Making a home buying/selling experience great |

Making a home buying/selling experience great

Post Independent Writer

Making a home buying/selling experience great

By Dianna Haynes

I’m thinking about having laser surgery on my eyes later this year and believe me, this is something I want done right the first time.

Buying or selling a home is something you want done right the first time, too. It’s probably the biggest investment/transaction you’ll ever make in your life. This week I’ll focus on the home buying side of the equation, but the information in this column is important for home sellers, too.

Once you know how much you can spend, the next step is to find the homes that most closely meet your needs. This is the time to choose a real estate licensee. And you don’t want just anyone, you want someone who is a Realtor.

A Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors, and we agree to abide by a code of ethics. We also have the resources to assist you in your home search, namely the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).

How do you know if someone is a Realtor? Ask them. Okay, but then how do you choose from all the Realtors out there? Find out who works in your area or the area you want to live in, and ask two or three for an interview. Get their qualifications and see if they can do the following:

Listen. You want someone who listens. The first meeting with your prospective Realtor should last about an hour. This is basically a “meet and greet” time – you spend some time telling them your wants and needs, and the Realtor explains how they can meet those expectations.

I always give prospective clients time to decide if they want to work with me or not. Let’s face it – it’s a very important job you’re asking us to do and you want someone who can do the job well. Once someone decides to work with me, I only ask for one thing – their loyalty. Don’t jump around from Realtor to Realtor. It’s unfair and nonproductive for you and them.

Empower. You want someone who can give you all the knowledge you’ll need to make the right decision. Your Realtor should help you become familiar with the real estate market, neighborhoods, home styles, and amenities. I tell my clients that when they walk into the right home, they will know it because I’ve already prepared them.

Act. When I first started in real estate, I was instructed by my broker to tell buyers: 1) bring their checkbook, 2) we were going to look at X number of homes that day, and 3) they had better be prepared to buy one. I don’t know if it’s my rebellious nature or a sense of how I’d like to be treated as a buyer, but I immediately rejected that notion and subsequently opened my own office. A Realtor should be prepared to show you as many homes as you want to see. Once you’ve decided, then your Realtor can help you strategize, write the offer and present it on your behalf.

Care. Nothing is more satisfying than helping someone find the perfect home. More than anything, we want to make sure your entire house-hunting experience is exciting, pleasurable and stress-free.

Two final considerations when you interview: first, ask the Realtor how they expect to be paid. In most cases, we are paid a fee or “commission” by the seller to find a buyer for their home. As the buyer, can you imagine a better deal? You get the benefit of a Realtor’s help, experience and knowledge and it doesn’t cost you a dime!

But what about FSBOs (for sale by owners) and new home builders? My experience has been that most of them will cooperate (“coop”) with Realtors and offer a commission. But if they aren’t willing to, ask your prospective Realtor how they would handle this situation. Can they or will they still work for you?

Which brings us to the second consideration: Relationship. Colorado law allows us to work for you as either a transaction broker or a buyer’s/seller’s agent. A transaction broker is a neutral party to the real estate transaction, which means they do not represent you, but they can still assist you with communication, advice, negotiation, contracting and closing. No written agreement is required. A buyer’s (or seller’s) agent works solely on your behalf, and a written agreement is required.

Most buyers and sellers assume that their Realtor is their agent. (We’re sometimes called just that – “real estate agents.”) But there’s a very large distinction between a transaction broker and a buyer’s agent. Again, my experience has been that if a problem occurs once we’re under contract, the buyers expect me to be in their corner, working on their behalf to get things resolved – as their agent. They don’t want me to be a “neutral party.” You need to decide what’s important to you and communicate that to your Realtor.

Lots of things to think about, I know. But a real estate transaction involves a significant amount of money and is quite possibly the biggest financial investment you’ll ever make. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to fix it without the help of a tax advisor or CPA? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you handle it without the help of an attorney? Hiring the right Realtor will get you through the process of buying or selling a home with confidence.

Dianna Haynes is broker-owner of Wire Fence Properties, 970-625-8535.

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