All posts by Suzette West

Suzette is the designated broker and general contractor for our company. She has been a real estate licensee since 1996, and has many years of experience specializing in the area of real estate investment. She is what the investor community would call an "investor-friendly" broker who is also an investor herself. She understands real estate investment, how to analyze investments, and how values can change with shifting market cycles. She has first-hand experience of how investors must constantly assess their current business models and strategies in real estate in order to stay abreast of changes, and adjust for new market realities. She knows that ignoring new market realities can increase an investor's risk of experiencing a decrease in deal flow and profit which; can put the best laid real estate investment plans to rest for good. To help her investor clients avoid this, she educates and facilitates the path forward, which is a huge benefit the investor clients she works with. In her own real estate projects, Suzette and her team look for truly quality real estate opportunities that are priced well for the condition and market location. Her systems for sourcing opportunities, analyzing profit potential, estimating repairs, managing renovations, as well as marketing and leasing, all work to ensure that her projects are profitable. She currently holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Real Estate from Marylhurst University. She is a certified business model analyst, and is currently pursuing an Executive MBA in Finance from Washington State University. She is an asset to any team she is working on. Whether that team is her own or she is on an investor-client's team, her enthusiastic dedication to excellent service and world class team-building makes her invaluable to the clients she accepts.

Troublesome News from Arizona

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With new real estate agents entering the field in record numbers across the country, it becomes ever so important to establish a hiring process; regardless if you are a buyer or seller. Washington State brokers are required to supervise their agents, associate brokers, and managing brokers; but, sometimes the supervision is not adequate.

Read more about what happened in Arizona…

Troublesome news from Arizona:

“Complaints against real estate agents are on the rise, with consumers accusing them of everything from selling property without a license to cutting corners to make a sale.

As of June, the number of complaints opened with the Arizona Department of Real Estate had jumped 53 percent since 2003, the year before the housing boom took the Valley by storm. Complaints forwarded for discipline increased 150 percent in that same time.
More consumers are not only griping about the way they have been treated, but they’re also alleging they have lost money in real estate deals. Agents found in violation of state laws that govern license holders can wind up paying fines or having their licenses suspended or revoked.

Part of the spike in complaints reflects the rush of new agents who flooded the market to take advantage of the housing boom of 2004 and 2005. The number of new brokers and agents rose 38 percent in the past three years, well behind the pace of complaints.

The housing market fizzled this year as rising prices and more inventory kept buyers on the sidelines. When the market was hot, complaints were driven by the intense competition to get listings and make sales, said Tom Adams, director of regulation for the state real estate department, which oversees licensing and investigates complaints” (

Source Link:

Final note:

Buyers, as well as sellers, need to have a hiring process that includes interviewing with a few good real estate professionals. The biggest mistake I see people make time and again, is that they start working with the first buyer or seller agent they encounter. A practical hiring process will separate the real estate professionals with experience from those without experience.

Aside from determining skill level, having a hiring process also gives people the opportunity to become familiar with a consultant’s character and personality. Not all personalities can work together, so this is another important factor to consider when interviewing with real estate professionals. Ask questions and pay attention to how your questions are answered.

Agents Refusing to Make an Offer on Real Estate

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First of all, you need to know, that it is against the law for any agent or broker to refuse presenting an offer. We are required by law to present all offers, and any agent who does not will get into serious trouble. This is the case in Washington State, Nevada, and I am certain that this is the case in all 50 states. You can check on this by contacting your state’s real estate licensing board for more information.

Now, for the reason I am blogging on this topic:

I came across a blog belonging to an agent who regularly advises against signing an Exclusive Buyer Agency agreement, and who used the following scare-tactic in an attempt to scare buyers away from utilizing exclusive buyer agency agreements:

“‘buyers agent refuses to make offer’ was a search hit I got recently. This is yet another reason not to sign exclusive buyer’s agent agreements.”

My thought:

It is against the law for any agent or broker to refuse presenting an offer, regardless if it’s a buyers agent, listing agent, dual agent, etc.


The person cited above is not correct in what he is saying. An Exclusive Buyer Agency agreement should not be signed until after an interview process, and after there has been a “meeting of the minds,” where both buyer and agent agree to ground rules for a mutually beneficial working relationship.

