Everyone has heard the statement "Real estate is the biggest investment of your life!" Well they weren't kidding. Many homeowners are finding out now the hard way they got themselves in big trouble way over their heads. They may not even be able to set themselves financially right in this lifetime they made such a bad mistake. Marraiges have failed, homes have be lost and credit for many will probably be unrepairable for many in their remaining working careers. The fact of the matter is that many persons purchased the wrong homes, in the wrong locations, and overpaid to boot! To make matters worse they put no money down, rolled in the extras, and had the closing costs rolled into the loan. Money was no object especially when it came to granite counter-tops, and stainless appliances especially when it was all done on credit. Then to make matters even worse they borrowed against the already leveraged home's equity. Wasn't this absolute insanity? To the seasoned agent, we asked ourselves, "Who would be so foolish to do this?" "Who is advising them?" Buying a home is too big an investment to be treating the facts so lightly!
You've heard it all before. "Ask your real estate agent for advice!" "Ask your Realtor" However most real estate agents never sold more than 1 home, and many have never sold anything. How could anyone advise a client if they had no experience whatsoever? A few years ago it was very common for a home buyers agent to be their cousin, a handyman they knew, a relative, their hairdresser, a friend from college or just a drinking buddy from the bar. It was a true to life story of the blind leading the blind. The sad thing is that if you never sold a home, you really are not in a position to advise a client. An agent without experience does not have the foresight to warn a their client against buying the most obvious of faulty homes, mold, structural flaws, pending zoning changes, the quality of the product, proximity to roads and power lines etc.
Many times as seasoned agents we are asked to list a properties that we cannot sell. It is not uncommon that good agents will not list a home when they know there is no chance of a sale. They do not need 6 months of aggravation and no chance of ever getting paid by a commission. We are not social workers. The reasons are many and obvious that a home will not sell...the sellers are way upside down, the home is on busy road that is about to be widened, it is under a power-line, the home is in a designated flood zone, there is obvious mold, the home is made of EFIS, they have polybute plumbing, aluminum wiring, have problematic siding issues...or all of the above! To simply put it...we cannot help them. We are not miracle workers. They had little if any advice from their inexperienced agent before they purchased the wrong home, and then overpaid on steroids.
The point is that before persons buy or sell...buyers and sellers need to work with real estate agents and Realtors that do have experience, and extensive knowledge. In the past it was the real estate agent that qualified the buyers first before ever giving the buyer or seller to a loan officer. We were more involved in the practicality of a sale then in "Doing a deal!" There were many times in my own career I advised a client or prospect that the home was not a good deal. The phrase "NEXT!" was a part of my daily dialog. That was just sound advice, and was appreciated. Buyers and sellers must realize that a home is a massive investment, and even though there are many rewards to home ownership, there are also many caveats, and responsibilities. Once the mistake is made, some problems cannot be undone.
James Crawford ABR, Broker Associate
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