Q:  Why do I need a real estate broker?  

A:   Almost everyone interacts with real estate, whether at home, the office, or places we stay or shop. It's easy to think we know everything about it.  But real estate transactions are highly technical and legal matters governed by a number of federal and state laws and community standards, and there are many things to investigate.  As with any large investment, wouldn't it be a good idea to have an experienced professional advising you along the way?  Even if you know what you are doing, the transaction process can be very time-consuming.  It is our job and our business  We'll take care of it so that you can stay focused on your business.

Q:  What is the difference between a Realtor and a real estate licensee?

A:  A real estate licensee is a person who has achieved a minimum level of competency within the real estate brokerage profession and is licensed by the State of Florida to perform real estate services.  All licensees are required to comply with Florida and federal law.  A Realtor is much more.  In addition to complying with the law, as Realtors, we are members of associations with strict ethical rules on local, state and national levels.  Realtors voluntarily agree to abide by those ethical rules which include making certain disclosures to you, conducting ourselves in a professional manner, and working with our clients under written agreements so that there are no misunderstandings.  Realtors have access to many powerful analytical tools as well.  These tools are not inexpensive, but they're worth it and significantly enhance the level of service to real estate clients.

Q:  I'm a seller.  Can't I just sell my property by myself?

A:  Certainly you can, but should you?  The first question is whether you have sufficient knowledge to navigate today's transactions without falling into a legal pothole.  As mentioned, real estate transactions are highly technical and legal and fraught with many requirements that can arise depending on the facts and circumstances of each transaction.  The second question is whether you have sufficient knowledge and market visibility to properly price and position your property and present it to potential buyers on a regular basis.  Third, are you aware of market forces that might affect your property?  Fourth, are you prepared to show the property, draft agreements, attend inspections, get all necessary information to all relevant stakeholders on time, answer questions and negotiate with prospects?  Finally, do your real estate forms contain the necessary language and disclosures to protect yourself?  If you are on top of these things, that's great!  If you would like our help, just call, and we'll take care of it.

Q:  I'm a buyer.  I can just work with the agent who has the property listed, right?

A:  Long answer but important.  You can work with the listing agent, of course, but they don't have your back.  Florida law presumes that every broker (or their agent) is acting as a "transaction broker". Most real estate companies are fine with that.  We are not. There are 3 types of relationship:  (1) transaction broker, (2) single agent and (3) non-representative.  Most people assume that the friendly agent who has the property listed represents them and has their back - much like a lawyer would.  That would be wrong.  Agents you meet at an open house do not represent you.  Even if you contact an agent to start your property search, that person on the other side of the phone is presumed to be a transaction broker.  A transaction broker simply stands in the middle of the transaction and facilitates it. They have limited duties of disclosure and confidentiality to you.  They are also not bound by a duty of loyalty or obedience.  That is the stance of most agents and brokers you interact with.  It's easy.  No disclosures are required. They can simply start working with you, and you are presumed by law to know their limited duties to you.  

At The Shasteen-Sizemore Co., we do things differently.  It is our policy to work with clients as a single agent.  That means we must disclose to you that we are voluntarily adopting the highest level of real estate brokerage duties.  That means that we have a duty of loyalty, full disclosure full obedience and full confidentiality.  When you tell us something in confidence, we keep it that way.  When someone on the other side of a transaction tells us something that would affect your pricing decision, we tell you.  That's just what you would expect, right?  Exactly.

Second, why cheat yourself out of having your own advisor, especially when the seller is paying for it?  Many buyers don't understand that the seller usually pays the buyer's brokerage fees.  So, sellers will pay for you to get our advice.  What a great deal!  More importantly, buyers often don't know that, if buyers do not have a broker representing them, the buyers will not save money.  If a buyer has a broker, the listing broker normally (the one working for the seller) gives part of his or her commission to the buyer's broker at closing. Almost all real estate transactions, particularly in the residential realm, involve a commission split.  All listing brokers are happy to pay a buyer's broker for finding a buyer.  It is the norm.

If a buyer chooses not to have a buyer's broker, the seller's broker usually keeps the entire commission.  In other words, they keep the portion of the commission they would have normally paid out to your broker.  Meanwhile, you have cheated yourself out of having a representative who will truly negotiate on your behalf and spot issues you might not see.  You have not saved money, and you put yourself in a weak negotiating position.  Your job as a buyer is to locate the most highly qualified broker to work with.

Q:  Why do I need to sign an agreement with your company? 

A:  First, having a written agreement is just good business.  Second, as Realtors, our ethical obligations require us to operate under written agreements.  Finally, it is a matter of good faith and mutual commitment.  We advance our time, professional expertise, and resources to assist clients with transactions. In that respect we are "investing" in your real estate matter with the hope that we will both be successful.  To make that investment, we simply ask clients to sign a promise that, if we are successful, we will be compensated. We think that's fair.

Q:  Where are you licensed to provide real estate brokerage services?

A:  Our company and our agents are licensed by the State of Florida to provide real estate brokerage services throughout the state. However, we concentrate on the three counties of Tampa Bay, consisting of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties.  We do collaborate with a number of skilled brokers in other parts of Florida, so if you would like a referral, let us know.