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Don’t Trust Real Estate Agents

Posted by Johnine Larsen on January 25, 2016
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Don’t trust real estate agents.

Don’t trust the same promises you’ve heard a thousand times.

Don’t close your eyes and pick a real estate agent’s name at random—because not all agents are on your side.


Some agents just want to move properties. They encourage the quick buy or the quick sell. “It’s great! Take it!” “I know you don’t love it, but you can’t trust the market.” “Grab this while you can.” “Go, go, go!”

It works great for them. Their commission doesn’t change much, and they can close your deal and move right on to the next one. It’s like speed dating—but with your money and your home.

Freakonomics made a video about this type of real estate agent. It’s sobering. It’s disturbing. And to be honest, it makes me mad.

Here’s what a good real estate agent SHOULD do:

1) Guide you through the buying/selling process

Whenever you have a question, she should give you a straight answer. She should teach you all about the real estate market if you want to learn, and you should know exactly why she’s doing all the things she does.


2) Know your priorities

Your agent should be finding homes that work best for your specific situation—not just the homes that are convenient for him.


3) Look out for your investment potential

When you buy a house, it’s an investment. It’s likely the biggest investment you’ll ever make, so your real estate agent should be looking for something that she knows you can sell 10, 20, or even 30 years later and come out well ahead. This type of thing doesn’t do anything for agent herself (there’s no extra commission for picking a house with long-term value), but it’s a good agent’s responsibility to her clients.


4) Offer emotional support

Buying or selling a home is a turbulent, emotional process. A real estate agent should be your guide through the experience, and she should make the process as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.


5) Be a resource long after everyone signs the closing paperwork

Your interactions with a real estate agent should be a relationship, and not a relationship in terms of months—I mean in terms of years. If you have questions about remodeling four years down the road, or if you decide to relocate, or if even if you want some recommendations for what color to paint that living room wall, you should be able to call your agent—and those calls should feel like catching up with an old friend. That’s how we feel about them, anyway.


So how do you find a GOOD real estate agent? One who’s actually on your side and not simply out to make money?

1) Check the testimonials

You’ll find these on Yelp, Zillow, or personal websites. Don’t just look for positive reviews—look for why they’re positive. Did the agent go the extra mile? How was the emotional experience of working with her? Did she go out of her way to understand her client’s best interests? Did the client feel involved and informed?


2) Talk to past clients

This one is harder, but if you heard about the agent through a friend, ask that friend about his experience of working with the agent. Those personal stories can reveal everything.


3) Get to know her

If you look for a real estate agent the same way you’d look for a cable provider or a cell phone provider… you’re likely to end up with the human version of Comcast or Verizon. But if you take the time to know an agent personally—approaching it as a long-term relationship—you’re much more likely to find someone you can trust. Someone who cares about you.


RealEstateGals_banner1We’re on your side.

We aren’t in this business to push houses and get rich quick. We believe that everyone has a right to home ownership, and we want all of our clients to find the best living situation possible. If you ask us to choose between money and people, we’ll always choose people. Every. Single. Day. It might keep us from moving as many properties as we could, but you know what? That’s okay. We’re in this to build a community, one client at a time.

Just ask John and Kelly, or Keela, or Kevin, or any of our other clients.

Or read about the time Johnine took a road trip all way out to Port Townsend to give some guidance to a client’s friend, or the time we talked a client out of buying a house, or the time we fronted the money for a client’s remodel.

Or better yet? Give us a call. We’re always happy to talk about doing what we love.

