Real estate transactions today are certainly not what they used to be. I remember the old saying “Hand shake and a prayer, Buyer Beware!”. Transactions today have become quite complicated, with many facets and players from beginning to end. There are sellers, buyers, real estate companies, agents, lenders, title companies, underwriters, inspectors, appraisers, repairmen, you name it! And that’s not to mention federal and state regulations regarding things such as code inspections (when needed), disclosure requirements, equal housing requirements, code enforcements, etc. I sold my first home on my own, without an agent. There…..I said it out loud! But after that experience (in 1983!), I realized how difficult the task was becoming and decided to become a REALTOR.
If you ask grandparents, parents, or someone in your family from an older generation these three questions, they will be able to answer them…..Who was the preacher/pastor/rabbi/officiant who married you? Who was the doctor that delivered your first child? Who was the agent who sold you your first home? That is how important our jobs as REALTORs are! I stress this fact on every new agent I meet, and when they do the “test questions”, they are amazed that the person remembers!
So how do most people find their agent, either as a seller or buyer? According to surveys by the National Association of Realtors, the majority say through a referral from a friend or relative. So, that’s a great place to start! Ask around. Who just sold or purchased a home that you know? Did they like their agent and were pleased with the service/price/marketing? Get three names and interview them. Most have the same basic tools for marketing or helping you find a home. The winner of this little interview should be someone you feel a rapport with, are comfortable sharing sensitive information with, and someone who you feel will listen to your needs. Hopefully this person will be frank when counseling you on realistic expectations and not just tell you what you want to hear.
Your agent can help you find the right lender or title company or service provider and should know how to navigate any “hiccup” that may appear during your transaction. If not, they can certainly find out! And your agent should have experience in following transactions from start to finish and be your personal “go to” person throughout the process.
It’s so rewarding to be able to sit at the closing table with my clients, sometimes after months of searching or marketing, and know that I helped to get them there. I’ve talked to them numerous times each week, met them sometimes more than once a week, listened to the problems, calmed the impatient, kept an eye on the kids while mom and dad check the basement, met the parents, petted the family dog, etc. Many times it’s bittersweet and hard to say good-bye (at least for now).
Keep in mind that your agent works for YOU, even if you are a buyer and the seller is paying the commission out of his/her proceeds. Your agent should be able to guide you in all aspects of your journey to your new or next home!
As appearing in The Canton Repository 1-15-16