I've Got Someone for That: 5 Contacts Every Real Estate Agent Needs

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When it comes to introducing your real estate clients to one of the many professional service providers who are often necessary during the homebuying or selling process, San Antonio-based broker associate Liz Montoya advises, “Give your clients some good options, but let them choose the professionals they use.”

Here are five types of professionals every agent should have in their back pocket, along with tips that will set your clients up for success with them.

1. Maintenance and repair professionals

If you haven’t already developed your network of professionals for various home repairs and improvement projects—think roofers, plumbers, landscapers or contractors—try getting the names of reliable specialists from your experienced colleagues.

“If your firm has a property management office, the people there should have established relationships with excellent contacts,” Montoya says.

If not, try asking other people you know who may have dealt with the type of repair or issue for which you’re seeking help.

2. Inspectors

For Montoya, several factors influence the choice of an inspector.

“Quick turnaround is essential since you typically have only 10 calendar days in the option period,” she says.

Look for an inspector who’s available within a day or two and can deliver the written report the evening of the inspection or the next day.

“Communication with the inspector is important during the negotiation period,” Montoya adds.

Choose someone with a reputation for explaining inspection details, so buyers can make the most informed decision—especially if they can’t meet the inspector at the property.

Depending on your region, you may also want an inspector with a specialization. In Montoya’s area of South Texas, for example, buyers often want to add a termite inspection.

3. Mortgage service providers

As far as mortgage providers go, Montoya says, “I’ll recommend some with whom my clients have had great success.”

In her view, responsiveness on the lender’s side is vital.

“The best lenders make themselves accessible evenings and weekends when most buyers are off work and have the time to ask questions,” Montoya says.

Mortgage professionals should be prompt to respond to buyer emails and phone calls and provide regular updates on the application process.

Montoya also has a catch-all rule she never violates when it comes to mortgage partners: One strike and you’re out.

“My clients depend on me to give them solid referrals for these professionals. If someone does less than a great job, I’ll never call them back,” she says. “That way, I keep the process moving—and my clients happy.”

Partner with BB&T Home Mortgage and get your homebuying clients shopping for a new home in no time—they can submit their financial information for review in 15 minutes or less on BBT.com and go from application to ready-to-close in 30 days or less for some programs.

4. Photographers

Most (but not all) real estate agents choose to absorb the cost of having a professional photograph the homes they are selling.

“If I’m paying, I choose [the photographer],” Montoya says.

Whether you choose to pay for this service out of pocket or not, she says, finding a good photographer is simple. “Look at photos and choose someone who does the work you like,” she says.

5. Stagers

Sellers may try to declutter and stage their home on their own at first, but if that’s too much for them, you’ll want to refer them to a professional stager.

To find good options, Montoya keeps notes of the homes that have impressed her.

“Stagers typically leave their contact info on cards or signs,” she says. “If they’re good, I’ll call them the next time I need this service for a client.”

Related: 5 Steps to Staging Your Home Like a Pro

If you don’t have reliable contacts for some of the professionals your clients are likely to need during their homebuying or selling journey, use the tips above to get connected with the right ones. Your clients will thank you.

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