Why Hire a Real Estate Professional in a DIY World?
This may be stating the obvious, but I am a real estate agent. It may also be obvious that I feel strongly that you should hire a real estate professional when you're ready to buy a home. I became an agent in part because my first home buying and selling experience was such a disaster! My motivation for going to real estate school was to do whatever I could to prevent other folks from making the same mistakes my husband and I did.
When You Don't Know What You Don't Know
When my husband and I were newlyweds, our family situation led us to the decision to buy a home. My mom was handicapped and needed our help, and my younger brother was a student at community college. At the time, we had little or no understanding of the home buying process. We were completely clueless. You just borrow money somewhere, give it to someone who has a house you like, and they sell you the house, right? Well, in mega-simplified terms, that’s exactly what happens. But, if that’s all you know about buying a home, you could be in for a bumpy ride – and an epic DIY fail.
Big Mistakes Can be Avoided
Mike and I made many mistakes during that first home buying experience. If only we had used a buyer’s agent to represent our interests, we would have saved an enourmous amount of time and money.
What's Our Price Range?
First, we started driving around looking at neighborhoods with no idea how much we could afford. Not good. Eventually, we saw a For Sale sign in a neighborhood close to Mike’s office. It was a ranch home with a garage apartment out back where my brother could live. We called the number on the sign and spoke to the listing agent. Big mistake. She was more than happy to show us the house - that was her job after all.
We asked her about home mortgages and she sent us to her in-house mortgage broker. The lender set us up with a high interest, no cap adjustable rate, negative-amortization loan that got costlier with every payment we made. Thankfully, those don’t exist anymore.
Who is That Agent Working For?
Because the agent was representing the seller, she acted in good faith on behalf of her client. She never suggested we get an inspection because that would not be in the seller's best interests. She didn't disclose the crumbling plumbing or the aging furnace, nor did she mention the annual locust infestation and flooding that plagued the neighborhood. The listing agent didn't send us title documents to look at or talk to us about resale value.
Paying to Get Out
When it came time to sell, we had to bring a big chunk of money to the closing table just to get it sold. I get a little dizzy when I think about it now. When I became a real estate agent, I was determined to help others avoid these mistakes. But in our DIY world, it seems that more and more folks will be making them. If you want to buy a home the safe and efficient way, I advise you to hire a real estate professional. For more information about Buyer Agency, see our FAQs here.