Having only bought three houses in my lifetime, I had limited expectations regarding the manner in which I would interact with a real estate agent, or what the agent would be able to do on my behalf. I had considered my previous agents to be competent, both having helped me stumble through the process of purchasing a home. Based on my experiences with them, I was therefore a bit shocked at the level of service that was provided by Mark and Jason.
I met them through a mutual friend, and they immediately made an impression. Rather than asking how much I had to spend and where I wanted to live (quite reasonable questions, and ones I myself would probably ask), they started by asking me what lifestyle I was looking for, what I wanted for my family, and where I saw myself in the future. They then showed me a broad range of houses and townhomes, and based on my feedback, began to narrow in on styles and locations.
Their knowledge of real estate in the area was most impressive. Not only were they able to share the history and development of most of the areas for which I had an interest, they were also able to provide the guidance necessary to assess my opportunities with a very critical eye. For example, we walked into one property and they made comment on a particular type of tree that was growing in the backyard, warning me that this particular tree attracted bees. In another situation, when we walked into a property, they mentioned that the floor sloped downward ever so slightly, indicating a problem with the foundation - I never would have picked it up. In one property, after walking across the floor and seeing it "bounce", they noted that it would require some work. All of these insights allowed me to determine the "true" cost of moving into a home.
I finally narrowed down my choice to two homes, and they were able to help clarify what I was really looking for in the home. I eventually made my choice, and - as most of us probably do - I've been reviewing my decision, trying to determine whether I made the right choice. In doing so, I've found that I've never doubted my decision. They prepared me so well during the entire process that I'm more convinced today that I made the right choice than I was when I signed on the dotted line. And speaking of which, during the house closing - which happened after hours to accommodate my schedule - they showed up, together with my mortgage broker, to review the documents and clarify each as I was signing them. And now that I'm getting ready to move in, they've assisted with contractors, builders, cleaners, and pretty much any other resource that I need to make the transition a smooth one.
Perhaps the most telling anecdote I can share is one I learned from my interactions with other realtors. Mark and Jason suggested I also look at several open houses to help narrow down on my preferences. Without fail, as I introduced myself to the realtor holding the open house, and mentioned that I was working with Mark and Jason, their faces lit up and without fail said "they're great to work with".
Needless to say, I'm now sharing my experience with each and every person with whom I work that is showing an interest in buying a home. I normally would not do that, given that I wouldn't want to be on the hook if my co-worker had a bad experience, but I'm so confident in their value that I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them.