I just helped this young, recently married, couple buy their very first house. They were referred to me by the groom’s mother, of whom, I’ve known for years. I helped her with her wedding years ago, so she knows my work ethic and how relentless I am to ensure everything was perfect for her special day. Naturally, when her son was ready to buy a home with his new bride, she knew I would work just as hard, if not harder, for her son.
I truly get excited to help others find their dream home, so at our initial meeting I’m not sure who was more excited to get the process started. The couple shared their desired house attributes in this order: their needs, their wants and would be “nice to have” if possible. Thanks to today’s technology, it allows passive real estate shoppers, such as this couple, to scan the internet and view properties on popular sites such as: Trulia, Realtor.com, Zillow and plenty more. Working with this millennial couple, it was very apparent they had been shopping the net and checking out properties on their own for quite some time prior to pairing up with me. This really made the process much smoother because they had realistic expectations as they knew what to expect in their price range in this geographical area. We identified a few properties to scope out the next day and set a time to get this adventure started.
It was the 4th house we entered that I saw what I refer to as the “Glimmer in the eye.” It’s what Realtors like me strive for. We want to find that house that makes them smile as soon as they walk into the front door. Then we watch them move slowly from room to room opening every door, every closet, every cabinet. They stand for a moment to ponder, “Can my furniture fit here?” Or “Do the colors in this home match my current décor?” This home was a cute townhouse that was a complete remodel, but it was the added sunroom towards the back of the home that made it different than all the others in the neighborhood.
It was time to write up an offer! The couple had already been pre-qualified with their lending institution, but I suggested another lender I work with closely to get a second evaluation. They quickly opted to go with my lender as his rates were lower and the process was much faster. Normally after we send in an offer, we will wait up to 24 hours to hear back from the listing agent to see if the seller has accepted our offer or if they want to counter-offer. In our case, they counter-offered by $1k. Not a tremendous amount, but every penny counts when you are working with me.
The weeks following this process should have been nice and easy. However, I quickly realized that working with this listing agent, things were not going to be easy. I struggled to get desired repairs done, struggled to get proper documentation, even struggled to get the workmanship to an acceptable level for the repairs. In addition, after WE researched the documents that there were Property Owner Association fees attached to the home that were never disclosed, the listing agent refused to acknowledge her major error. Needless to say, after about 25 minutes of what I considered a judicial debate, the listing agent agreed to award the buyers a substantial amount of her commission to apply towards the first 2 years of POA fees. In my eyes, it was the ethical thing for her to do. You can’t just FORGET to tell a buyer about fees or issues with a property. It’s just not right.
I think the whole point in this story is that you want to hire a Realtor that you trust. Someone that will fight relentlessly for what you deserve. The majority of the issues I faced on this transaction were never evident for my buyers and that’s the way it should be. My job is to protect their best interest, and not to expose them to all of the inadequacies in this industry. Not everyone is in this business to make a ton of money. Of course, making money is great, but that should never pale your judgement in doing the right thing.