Don’t Do It Alone

It’s been almost a year since I have written a blog. I feel I am a little “rusty” but would like to write on a passionate topic of mine. I have written about this before, yet hopefully can give it a different spin. Sometimes it helps to put on paper what motivates me.  I hope you find these words useful if you are considering a home purchase or a home sale. Last year I worked with a client who ended up purchasing a home from sellers who were marketing their home “by owner” – not through the Multiple Listing Service and not represented by a real estate agent/broker. I believe my client did this because they were seriously interested in the home and did not know how to handle the situation. Furthermore, the sellers did not want a realtor involved at that time. In my client’s interest to find their next dream home, they moved forward without me, looking at the home, and negotiating with the sellers on their own. As it turned out, the seller was willing to work with realtors as they did not sell their home for the price and time frame they originally wanted. I sincerely hope my clients are happy in their new home. However, I do not feel it was in their best interest.  They ended up making a few extra double mortgage payments and experienced a lot of additional stress.   

I completely understand homeowners wanting to save on a commission or fee. After all, no one wants to pay for anything unnecessarily or spend money on something they feel they do not need or can do themselves. I understand they may have had a bad experience with a real estate agent. But I am here to say, there are many professional and experienced realtors out there who provide unbelievable value to their clients. The same value received from our dentists, doctors, lawyers, website designers, financial planners, landscapers, — the list goes on and on. I understand the want on getting the home of your dreams. Speaking from my own personal experience, I did it. It was the single most important reason that led me to become a real estate agent 18 years ago. I purchased my home 22 years ago in Westlake, OH with my husband from a “By Owner” without an agent. I did it because I passionately wanted the home. But there were so many things that were not right like my damp, leaky basement, electrical issues, moving in to find a missing chandelier and a 3×3 ft. hole in a wall that was hidden by a bookcase, and having to come up with additional surprise monies at closing. The negotiations were seemingly simple, after all we ended up with the home. But it did not have to be so difficult. I knew nothing about real estate contracts, negotiations, and true market value. The seller was an attorney, so it worked out swell for them. We moved into the home two months after closing for a minimal fee to them.

I believe the real estate professional is one of the most undervalued professions. And I can go into countless stories of issues that come up in real estate that I have witnessed and experienced over the past 18 years. These stories led to lawsuits, stress, deals falling apart, money lost, inspection issues, appraisal issues, lender issues. I have seen RESPA violations and real estate license fines and revocations as well. There is the good, the bad, and the ugly in any profession. Can you say Enron, Bernie Madoff? I do not look to judge those who wish to enter a real estate transaction without a real estate broker. When it goes well, pop open the champagne and celebrate. When issues arise, which is more the norm, they can go bad quick. I sold it in “One Day on the Market” hardly encompasses the amount of work that goes into pre-listing and market analysis, staging, listing, marketing, open houses, buying, home searches, pre-approvals, multiple offers, contingencies, low appraisals, inspections, documents, signatures, and all the way to “Congratulations, Your Home Has Closed, and Here’s Your Keys”! I am here to highly recommend to not go it alone. Find a realtor you can trust, who possesses the knowledge and experience to guide you through. Buying and selling real estate on a personal level is not an easy or stress-free proposition. I purchased my home “for sale by owner.” I wish I knew in 1997 what I know now, all the countless nightmares and stories. I share my experience so that you can try to avoid those things. I understand why folks go the “by owner” route, but I am here to tell you best not to do it alone. You are dealing with what is probably your largest financial purchase or sale. There is a reason for the licensing education requirements, the Ohio Commerce Department’s Division of Real Estate, the Canons and Code of Ethics we follow as real estate agents and brokers. The Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Real Estate, helps ensure Ohians’ investment in their largest asset – their homes – is a sound one.  

In the end, it worked out. We are still in our home. We ate by candlelight for a year until we saved up for the brass dining room chandelier I wanted. A bookcase covers the hole in the wall. We have fixed all the electrical issues. And on a really rainy day, our basement is still damp.

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