Five years ago I had not yet entered the real estate industry as an agent but, like many buyers, I decided it was time for me to buy a home. I was 25 years old, tired of renting and wanted to relocate to another part of the city. And, like most buyers, I wanted to do it yesterday.
Meet the Salesman
At that point in my life I did not know the difference between a real estate broker and a builder sales representative. In my mind, they were one in the same. I visited a community outside the city, looked at a grand total of four homes and wrote a contract on the first house that was going to be completed within my time constraints. The salesman “sold” me on the resale value of Centex, the community, the home, and pretty much everything else. It was obvious to him that I had no idea what I was doing and he clearly took advantage of that.
I filled out my paperwork and was subsequently shoved over to the builder’s lender. Nothing was ever clearly explained and no process reviewed. I just moved from point “A” to point “B” as instructed by the builder. I could feel my head begin to spin. I had no confidence in the process and was beginning to second guess my decision.
Enter “The Realtor”
I can clearly say that this woman was the reason I chose to pursue a career in real estate, if for no other reason than I knew it could be done better.
In San Antonio, a city with a real estate agent community of over 6,000 everyone has a “friend” in the business. My case was no different. As I was speaking to someone at my workplace about my home purchase and how complicated it was and he recommended his “friend” who happened to be a Realtor.
With some new found confidence I contacted the Realtor. She advised me to bring in my contract for her to look over and I agreed. She glanced over my contract in all of about five minutes, and said the agreement was acceptable except for that she was not on it as my representation. She assured me she would call the builder and represent me. However, she did not reveal her fiduciary duty or responsibilities, she did not describe the process, nor did she do anything else that she should have done. What little faith I walked in the door with was extinguished on my way out.
It is a real estate agent’s responsibility to inform a buyer about the importance of a home inspection, shepherd walk thru appointments, counsel a buyer about the actual resale value of a home and neighborhood and getting the most for your money. After this Realtor was placed on the contract, however, I never heard from her again. I do remember, however, catching a glimpse of her running out the door of my closing meeting, with her commission check clenched in her fist.
Everything went wrong. The property appraiser performing a mini-inspection found faults in the wiring system, a plumbing leak on the back porch, and a lot of other issues. All of these items would have given me an opportunity to back out of the contract, had I been informed that was an possibility. Yet, no one let me know that was a option, so I muddled on in preparation to close.
At this point, emotions ran high. I was excited I was buying a home. I did not even give a second thought to the fact that the pending items needing repair had not been addressed properly. I simply took the word of the builder that the items were repaired, and I closed.
Over the Next Five Years
I had problem after problem with electricity issues, plumbing issues and a lot of other things as a result of improperly repaired items that should have been addressed before closing. I later discovered that I could have purchased a larger, nicer home at the community across the street for the same price that I purchased mine. I discovered that the resale value in my community was going to be extremely limited due to poor master planning, and I was not happy. My Realtor should have told me that.
What I Learned and What You Can Learn
Admittedly, my learning curve in the real estate industry most likely eclipses that of a normal buyer, as I spent time assisting buyers and sellers throughout the process. Before making a home purchase I would advocate that every buyer has a qualified Realtor, do plenty of research online and do a lot of homework before walking into a house or into a builder’s sales office. Had I known then what I know now, I would have made some decidedly different choices and ultimately been much happier with my decision.
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The Three Major Home Buying Mistakes to Avoid
Buyer’s Advice: The Facts
Home Buying After Bankruptcy