Ask McEnearney Jean Beatty 3.25.21

In this fast-paced Washington-area market, expectations for what a Realtor does today are greater than they have ever been.

Some axioms always hold true, though, and one is you get what you pay for. This is especially true for the Realtor you choose to work with when you buy or sell your home. There are a myriad number of options available for you to choose from beginning at a limited-service brokerage (i.e., a discount broker) to a full-service brokerage (like McEnearney Associates). When choosing your Realtor, I would like you to keep these three A’s in mind: applicable knowledge, accessibility of staff, and available resources.

Applicable Knowledge

Real estate is a lot like owning a car. From an outsider’s perspective, you put the key into the ignition, turn it to start and the car takes you where you need to go.

The reality is obviously a lot more complicated than that. Like a car, the real estate industry consists of a lot of moving parts between buyers, sellers, settlement companies, mortgage lenders, etc. The list goes on… Finding a house on the internet and buying it the next day simply doesn’t happen. When your car breaks down, you take it to a mechanic to get it fixed. When looking to sell your home or buy a new one, you should look toward the experts.

A great real estate agent has seen a lot of houses and been to a lot of home inspections. In my career, I have personally attended well over a hundred home inspections. My time spent with the home inspector is not idle, either; I follow him around and ask questions on behalf of my clients. This means that I now have enough applicable knowledge to guide my clients in their home purchase and can give them a good base to make their home-buying decision.

With today’s market as it is, many home buyers are making offers that are not contingent on a home inspection. Often this means that I save my clients money in the long run because I can help steer them away from homes with real problems. I can usually tell if floors have hardwood underneath carpet. I keep an eye out for signs of unwanted water in the house, whether or not there are visible foundational issues. There are so many more things that I can point out when we are walking through a home.

Obviously, I am not a licensed inspector and I always advise my clients to have a home inspection (usually prior to even making an offer), but I can often help them avoid red flags that they would not have noticed on their own. This way they avoid making an offer on a home and paying $500-$600 on an inspection to learn that they do not want to purchase the house after all.

Accessibility of Staff

Another aspect of a full-service brokerages is that they employ a staff, including a managing broker, marketing directors, office managers and accountants. What this means is that you have more experts invested in helping you find your dream home or selling the house you already live in.

You only get one first impression with your future buyer so it is important to make a good one. Marketing materials from design experts will do that for you. For my business, in order to allow me to be more responsive to my clients, I have hired assistants to help me with paperwork, social media and various other tasks so that I can spend my time “out in the field” so to speak, meeting with clients and answering their questions. Agents who work on a discounted commission are not able to use all of the options I have because they are trying to do it alone.

This leads me to my last point.

Available Resources

Because I work with a full-service brokerage, my clients have access to a wider range of resources. McEnearney has deals with various companies to provide services to all of our clients. One of them is RealScout. This is a search platform similar to Zillow in style, but personally tailored to my buyer clients. It allows my clients to adjust their search, see properties that are coming soon, and interact directly with me via the platform so that they can tell me which properties they are interested in seeing.

For my seller clients, the wide network I have created of vendors and handymen allows them to get their home market ready in a shorter amount of time at a smaller cost. Nowadays, staging, professional photographs and small remodels are essential tools in getting top dollar for your home. Without the advice of an expert, you could be costing yourself thousands of dollars in the long run.

If you have the choice, why not choose the expert? They have the knowledge, staff, and resources to help make your next real estate transaction smoother.

Jean Beatty is a licensed real estate agent in VA, MD, and DC with McEnearney Associates Realtors® in McLean, VA. If you would like more information on selling or buying in today's complex market, contact Jean at 301-641-4149 or visit her website

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: or call 703.549.9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreMcEnearney

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