I should also point out that this agent takes listings, therefore, does not know what he is talking about regarding the important role of exclusive buyer agents; including the agreements necessary to engage their services. It seems that this agent is accustomed to “double-dipping,” meaning, he finds the buyers for his listings and gets paid for both sides of the transaction. It appears that this agent does not wish to let this practice go.

It would be interesting to know if this agent would be willing to sign a non-exclusive listing agreement with sellers, especially, since most listing agents do not traditionally like to sign them.

I suppose this answers my question:

“Mind you, the listing agents will resist this, but until you sign their contract (which has to be exclusive, by the nature of things, at least for a given property), you are the one who holds the power to control the transaction by walking out.

In closing…

Buyers deserve to receive the same level of service as sellers do. An Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement for the buyer, is the equivalent to what an Exclusive Listing Agreement is for the seller. Fair is fair, and not a double standard.

Source Link

Suzette West, RECS, EBA
Exclusive Buyer Agent Seattle

Designated Agency or Dual Agency: An Interesting Question Raised

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A colleague raised an interesting question in the following blog entry. If you think in terms of a sports team, you would never see a team have the same coach, so why would buyers and sellers use the same company to complete their real estate purchases.

“To get around the drawbacks of ‘dual agency’ – states are adopting ‘designated agency.’ Thats where the employing broker designated one agent within his/her office to be an agent for the seller and another agent within her/his office to be the agent for the buyer. Law firms don’t allow you to hire an attorney while your adversary uses another attorney at the same firm. So why should this be legal in Real Estate?? The buyer’s information and negotiation power can be compromised in these offices.

It always pays to do research before entering the real estate market. The only way to avoid conflicts of interest entirely, is to insist on having representation separate and apart from the listing agent’s company.

Source link:

Tales of a Seattle Real Estate Investor

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Tales of a Seattle Real Estate Investor

I found this entry on Seattle Eric’s blog, and it really shows how and why buyer’s need their own representation in real estate. He mentions the importance of having a plan with an exit strategy, and he is absolutely right. You not only need an exit strategy, but you also need to know the rate of return you wish to earn over the life of the investment. This needs to be known before you step into the market.

Before a buyer invests in real estate, they should have realistic goals and expectations spelled out in a well thought-out plan, this includes having an exit strategy. It is also important to understand that money is made when you buy real estate right, and not when you buy and sell wrong.

Suzette West, RECS, EBA
Exclusive Buyer’s Agent Seattle

How to avoid going underwater on a mortgage

An interesting article I found by:

Holden Lewis of

Click link above or below for full article.

“In the next couple of years, a combination of rising mortgage interest rates and falling home values could plunge thousands of homeowners underwater.”

“Being underwater means owing more than the house is worth. It’s an especially risky situation for people with interest-only mortgages and pay-option adjustable-rate mortgages. Some might be able to refinance or get through hard times by living frugally. Others will have to sell their houses, possibly at a loss. Still others will lose their houses to foreclosure.”

“If you have an interest-only or pay-option ARM, assess your situation and, if you conclude that you are in jeopardy, act quickly. “I don’t think burying your head in the sand is a viable option,” says Neil Garfinkel, an attorney with Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson in New York City. Most homeowners will sail through just fine. Two groups of borrowers should look ahead to see if they’re heading toward a reef that could sink them.”

“Homeowners most at risk of being underwater:

—¢ The first group consists of homeowners who are making the minimum payments on interest-only mortgages. Not all of these folks are at risk. The ones who should especially watch out are those who bought homes in the last year or two in markets where house values are falling, and who made no down payment or a minuscule one.

—¢ The other group consists of people who are making minimum payments on pay-option ARMs on homes that they bought within the last two years after making a down payment of 10 percent or less.”

Read full article by Holden Lewis –, click below:

Suzette West, RECS, EBA

Exclusive Buyer’s Agent Seattle

A colleague with compelling information

Richard Machado of Fidelis, The Smart Homebuying Team in New Bedford, MA.