  • Real Estate Gals
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    Virginia Bunker
    Virginia Bunker
    14:08 14 Feb 20
    Johnine Larsen and her team are absolutely fabulous. I've bought and sold many properties over the years, and Real Estate Gals surpassed all of my previous experiences with agents. Johnine designed the perfect selling strategy. She then handled every detail leading up to the day we listed, including cleaning, yard work, repairs, staging and more! Johnine has a heart of gold, and I can't say enough great things about my experience. Thank you!
    linda wright
    linda wright
    00:45 04 Dec 19
    I have bought and sold many homes in my forty plus years of being a Seattleite and I couldn't be more pleased with the way Johnine Larsen and her team handled the sale of my previous home. I moved into my new place and they took it from there. Contacted the right people to do the minor repairs at a reasonable cost, staged the home, and had professional photos done within a few weeks. The sale went smoothly as well. I am so thankful that I found her.
    Paddy Lazar
    Paddy Lazar
    23:42 03 Dec 19
    I was lucky enough to work with Johnine and her very competent team to sell my home. I have to tell you how easy the entire process was. On her wise suggestion I had my home inspected, as there actually were a number of maintenance items that came up in that inspection and she even arranged to have all of the repairs completed in a very short time. The only thing I had to do was to let the repair folks in. Then, to my surprise, Johnine , had all the windows and the whole house cleaned before listing it. She then had the house beautifully staged and had the yard cleaned up with even a little landscaping thrown in. The house sold within the week for OVER full price! Everyone I dealt with was always kind, helpful and professional, their communication was exemplary all through the process. I’ve decided to rent for a while but you can be assured that it will be Johnine and her team that I will go back to when ready to purchase a new house. I have sung her praises to all that I know.
    soumak ghosh
    soumak ghosh
    00:00 14 Nov 19
    They were representing the seller and I was the buyer. Very limited communication from the agents. Waited days for a response for any email/text. Would eventually get a response after multiple follow ups. Almost cost us the deal. [Update] I have seen all the text/conversations of my agent with your agency. Regarding the oil tank decommissioning, according to the contract, the tank was to be decommissioned 5 days before closing. When asked about so 5 days before closing ( which I have seen the text/email conversations of), you gave my agent very little to no information about it and even said it was on schedule. It was only after my agent called the oil decommissioning company that we got know that it was not even scheduled to decommission it 2 day before closing. Any buyer who was not as intent on buying the property could have walked away due to breach of contract. We got the final documentation 2 hours before the end of closing. It was only after I wrote the review that your agents became responsive. P.S. If you find my review unjust I’m sure it would be overshadowed by stellar reviews from future customers.
    Sarah Donaldson
    Sarah Donaldson
    18:44 18 Jul 19
    Darcie was such a joy to work with. She felt like family during the sale of our house and the search for our new home. We may have found our forever home, but if we ever need a Realtor in future, Darcie from Real Estate Gals will be our first call.
    Brian Heagler
    Brian Heagler
    16:55 02 Jun 19
    I have worked with Johnine and her team for 19 years and have always received personal, knowledgeable and professional service and attention! There is never and pressure and they will guide you away from a property when appropriate, which is always appreciated when a market is hot and the tendency is to move quickly. I trust them and have never been let down!
    Anne Slater
    Anne Slater
    18:03 25 May 19
    Johnine Larsen is fabulous! She listened and came up with ways we could get what we wanted in a house and stay within our limited budget. When we found the house we wanted, she moved super fast to get the house inspected and implemented creative ideas to make our offer appealing. And out of 13 offers, we were selected and got our house. I recommend her to anyone buying a home.
    Amy Burdick
    Amy Burdick
    19:13 24 May 19
    Real Estate Gals made sure we found our perfect house! Then, when we were up against other bidders, Johnine worked tirelessly to ensure we were tops! Her extensive real estate experience combined with exceptional character and integrity provided peace of mind throughout the process. She also made sure we received the right value as a seller and got the transaction done quickly and efficiently. Simply stated: there is nobody better to help you find your dream home.
    Bill Hollman
    Bill Hollman
    22:21 19 May 19
    I'd give Real Estate Gals 6 stars if I could. We have used them multiple times, both in selling and buying homes in Seattle and the surrounding area. I can't say enough about the professionalism, knowledge, and patience they bring to the task of buying a new home, or selling your current residence. And they know the Seattle area so well, they'll offer valuable insights into the pros and cons of any location you may be to considering. Look no further, call Johnine at Real Estate Gals. You will be glad you did!
    Beth Guerra
    Beth Guerra
    01:14 18 May 19
    Johnine was a breath of fresh air in the real estate market. She listened intently to our wishes and goals, and was tireless in her search for our perfect house. She is well versed in both Seattle and the surrounding areas. She made sure all the details were taken care of after the inspection, and made the closing process seamless. She even gifted us with a housewarming present. Nearly 7 years later, we still receive holiday cards and well wishes. I highly recommend Real Estate Gals and will look no further in the future.
    Aidan Key
    Aidan Key
    15:44 17 May 19
    Johnine and the Real Estate Gals brilliantly took us through the home buying process two different times. Their willingness to educate (I was new), hear our home hopes, and support us through the process are a few of the reasons that I highly recommend this team. Speaking of a team, I love their collaborative business model - it meant that we--the home buyers--always had a returned phone call and an ability to look at a house on OUR schedule. Truly felt like they place the customer first!
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