Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why do you need a realtor? Here's an Anecdote:

The short answer to why you need a real estate agent is that we have the expertise, connections, and resources to get you in the best home for the best price, and if you're selling, we can get you more money for your home with less hassle. I will do more posts about this in the future.

For now, however, here is a story an associate told me from his own experience which illustrates a somewhat dramatic example of why you need a realtor.
A real estate agent is someone with a license to sell. A realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors. I'll get into the distinction in a future post.

None of the names in this story are the actual names of the involved parties, and I'm almost certainly getting some of the details incorrect. This story is for illustrative purposes.

...

My associate's wife, "Wilma," had someone coming over to do some work on their home. The woman working on the home, "Barbara," was outside for most of the project, and at one point, Wilma noticed that Barbara was crying.

Concerned that Barbara might be too cold, Wilma invited her to come in. Barbara, however, said she wasn't cold, but rather she was very upset, because she was trying to buy a home, and everything seemed to be falling apart. Wilma mentioned that her husband, "Ronnie" was a realtor, and asked Barbara if she wanted to talk to him. Barbara took her up on the offer, and explained the situation to Ronnie.

Barbara had chosen to buy unrepresented, and when she had gone in to see the Mortgage Company, there were a number of fees that she hadn't been expected added to the closing costs. These fees (most of them bogus) totaled more than 20,000 dollars. Barbara decided not to move forward with the deal, but the Mortgage Company told her that even if she walked away, she would be responsible for the closing costs.

She told this to Ronnie, and he quickly recognized it as a shake-down. He called the Mortgage Company and asked them what was going on. They explained that Barbara had already agreed to pay these costs, and there wasn't anything Ronnie could do to change that.

"Hold on one second," said Ronnie. He then started a three-way call, adding the Attorney General's office onto the line.

Once they realized what Ronnie had done, they hung up. Ronnie talked to the AG's staff for a bit, then called the Mortgage Company back.

"Why'd you hang up?" he asked.

"Listen, just let us talk to Barbara," said the Mortgage Company. "We'll sort this out."

"I can't do that," answered Ronnie. "She's already on her way to the Attorney General's office with the paperwork you gave her." After a brief silence on the phone, Ronnie added, "Good luck," and hung up.

...

Now, I'm not saying this to scare you out of ever talking to mortgage officers. In my experience, most mortgage officers are great people who just want to help you get into your home and be able to make your payments.

The point is that in the real estate business, a lot of money changes hands, and that can potentially attract people who would want to take advantage of you. Having your own realtor--someone who is legally bound to act in your best interest--is bringing your own champion fighter to the ring. A realtor will stand up for you, defend you against shenanigans like the ones I've described, and generally make your home-buying experience a lot better.

Oh, hey! Did I mention that I'm a realtor? If you're looking to buy or sell, let me help you!

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