Beliefs to challenge before choosing a real estate broker

As a real estate broker, the usual question I get from people is, “Do I really need a real estate broker to sell my property?” 

With the internet and the recent rise of AI, learning the basics of property selling is now easier than ever. However, selling real estate is a multifaceted process that goes beyond just technical knowledge. It requires strong interpersonal skills, abstract thinking, and creativity to navigate successfully. When you have a slight fever, home remedies might suffice. But for complicated illnesses, consulting a medical expert is best. Similarly, while learning property selling basics online is easy, the process is complex and best handled by a professional.

Since real estate broker licensure shifted from DTI to PRC in 2009, the Philippines has logged under 45,000 licensed brokers. The country has roughly 14.19 million hectares of alienable or saleable land—almost half of its total land area. This highlights a glaring shortage of real estate brokers in the country. Unlike in countries like the U.S., where most properties are handled exclusively by one agent, most Filipinos opt for FSBO (For Sale By Owner) transactions. This often leads to problems as sellers who are not well-versed in the property transfer process may make costly mistakes—ranging from incorrect tax computations and penalties to legal expenses and even lost commissions paid to devious agents who disappear mid-transaction.

I often answer the above question with a solid “Yes!” even if the seller has already found a buyer or has previous experience in selling because it is generally a safer way to ensure a hassle-free transaction. However, this becomes tricky when it comes to determining the best broker to choose, as most Filipinos resort to general beliefs and misconceptions about who they should work with.

I’d like to help you navigate this process with more care and caution to avoid inviting unscrupulous individuals into your life. Here are some alternative perspectives on finding your ideal real estate broker.

Belief #1: Having a PRC license does not automatically translate to talent.

Having a PRC license doesn’t guarantee service excellence because not all brokers are created equal. In fact, some regular salespersons or even colorums can do a better job than others. However, the RESA Law mandates that only licensed brokers handle negotiating and closing tasks to avoid legal repercussions. Therefore, it’s crucial to prioritize working with a PRC broker to ensure compliance and professionalism. 

Beyond just being licensed, also ensure that the broker you choose has substantial experience in selling properties. Ask for their resumes, sales history, and some personal references so you can validate if they are up for the job.

A good place to look is in large national real estate boards such as PAREB (Philippine Association of Real Estate Boards), REBAP (Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines), and NREA (National Real Estate Association), as members from these boards often uphold the similar business practices and ethical standards. Seek out a broker who comes highly recommended by people you trust to avoid falling into the trap of colorums and scammers.

Belief #2: A fancy-named brokerage is better than hiring an individual broker.

Sure, it helps to work with a well-known real estate brokerage. But there are also advantages to working with an individual broker with whom you can build a long-lasting relationship. In fact, sales in some of the most exclusive villages are often successfully conducted by individual brokers who have earned the trust of their community members. 

A good reason to engage with an individual go-to broker is loyalty. A loyal broker will always act in your best interest. Instead of pressuring you to buy to meet a quota, they will consider all angles before giving you the go-ahead to ensure a problem-free sale. They can also be more flexible in handling minor requests for their suki clients such as due diligence, property tax payments, and other errands that other service providers may charge a lot for.

Belief #3: Having many brokers represent one property is better than having an exclusive broker.

“The more entries, the more chances of winning.” Many Filipino property sellers believe this, and to some extent, it’s true. This is why working with brokerages housing many agents can seem attractive. However, having too many brokers handling the same listing can also be counterproductive. Some brokers may focus on other listings where they have no competition, resulting in less attention to your property. Additionally, poor or rushed pre-qualification of buyers due to competition can lead to conflicts, haphazard deals, and shady buyers.

In progressive countries like the U.S., property owners often interview several real estate agents before choosing one to handle their property exclusively. This method ensures the broker is more focused and motivated to market your property, as they are assured of recovering their marketing expenses once the property is sold. For non-exclusive brokers, those expenses could be wasted if another broker sells the property. Moreover, having one trusted broker manage the property streamlines viewings and communications, making the process more efficient and secure.

Belief #4: A broker’s only job is to market and sell real estate properties.

People often see real estate brokers as merely sales agents, not different from those who sell cars or insurance. But in reality, sales and marketing are just a third or even a fourth of the actual work that they do. Brokers are not just salespeople—they can also be quasi-lawyers, paralegals, accountants, business advisers, liaison officers, and sometimes even guidance counselors. In making minds meet, they negotiate and manage not only pricing and terms but also emotions. Broker soft skills, often missing from internet-learned information on real estate sales, ensure smooth transactions and address the emotional aspects of property sales, which are just as important as the technical details.

Furthermore, a real estate broker can enhance their expertise by taking master’s degrees or obtaining additional licenses as an appraiser, consultant, or environmental planner. They can also get accredited as insurance or housing loan agents, making them a comprehensive one-stop shop for all your real estate needs. These allow brokers to offer a wide range of services, ensuring that clients receive holistic and professional assistance in every aspect of their real estate transactions.

Belief #5: You must choose a broker with many past sales.

Every property seller wants to work with a broker who sells quickly and has a proven track record. Real estate sales is a numbers game, and you want someone who can maximize your property’s value. 

Some real estate brokers arrive at client meetings in spruced-up cars and dressed to the nines to hint at the wealth and success they’ve accumulated from real estate sales. They might even brag about their high-profile clients and property closings to drive the point home. Make sure to look beyond this facade and consider the values that they uphold. Does the broker use ethical methods to achieve quick sales? Do they communicate with kindness and compassion, without forcing you to decide against your will? Are they well-regarded and respected by their peers and past clients? Checking for any signs of criminal history or unfair practices is essential. A broker who balances their goals while protecting yours is rare, so it’s important to know them deeply before engaging. 

I hope I have enlightened you to have a more nuanced approach in choosing a real estate broker whom you can partner with and trust to protect your best interest as well as your loved ones. Most importantly, find someone who upholds key values such as wisdom, integrity, responsibility, compassion, and transparency so you can be assured of a smooth property sale.