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5 Keys in Selecting a Real Estate Pro

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Selecting a real estate professional with whom to work in either selling your property or buying a home—or both—is going to involve a search for somebody who knows the market, who knows the art of negotiation, and who is dedicated to getting to know you. Of course, each buyer and seller will have individual needs, but there are also some basic tenets that almost everyone will consider.

Kevin Leatherman, owner/broker of Leatherman Homes, shares insights and an approach developed over more than three decades working in Long Island real estate with people who looking for experts who knows much about the process as they do about properties.

Kevin leatherman

Kevin LeathermanCourtesy Kevin Leatherman

“I’m consultative,” Leatherman says. “I want to do clean business, honest business, with people who want to deal with somebody who’s an expert….I will educate the consumer on how commissions work ,why you have to pay the buyer’s agent something that’s reasonable and rational, where it makes business sense. And I kind of explain to them the process.”

“If somebody pulls me in for a consultation, whether it’s on a buy side or a sell side, even if they don’t engage my services, I always try to leave them off at a better place,” Letterman says. “I’ll always try to make sure that, number one, our time together is spent well–whether it’s a phone call or in person—and that I leave them in a place where they’re more educated.

“So even if you have to use your sister-in-law,” he adds with a smile, “then at least if you’re going with this part-time relative, fine, but at least I’m going to put you in a better place.

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“I used to have a mortgage guy who would send me an email or a text and say ‘NG,’” Leatherman recounts of times working with buyers with credit problems and getting that message about financing options. Instead of simply accepting the two letters as the last word, however, he would take another approach.

“I need a little background,” he says. “Is the problem his credit, is the problem he’s a 1099 and writes off too many expenses—share with me, without getting too personal, how can I help the customer or client to be prepared. If you’re NG, are you in the trash can for life? You’ll never be able to buy any sort of housing in your entire life? If you’re 25 years old, does that mean you’re NG for life?

“So what I like to do is, I try to find out what the issue is, possibly send them to credit repair, possibly advise them,” he continues. “Even if it takes them six months or five years, I need to do the responsible thing and say to the consumer, here’s the direction you need to go. Whether you come back to me or you deal with the next agent in your future, you will be in a better position.”

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“Because that’s what a responsible professional should do,” he says. “If it’s not the right time for you, we should educate you to get you prepared to do the right things so that you areprepared at some point in your future. And I feel very strongly about that. Why would you not? First, if we’ve already had the consultation, we’ve already connected, so why don’t we finish the conversation? It doesn’t make sense to me to, I’m not supposed to ghost you if the mortgage says you’re NG. What business sense does that make? So when people do that, I’m like, you can’t treat people that way. That’s not the way to do business.”

“People remember how you treat them,” Leatherman says. “That’s one of the things I’ve learned in this business. When I’m involved and dealing with people, that’s how I roll.”

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