People ask Eric many things. Sometimes it’s about real estate. Here are some that pop up…and his responses.

.:. .BUYERs’ curiosities. ..
     – Is buying in the Bay Area really that complicated? –
                                                    – How does buyer agency work? –
                        – Why do realtors get paid just to chauffeur us around? –
      – Do you also do loans? –

          .: . ..SELLERs’ curiosities. .. ..: . .
                                              – How fast can I sell my house? –
                            – How much can I get for my house? –
      – Why should I get inspections? The buyer will pay for his own anyway. –
                                    – Are those sneakers I see trekking across my carpet? –

                    . :. . .. .GENERAL curiosities.. . .. . : ..
                                – How have you liked dabbling in real estate? –
                    – What geographic areas do you specialize? –
    – Do you handle rentals? –
                  – Why did you settle in the East Bay? –

:: Is buying in the Bay Area really that complicated?

Not really. But there certainly are a lot of things you should know. You’ll do fine as long as you’re well-prepared. Regional practices—especially documentation—vary widely in transactions from San Carlos to San Francisco to Oakland. My buyers are the most prepared; I make sure. The process must be transparent, to let us think toward the right decisions.

:: How does buyer agency work?

Like sellers who hire a listing agent, buyers retain their own agent but with a key difference: it’s free. The seller pays the entire commission, which is split between the listing brokerage and “selling” brokerage—the firm representing the buyer. It is the listing and selling agents’ duty to work in the best interests of their respective clients. When buyers enter into a dual agency (e.g., chancing upon the perfect home during an open house, then making an offer through its listing agent) problems may arise if the dual agent were unable to navigate conflicts of interest ethically. Dual agency is the exception in our market. Most buyers take the time to find a reliable realtor and agree on an exclusive working relationship.

:: Why do realtors get paid just to chauffeur us around?

Showing property is the public’s biggest glimpse into our trade. Discount brokers, whose admen came up with that “chauffeur” line, probably would like you to believe that’s all we full-service agents do. To me, the househunting stage is mere third of the process. The bulk of my value lies in writing & ratifying the offer(s), performing associated due diligence, and ensuring a smooth escrow—further due diligence, renegotiations with the seller, coordinating with the lender, etc. It’s all about applying a skill set forged through years of diverse transactions and markets. Some of the work can be rather behind-the-scenes. You may not see it, but you’ll feel the professionalism.

:: Do you also do loans?

Nope. Diligent servicing of loans demands focus. It’s better that I focus on my realtor responsibilities and let a trusted lender focus on the financing.

:: How fast can I sell my house?

Only a while ago pending sales came quickly. One open house, one broker tour…then receive offers—often multiple ones. Nowadays, there are no guarantees. But that doesn’t prevent you, the seller, from fanning the good karma. Do all the right things possible to put your home in the best position to sell quicker than the competition. The PRICE: that’s the top determinant most agents identify. While very true, I think that smart marketing—ask me more about this one—has become ever essential in helping sellers stay competitive.

:: How much can I get for my house?

I crank out CMA’s to evaluate recent sales whenever I write offers with my buyers. Never has a buyer’s first inclination been, “Let’s pay nine hundred,” when comparable neighboring properties had sold for less. The market determines the price. Understandably, sellers’ emotional and financial investments in their homes often color their own appraisals. But in our current real estate environment, failure to reconcile seller expectations with market price results only in stale listings. Thinking like a buyer is the best approach to help sellers sell strategically.

:: Why should I get inspections? The buyer will pay for his own anyway.

Don’t assume the buyer will issue inspections during escrow. Buyers don’t always fully exercise their right to inspect. And when they don’t it’s often easier for them to play the Blame Game on sellers when they discover problems post move-in. Importantly, having inspection reports on hand pre-escrow—while buyers are writing their offers—minimizes the likelihood of renegotiating large items during escrow. Less complications, less delays.

:: Are those sneakers I see trekking across my carpet?

Shoeless feet slip. Hardwood floors are especially killer, literally. (Insider tip: those paper wraparound booties often present at open houses aren’t as failsafe as advertised.) I’ve also seen potential buyers do a 180 when confronted at the door with the shoes-off policy. Let the feet keep the shoes. You’ll transfer the privilege of cleaning those carpets to a new owner soon enough.

:: How have you liked dabbling in real estate?

“Dabbling” doesn’t describe my relationship with real estate. This is a full-time commitment.

:: What geographic areas do you specialize?

Perhaps “triangular” best explains my geographic experience. I kicked off my real estate career in the Peninsula with RE/MAX Today, where I practiced for six years (while concurrently living in San Francisco, then Oakland). During that time, I helped clients transition between the City and the Peninsula. Having relocated to Alain Pinel’s Montclair office, I’m committed to reestablishing a thriving practice serving the East Bay community. I’m still a member of SF’s realtor board and take care of old—and new—clients on the Peninsula. I feel rather blessed to know all three markets. Nowadays, there’s a lot of relocating within the triangle: retirees moving into SF high-rises, SF renters buying first homes in Oakland’s Lower Hills or moving closer to Silicon Valley, and such.

:: Do you handle rentals?

I used to do a lot of residential leaseholds for landlords and tenants. Not so much anymore. Though, I’m happy to help landlords and their referrals with rentals issues.

:: Why did you settle in the East Bay?

A personal history of community organizing in Oakland has rooted me here. I’m thrilled whenever people say they’re thinking about moving to the area. I feel like an ambassador promoting the people & places of the East Bay; that’s the most gratifying part of my job.