Why you should use a full time Realtor.
And never, ever use a part time grandparent/parent/sibling/cousin/or aunt & uncle as your Realtor.
I get it. You brother/cousin/aunt has their real estate license and they sell a house every year or two for family or a friend. You feel like you HAVE to use them to buy or sell a home. You feel compelled. I mean they are family.
That is exactly why you should not use them.
We will start at the most basic issue. What if something goes seriously wrong? What if it is because they made an error or gave you bad advice? I mean are you going to be comfortable suing them so that their error and omission’s insurance covers your loss? Are you prepared to dodge them at family functions and wonder which side the rest of the family comes out on for the rest of your lives? Of course not, nobody lives like that. Then again, things like that don’t happen very often.
So lets look at the more likely problems.
First thing first. They will give you terrible service. Honestly, I feel like most real estate agents give terrible service. It is a point of pride with me that I promptly take care of paperwork and return calls & emails as soon as possible…and my clients notice it. Most agents can’t be bothered…especially if they have other jobs. It just isn’t important to them. They don’t have enough at risk.
Now I am sure your sister/dad/uncle won’t treat you like that. Actually, no I am not. I hear someone complain about it (usually while trying to get me to violate board ethics and the law by interfering and solving a problem that the family member is ignoring) every month or two. This isn’t theory, part time real estate agents (and especially when they are family or close friends) just will not take the time to give you Blue Ribbon service.
Why would they treat you that way? They don’t want to…in fact if they knew they were doing it they would probably feel bad. They wouldn’t change it though. You see, your transaction is side money to them. That means when they are at their full time gig, they aren’t thinking about your transaction…and they certainly aren’t taking or returning a call. They see the phone ring and think….”I will talk to them this evening, they will understand.”
Will you? Will you understand why your mother/niece/grandma left you hanging for 8 hours after a bad home inspection while you panicked, didn’t know what to do, and were hoping that you didn’t just make the worst mistake of your life? I doubt it.
Especially when you reflect on how you could have hired a full time professional Realtor who will be standing by for that inspection report ready to go over it and all of your options as soon as you see it. Buying and selling homes is a stressful thing. There is a lot of money on the line, not to mention your most basic need, a home.
You deserve to have someone working with you that will be there every step of the way. Going over every process, and making sure you don’t expose yourself to unnecessary risk.
You deserve to have someone see your number on the phone that knows you wont “understand”, and is fully prepared to help you solve whatever problem comes up in your home purchase.
Don’t believe they will do it? Fine. There are exceptions.
So lets look at the next major issue of using someone who only does a realty transaction every now and again. They aren’t going to be current with the housing market. Well, no more current than you are. One of the things that people never consider when choosing a Realtor is how much of our day to day lives involves keeping up with real estate markets.
Whether it is keeping up with and making sure we understand the legal ramifications of changes to the contracts that our governing boards use, or just knowing how fast homes are selling, in what neighborhoods, and at what kind of prices… I spend 3-5 hours a day just looking at home listings and houses for sale, and checking out local, state and national business news. Why? Because a primary function of a Realtor is to give you advice on what is happening in the housing market they are helping you buy or sell a house in. Some people may be comfortable just winging it…and part time real estate agents have no choice, but I am not.
Buying and selling homes involves an enormous percentage of most peoples wealth. It shouldn’t be trusted to someone who “will check it out on their lunch break” or that you aren’t going to want conflict with if things go south. You definitely deserve someone who can take the time to explain what is happening and solve the problems that come up.
Now I know this may not have changed your mind, and if it didn’t I wish you the best. But when these things happen, do me a favor and remember who told you it would…and refer me to the next person that you know buying or selling a home.
Your brother/cousin/aunt won’t mind.