The photo above was taken last week as the new Directors and Officers of the Park City Board of Realtors were sworn in. (I am wearing all black.) Every single realtor in this photo is an excellent buyer’s agent. But why do you need one? It is so much “easier” to buy a home without silly contracts and negotiations. How much value do real estate agents add if you already found the property you want to buy?
In a word, plenty. Below are 4 things that can go wrong with a “do it yourself” approach:
- You are paying cash so you think you don’t need any contingencies. That means your earnest money goes non-refundable the minute the seller cashes the check. What if you find out that Mr. Seller doesn’t have clear title to the property? There could be a mechanic’s lien from a contractor Mr. Seller forgot to pay 5 years ago, or worse. Maybe Mr. Seller doesn’t legally own the property. What if you find out there is an easement that runs through the property? What if you find out the boundaries of the property are not where you thought they were? Oops. If you figured any of this out before closing then all you lost was the earnest money. If you figured it out after closing, you have a big legal mess to clean up.
- You added a due diligence contingency and the property checked out. Your earnest money is non-refundable. You didn’t do a final walk-through because you live out of town. After closing, you notice the property is not in the same condition as it was when you purchased it. A pipe froze and flooded it. What recourse do you have?
- You closed on the property quickly and let Mr. Seller stay for an extra month or two so he could find a rental. Mr. Seller doesn’t own the property anymore and doesn’t care if his dog has an accident or his friend spills red wine on your carpet. What recourse do you have?
- After you close on the property you find out that it has flooded several times. The neighbors tell you that Utah Disaster Clean Up was at the house twice last winter. You didn’t ask for a Seller’s Disclosure and Mr. Seller never mentioned any of this. Now you have mold. What recourse do you have?
These are examples of typical problems good buyers agents deal with on a regular basis. I sold 20 houses last year. Most non-real estate agents do not complete more than one real estate transaction in a single year and do not have the training, experience, insight or access to the documents that trained real estate agents have. Any one of the above examples could easily cost way more than a buyer’s agent commission (which is typically paid for by the seller anyway). So,why wouldn’t you use a buyer’s agent?