relationship business and providing the right service starts and finishes with thoroughly understanding a client’s needs and desired outcome. An agent can’t deliver what they don’t know. For a seller, it’s more than just selling the home at top dollar and in the shortest time frame. That’s obvious. What’s not so obvious is understanding the life developments that have occurred bringing a seller to the important decision to move and part with their home. The same is true of buyers and understanding their motivation to purchase a home, or an investor who has a completely different set of objectives. Exceptional agents view a client’s desired outcome as their guiding principle until the overall objective is achieved.
2. Effective Communication & Being Readily Available
An exceptional agent is an effective, open and honest communicator. Much of being an effective communicator involves listening to the client and adapting to their changing needs. The agent should be full-time, available and responsive to the client when needed. Exceptional agents are masters of understanding the expectations of their client and all transaction participants. They ensure expectations are aligned with the overall objectives.
3. Going Beyond Full-Service & Doing the Extraordinary
Exceptional agents go beyond full-service and deliver beyond client expectations. They have strategies, methods and a work-plan that elevate performance and client experience. Exceptional agents perform differently. They are second-level thinkers and do the extraordinary. Exceptional agents will out work their competition. They place a premium on self-improvement, training and regularly lean forward to become an even better performing agent and business owner.
4. Understanding of Market, Sub-Market & Pricing
Exceptional agents have a complete and thorough understanding of the overall market and how it’s moving. They have a focused knowledge of the particular sub-market where a seller’s home is located, or where a buyer desires to purchase. Exceptional agents have strong analytical skills, a command of data collection, statistics, and multiple valuation techniques to empower a client. They are the conduit of information that enables a client to make intelligent and informed decisions. Their level of knowledge and expertise is generally unmatched by other agents.
5. A Sixth Sense and Skilled Negotiator
Buying and selling a home, or investment property is a serious financial decision and exceptional agents are in the business of protecting a client’s financial interests. They have the skill and expertise to extract the most value from the negotiations for a client’s benefit. Exceptional agents constantly seek out advantage and counter-party weakness to leverage for their client’s benefit. While winning for their client is a truth, it doesn’t mean at all costs and at the detriment of the transaction. They possess an extraordinary ability to sense an approaching transaction issue and address it before it fully develops into a problem. Exceptional agents are resourceful, effective problem-solvers, risk managers and always stand at the ready to find and implement win-win propositions to benefit their client and the transaction.
6. Thorough Understanding of Contracts & Closing Process
Real Estate is a business of contracts. Contracts are serious, complex, legal documents. Exceptional agents have a thorough knowledge of the contracts and how to write them in order to protect a client’s best interests, money and possible legal complications. They understand complex legal issues and the closing process. They are task masters with attention to detail and have systems in place to completely own and manage the contract and closing process.
7. Know the Importance of Collaboration
Exceptional agents are strong collaborators with their client and all transaction participants. Working in a collaborative manner with a client to achieve their desired outcome go hand in hand. However, an agent represents the client which means the collaboration must extend to all transaction participants to achieve the overall objectives on behalf of the client. Exceptional agents are unrelenting. They don’t stop until the client’s objectives are reached.
Please contact me if you need an agent to do the hard work to help you achieve your desired outcome!
“It is with much enthusiasm that we share with you our thoughts about Tim Trainum. He his the most knowledgeable and informed real estate agent with whom we have ever dealt. Over the last 45 years we have bought and sold a combination of 26 homes, condos, and multi-family apartment buildings in Fairfax, Arlington and other parts of the country. Tim is without a doubt the complete package. He did everything we asked him to do. He gave us great information and advice and kept us informed as to his progress day by day. We highly recommend him.” – Dean and Mary Simonds
I’m happy to be known as the “Always Be Helping” Northern Virginia Realtor®. I have an unyielding commitment to being an open and honest advocate for my clients, ensuring they reach their desired outcome as efficiently and professionally as possible.
I am a full-time, licensed Realtor® who has established deep roots and knows the region. I was born and raised in the Northern Virginia area, graduating from Chantilly High School and then James Madison University with degrees in Economics and Finance. I live in Fairfax with my wife Liz and our seven year old son Robby. I’m a homeowner myself and understand the important decisions my clients face when they’re buying or selling a home. In addition, I’m an owner of investment property, including a multi-family apartment building. I have a penchant for helping people having taught adult education courses in investing and personal finance, and helped numerous clients, friends and colleagues in creating a path to wealth creation. I also serve as the trustee for a private charitable memorial fund.
I have been working in the real estate industry helping clients for over 25 years. As a Listing Agent, the value I create for my sellers is to help them elevate and showcase home condition. I use multiple valuation techniques to pinpoint market value for my sellers. I use cutting-edge marketing strategies to promote widespread buyer awareness and produce the maximum selling price in the fewest days possible, while protecting my seller’s best interests throughout the complete selling and settlement process. As a Buyer’s Agent, I help my buyers locate the home that changes their life. I guide my buyers in structuring the most compelling offer that can win seller acceptance, while retaining the most value and equity possible for buyer benefit and in a manner that protects their best interests throughout the complete buying and settlement process. I have worked with clients in the purchase of investment property, helping them to prospect property as well as evaluate all the financial metrics important to making the investment. My real estate experience includes working in the development, construction and operation of real estate infrastructure projects, closing over $500 million, as well as supporting several commercial real estate clients in the pursuit of reaching their objectives. My experience spans across consulting with clients on remodeling and home improvement projects to negotiating land purchase agreements and easements, to negotiating residential and commercial leases. There are few areas of real estate that I haven’t touched and it continually has been with an “Always Be Helping” and superior customer service mind-set.