Thursday, October 07, 2010

Steven Lopez - Real estate

The Freakonomics blog has a section entitled, "Stuff We Were Not Paid to Endorse".  This is my version of this.  Steven does not know that I am writing this, nor has he asked for any feedback like this of any kind.

I am writing this because I feel it is my duty, in the grand universe of karma, to express my views about our recent real estate agent, Steven Lopez.  My wife and I recently purchased a home, after looking for almost a year and a half. 

I am hereby announcing to anyone looking at purchasing property in the Los Angeles area, that Steven Lopez is, hands-down, the single greatest real estate agent I have ever come across.  Period.

It is hard to even list all of the ways that Steven has helped us.  The primary difference between Steven and other agents we know of is that Steven's primary goal was to ensure the best outcome for us, rather than the best outcome for him.  This attitude pervaded everything he did, from the homes he suggested we pursue (and the ones he suggested we not pursue), to the valuations of the homes he provided, to the suggestions he made for home repairs, to advice on whether or not a given home was worth pursuing.  His attitude always was that he was looking out for us, like a true agent should, and not looking to simply close a sale.  This gave us tremendous trust in Steven and we were able to work with him as a partner in all of our transactions.

Steven is also extremely knowledgeable and intelligent.  Real estate is the amalgamation of finance, law, negotiation, aesthetics, construction and life planning.  Steven knew a substantial amount about all of these subjects and was able to give us clear guidance in many matters.
He provided incredibly detailed analysis for property values, and, as someone who's quite comfortable running multiple regression analyses, I was pleased to see his detail and rationale.  He went the extra mile to ensure our offer was well received by the seller.  Steven brought in the right professionals to help us assess the cost of repairs and upgrades.

As someone who as participated in a number of financial transactions with companies, I have always been dismayed that the real estate industry falls far short on the level of professionalism and skill for these transactions.  Steven far exceeds the crowd and I urge anyone reading this, who has extremely exacting standards in their own profession and are looking to hire someone with similar qualities, to contact Steven.

We have had the experience of dealing with, on some level, about ten different real estate agents over the course of our life (some from this home purchase, some from others).  I had long come to the conclusion that they all add incredibly little value, and the best agent one could hope for is one that was simply not evil or corrupt and wasn't going to backstab you.  There are a number of reasons that I have a terribly low opinion of the real estate industry, but I believe the biggest flaw is the lack of a "repeated game".  Real estate, by its very nature, involves people moving.  So, good real estate agents are very rarely rewarded, if their best customers are now in another city.  Likewise, terrible real estate agents are rarely exposed.  This blog post attempts to correct some of that.

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