The Importance of Ethics and Service. An Interview with Lorraine Valdes

An interview with Lorraine Valdes on her becoming a Realtor and her take on success in regards to ethics in life and in real estate. Also, bonus question at the end!

Why did you want to become a Realtor? And why central Florida?

Independence, self employment, I like working with people. I spent 25 years in healthcare: finance management and nursing. Always believed in home ownership and have always been a real estate investor. Therefore I just developed a love for it and continued on with it as a career. Central Florida is where my husband and relocated to, expecting to live here for retirement. However, immediately after we built our home my husband developed cancer. He was unable to work so we escalated our move and came down to live in our retirement home. We chose Central Florida because of the very low ability of a down swing in the economy because it is 100% driven by tourism. To me it was a no-brainer, a perfect investment location.

You credit your ethics and honesty to your background in medicine.

I have found that my success is entirely due to my ethics and honesty. Ethics are very important to me. And, yes I do believe that has everything to do with my background in medicine. In nursing if I did not do what was 100% right, appropriate, and ethical, my patient died. I treat real estate no differently. Whether you are treating a patient or you are selling a house you must do what is right. I can’t make a mistake with someone’s lifetime earnings. I am ethically obligated to put them in a position where they can’t get hurt.

How does your mindset about service and ethics impact what you do?

What is the point in being successful in any industry if you’re not there to service people? Do it right or don’t do it. Give it your all and work long days to make it perfect. It really does matter when you care about what you do. You’ve got to be able to service people regardless of what it is they need or what your day is like otherwise they’ll move on to the next person. The reward of serving people is that you build a strong, reputable, business and people are satisfied. You’ve got to maintain that high standard of excellence in everything and work hard, not to make money but to service appropriately. In the real estate industry the reputation is that Realtors do nothing but collect big commission checks and are not there for you. I put the same effort into a $100,000 home as I do in a million dollar home. It doesn’t matter how much you have, if it’s your entire investment it means everything to you. No matter how much of an investment it is it has to be handled appropriately.

Do you represent exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction?

In the state of Florida you work as something called a transaction broker, you represent the transaction, not necessarily the buyer or seller. I have a different school of thought on that. In my opinion that is completely unethical, although it is permitted in the state of Florida. I refuse to represent a buyer who is interested in a property I am selling. Because I just cannot get my seller his best price if I’m trying to get my buyer his best price. So, unless my buyer goes in with a full price offer I have to take a step back and refer him to another agent. I will contact another Realtor let them negotiate with me on behalf of the seller.

Bonus Question: What is a major factor that determines the price of real estate?

In a round about way: your commute.Florida is a very vast state. Driving is pretty much mandatory no matter where you are in Florida. If you don’t drive, that’s ok. You will need to be really close to the city and incorporate that in your budget. However, the closer you are to a city the higher prices are in real estate. If you’re going to work while you are here then you need to figure out where you are relocating is to and what your commute time is going to be. Take in consideration how far the commute is from home to the city. Of course, real estate is going to cost more in the middle of a booming city than it is in the rural areas so keep that in mind while you plan. I can certainly sell you a home in Kissimmee but if you’re going to work in Fort Lauderdale then you’re going to be driving three hours one way.