Exclusive Buyer Agent – this is a new wrinkle and if you have your druthers, if you have a choice, this is the way you want to go…. They work just for buyers, they never take a listing, they don’t have the conflict of interest on the other side of the deal. These people consider themselves consumer advocates….that’s the one you want – if you can get it.” – Jean Chatsky, Wall Street Journal’s “Smart Money”

Suzette West, RECS, EBA
Exclusive Buyer Agent Seattle

How to Hire the Right Exclusive Buyers Agent in 5 Easy Steps.

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Unfortunately, buyers often make the mistake of working with the first agent they come into contact with. The following information offers a practical and easy system for searching out potential candidates and selecting the right exclusive buyers agent for the job at hand.

Buyers need to know what options they have available to them, and not let others make these decisions for them. Isn’t there enough of that going on these days?

With knowledge comes the power to make the best practical decisions possible, real estate decisions included.

Step 1: The Search – According to the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA), only ½ % of all real estate licensees are truly buyer‘s agents. The best way to begin looking for an exclusive buyer‘s agent is to do a search online using the term "exclusive buyer‘s agent" and including the desired property location. A prospective buyer should visit at least 3 to 4 web sites and pay attention to details like professional impression and the overall message communicated in the web site. Buyers should ignore hype that comes from biased sources. For example, a biased source will choose one particular agency to handle all of their real estate inquiries to the exclusion of all others, instead of having a directory of several buyer agencies. This takes away from a buyer‘s right and freedom to choose the best representation for them. In truth, one size does not fit all; therefore, relying on biased sources is quite questionable.

Step 2: The Interview – After finding the best two or three candidates, the next step is to set up an interview. At the interview, a buyer should pay attention to detail and ask plenty of questions. Buyers should ask candidates to address any concerns, and be prepared to discuss real estate goals in general. The goal here is to uncover enough information about a particular agent in order to get a feel for each personality interviewed in order to make the best choice. When concluding the interview, buyers should inform all candidates of when they expect to make a final decision and then notifying each candidate by phone or e-mail, regardless of whether or not the candidate was successful in landing the job.

Step 3: The Selection – After concluding the interview process, which can occur online, via e-mail, in person, or over the phone, the selection process begins. The main goal of this step is to determine the best candidate for the job by considering the comfort level of buyer during the candidate‘s interview, assessing the candidate‘s level of knowledge and expertise, as well as, seeing whether personalities between buyer and candidate click or clash. Buyers should be aware of how an agent handles their questions and concerns. Does the agent seem honest, workable, and flexible? Does it seem like the agent is trying to push their own agendas, trying to use money as incentive or bait, or discouraging buyers from interviewing with other exclusive buyers agents? These are all important considerations. As small as they may seem, these traits reveal the quality of an agent‘s character and the nature of their motivations. This is good for a buyer to know upfront.

Step 4: The Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement – After buyer determines the best exclusive buyer‘s agent to work with, the next step is making the working relationship official through an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement. There are currently many misconceptions about this type of agreement. Some buyers are reluctant to sign one because they do not understand what it is for and why it is important for them to have one with the right agent. An Exclusive Buyer Agency agreement establishes the boundaries and ground rules of a working relationship between a buyer and their chosen agent. Without this agreement addressed upfront, important issues become a matter of chance and fate. Buyers and their agents should negotiate the terms until they both feel good about the agreement. Expectations are set and mutually understood. A proper Exclusive Buyer Agency agreement avoids misunderstanding and unwelcome surprises, as well as, prevents wasted time and effort. Buyers and their agents should spell out the details of how they should work together in writing, before actually starting to work together.

Step 5: Getting Started – Once an agreement is in place, buyers should meet with their agent to review goals and options based on the information discussed at the interview. In this step, the agent prepares the buyer for what is ahead. The agent will help buyer determine affordability, shop for the best financing, find the best properties that fit buyer‘s criteria and qualifications, help negotiate for lowest price and best terms in favor of buyer, and manage buyer‘s side of the transaction to closing while watching for, and handling, problems that may arise. The bottom line is that an exclusive buyer‘s agent is a buyer‘s best friend in real estate, and buyer‘s should make sure that they choose the right one for themselves.

Suzette West, RECS, EBA
Exclusive Buyers Agent Seattle