The typical real estate agent is all alone, trying to do a lot of complicated things quickly in a business that demands personal service around the clock. Buyers and sellers call 24/7, contracts must be written, houses shown, listings prepped. Agents find themselves trying to simultaneously execute tasks in the office, prepare houses in the field, collect intelligence out in the market and develop business around town. All of this cannot be done by one person. Real estate agents need help, but can’t find or afford it.
That’s why we developed the Agent Assist program: to give agents the steady hand that they need. Our experienced, trained in-house assistants hold real estate licenses and work exclusively for Dreyfus Properties. Agent Assist Program helps the agent in three core areas of their job: listings, buyers and marketing. Our assistants prepare sellers’ homes for the market, coordinate transactions, and help agents with marketing tasks. Our assisting program helps assure a high level of service from Dreyfus Properties agents and makes our agents even better at their jobs.
Erica Ratiner has just come on board as our Agent Assist Manager. Erica is very excited to bring her organizational and administrative expertise to Dreyfus Properties. A broker and member of Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, Erica has been working in the real estate industry since 2005, most recently as the right hand of the 2012 #1 Realtor in America (based on Wall Street Journal rankings). Before entering real estate Erica earned a dual degree in Secondary Education and Theater Arts and worked as a stage manager in Bay Area and East Coast theaters. Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Erica made the move to San Francisco in early 2000 and, along with her husband and Russian Blue kitten, is happy to call Silicon Valley her home.
Q & A with Erica Ratiner
What is the biggest challenge that clients face and how do you solve it?
Their biggest challenge is getting answers as quickly as they need them, having their agent be in contact with them every step of the way. It helps to know that someone’s watching your back, knowing that it’s going well with what could be the most important financial decision of your life.
I deal with the daily minutia for agents, so they’re available to clients and answering their questions. I am the central source for all information in a deal. I contact agents, clients, the escrow officer, lender. I keep agents up to date so they can be in better touch with their clients. I’m in touch with all major players in the deal, so I can answer questions that come up pretty quickly.
What is the biggest challenge that agents face and how to you solve it?
Staying on top of everything that’s going on when they have multiple clients, multiple deals, multiple transactions. Keeping 4–5 different deals and 4–5 clients straight, so the agent is giving the needed attention to their clients.
On the listing side, I create a timeline to most efficiently manage a listing, and help them contact and schedule contractors and inspections. I make sure marketing materials are created on time and delivered on time. I help with communication between agent and clients. I create paperwork, make sure it’s complete with the right signatures, and create a record of the transaction for clients at close of escrow.
On the buyer side, I help the agent make appointments to see properties, get disclosures, contact the listing agents about interest level so we can send informative emails to our clients about properties they may be interested in. Once a client is ready to write an offer, I can create the paperwork, send it to agent for review, and make sure it gets signed.
What makes Agent Assist program different than other brokerages?
In a lot of brokerages, agents do not have any help or support aside from transaction coordination. Transaction coordinators work with hundreds of agents. They’re really just making sure the signatures are on the paperwork. The Agent Assist Program goes far beyond that. It’s the one place agents can go to get all the info you need about a deal. Each agent gets more personalized service and therefore all their clients get more individualized service.
What sold you on working with Dreyfus Properties?
I like the integrity of Dreyfus Properties. Mike’s got integrity in business that doesn’t exist in a lot of places. I like his outlook on real estate: getting a premium price for a client, instead of the auction mentality. Dreyfus agents want to make sure you have a good experience; they’re not as worried about the bottom line.