Know your agent

Deborah Elliott-Shultz really enjoys listener’s phone calls. This last week, one in particular stood out because it was a super long conversation with a gentleman who wanted to know what to ask when hiring prospective realtors. She jokingly asked if she’s included as one of the three. He replied, “Well, of course.”


There are some important questions to ask realtors and Deborah always recommends that you interview at least three. Before we get to those questions, it’s important to know first: What is the difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent?


Deborah addresses this briefly because a few past shows have gone through this question. A realtor and a real estate agent both go and study to pass the state exam. Once you have passed that exam, now you are a licensed real estate agent. In the state of Colorado you are not, however, a realtor. What is a realtor? That’s when a real estate agent gains admission to the National Association of Realtors. How does a real estate agent  become a realtor? They go to their local Association. In our area, that’s the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors (PPAR). PPAR regulates our area realtors. How do they regulate this? Well, they’re a support system for other realtors, they have the MLS and a whole slew of things for realtors in the Colorado Springs area. They also have an office where they get complaints and praises about realtors. Realtors also agree to abide by a code of ethics and if you go here you can find those code of ethics. A real estate agent is not a realtor so they don’t have a code of ethics they have to abide by. Yes, all real estate agents and realtors must obey the state laws and federal laws. But realtors are such because they belong to a local and National Association of Realtors. As such, they pay fees and dues, which are not inexpensive, as well as take part in continuing education.


Deborah, as a realtor, has taken a ton of classes and passed certain tests to get her designations. Some people look at these as degrees in real estate. You can look at that way if you want to, but really, the letters behind a realtors name show the extra knowledge these classes have given them to make them a better realtor for you. You can even search for a realtor based on their designations so you can find one that’s qualified to help you with your particular situation.


Questions to ask:

1) Are you a realtor or a real estate agent?

Now knowing the difference, this is a great way to start the conversation because you’ll want to have a realtor.


2) How long have you been a realtor?

Did you know that we now have about 4000 agents in Colorado Springs area? Isn’t that ridiculous? People come on board when the market is good, but when the market starts to show difficulty, many of those people don’t make it through. Deborah has survived the ups and downs of real estate now for close to 16 years! And we’ve had some ups and downs! So, you want to ask the prospective realtor and again remember, you want to hire a realtor, not just a real estate agent.


3) Are you full time or part time?

There’s nothing more aggravating to have a listing, the buyer’s agent writes an offer and a my cellar accepts it, then not be able to get in touch with that other agent to make sure dates and deadlines are met or get questions answered. With full time realtors, this is their only job. They take it seriously and they’re going to call you back. It’s very difficult to work with part time real estate agents or realtors because you can’t reach them.


4) What are their fees? How much do they charge? What do you, the buyer or seller, get for those fees?

This is super important. Typically, here in Colorado Springs it’s 6% total to list your home. 3% of that goes to the listing agent and  3% goes to the buyer’s agent. Then you, also, have on top of that what is called an administration fee. The average right now is around $500. Again, this is typical. Nothing is set in stone when it comes to fees with real estate real estate commission. Colorado does not require how much real estate agents and realtors charge at certain percentages or a certain dollar amount. It’s up to the realtor because they’re in business for themselves.


At City of CS Real Estate and Lifestyle, we charge a flat listing fee of $3,500 on houses up to $600,000. For homes over $600,000 we charge 1%. Why is that? Because typically a $600,000+ home is going to be on the market for a longer period of time which causes us to have more advertising dollars to spend advertise your home. We have never ever charged administration fees. We include that with our flat listing fee of $3,500 or again if it’s 600,000 and above 1%. We also have a professional photographer,  place your listing in the Colorado Springs MLS, Pikes Peak Association realtors MLS, and the Denver MLS. You get an electronic lockbox, an automated feedback system (which is important because you want feedback on your listing), staging ideas, and we also offer free roof inspection from Drury Brothers Roofing.


5) Do your personalities click?

It’s important to write down the differences between realtors, as well as whether your personalities clicked because you’ll be working with them to purchase this large investment. You want to be able to have a really great relationship and have really good communication. That’s what’s very, very important.


6) Whether you’re looking for a buyer’s agent or a listing agent, how long have they been a realtor? How long have they been a realtor in this area?

Real estate varies from region to region. Deborah has been to conferences and lived in other areas, and can personally attest that real estate is very different South Carolina, Texas, North Carolina, Kansas and Florida. She can go down the list because wherever she travels, she meets realtors and talks to them. It’s different here. Our demographics are different here. So, yes, the realtor might have all these X amount of years they were somewhere else. But it doesn’t mean that they know this area. And that’s what’s really important! Knowing the area.


7) How do you get ahold of your realtor when something comes up? (Such as illness, family emergencies, etc)

Things can happen quickly in real estate and you need somebody who’s going to be a little flexible. For example, when Deborah is not available, Sheila’s available and vice versa. So you want to be able to have somebody who has a back up plan.


8) How many clients have they had?  What tools do they use to find a home for you?

At City of CS Real Estate and Lifestyle, they’ll ask you what your criteria is, then build you a portal to see homes that match that criteria. Most realtors should be doing this because it’s available through PPAR Association’s MLS system. This portal will automatically email you every listing that becomes available, and it’s real time information. So, if you find a house and it goes under contract the same day it’s listed, it will show up immediately that it’s under contract in the system. Which also means, when you see a home that’s available and you think in your really love it and you really want to go see it, jump on it! Tell your realtor you want to see it as soon as possible. If they can’t, ask if they have somebody else who can. Homes are still hot in our area. While prices have gone down a little bit because it’s wintertime, the last couple years have still been pretty hot during the wintertime. And the market is starting to pick up again.


These questions can help you find the right realtor for you. And in today’s show, Deborah Elliott-Shultz includes good things to keep in mind, helpful things to think through, and what to watch for. This is one of those shows you’ll want to listen to again. And as mentioned before, Deborah enjoys atlking with listeners. If you ahve a real estate question, or a question about today’s subject, please call at (719) 641-1357. Also, if you would like to know about some vetted businesses that City of CS Real Estate and Lifestyle recommends, please visit the website at or call Deborah at (719) 641-1357.


Are you interested in finding out about Deborah Elliott-Shultz and City of CS Real Estate and Lifestyle’s flat listing fee of $3500*? Call (719) 641-1357. And, have you heard about our buyer’s rebate? That’s right! We give back 1/3 of our commission to help you with your closing costs or to buy new appliances which will be reflected on the settlement statement, and you’ll get it at closing along with a W-9.


If you have any real estate questions, or to find out how City of CS Real Estate and Lifestyle can help make your real estate experience more affordable, call Deborah Elliott-Shultz at (719) 641-1357.


*If listed for under $600,000 and does not include the buyer’s agent fee.

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