Let’s start with the basics; the definition of full-service. Webster defines it as offering all the necessary or expected services. Another explanation is a business that offers the full range of services for their type of business.
Most people have a clear understanding of full-service. I can remember when I was younger, we would pull up to a gas station and the nice man would ask you which gas you wanted, then proceed to clean your windows, check your oil and check your tire pressure. You have to go to states like Oregon to still get that level of full-service service anymore. Even at a young age, I knew that was so nice of that man to take such good care of us like that.
Now when it comes to real estate, the definition becomes a bit cloudy. There are many real estate firms that boast they are “full-service”. When it comes to defining full service real estate, it’s actually up to the consumer to decide what is really important to them.
Let’s look at some examples. One name that is definitely synonymous with real estate is the name Trump. Their Trump International Realty site explains they “are the premier luxury full-service brokerage in New York City.” There are other companies like, Hawthorne Properties in Massachusetts, that give a great explanation of what full-service real estate is and is not. (click the link for details)
The key factor is the framework of your position as the consumer. The real estate community has done an exceptional job of “teaching” the consumer what to expect from a real estate agent. As a general rule, the consumer has come to expect that the real estate agent has the knowledge of handling the real estate transaction, usually in a specific area or neighborhood. You may even expect them to refer you to outside vendors – lenders, escrow or closing attorney (dependent on location) and title – but can you even trust that anymore as many brokerage firms “require” you to use their “in house” lender, escrow, title, etc. Do you even know that it is your decision to decide on whom to use for those services? Hence the reason I used the term “cloudy” previously when describing full-service real estate. The fundamental word is service. Do you, as a consumer, expect a certain level of service when it comes to your real estate transactions or have you given up?
Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword for those Brokers who go the extra mile in representing their clients. For us at Monarch, being in luxury real estate requires a level of excellence that goes beyond the clients expectations. That’s a choice that we make. So, of course, we are a bit biased when it comes to our definition of full-service real estate. We pride ourselves on not only handling the details of the transaction, which we’re not constrained by location, but also making sure our clients’ lifestyle needs are taken care of via our concierge services. Also, our estate management division gives our clients that extra advantage – they assess the property before you purchase; allowing the client to have full-knowledge of the true cost of the home. Upon execution of the transaction, the concierge and estate management services are continued – not only enhancing the clients’ lifestyle but ensuring a return on the investment.
We should all have that unexpected joy, as I did as a child, watching the gas station attendant make sure all our cars needs were taken care of and most of the time, you got the added bonus of a smile or a nice conversation. Real estate is and will always be a people business. No amount of technology will replace the human element necessary for a real estate transaction. When you say you are a full-service real estate company, that element of human touch will ultimately be the determining factor in the clients’ experience. Fact: a real estate transaction is as much about the contract is it is about the experience. As the consumer, you get to decide what is acceptable and what it not from the agent you choose to work with.
The saying, “you don’t know, what you don’t know,” holds true in this example. So, do yourself a favor and ask the tough questions. Don’t accept status quo – even if the agent or firm boast big numbers. Regardless of volume, service comes from the heart.