East Cobb Home-buyer Mistakes You Really Don’t Want To Repeat!
Hire An Expert…it costs no more than settling for a generalist – and can save a ton of money and headaches!
Real world examples of what can happen if you try to be “your own Broker” …or simply settle for an agent you know, or that your corporate relo folks refer you to without vetting them and comparing them against other agents! Trust me, as a real estate insider I can assure you these things (and worse) happen to unsuspecting buyers every day. At the end of the day, the wise move is to partner with the most experienced realtor you can find, and avoid any tendency to just settle for an acquaintance.
If “Dr. House” were a realtor, I can hear it now: “those buyers were idiots for dealing directly with a builders agent on their own and deserve all the hassles and pain coming their way!”
House is right but I will say it a little differently – “those buyers assumed real estate transactions are something anyone can do – and that is not the case, especially with new home transactions. They simply didn’t know what they didn’t know.”
These Following Real Examples Are For Instructional Purposes, Actual Builder & Buyer Names Are Not Revealed
Case # 1:
We Bought A Brand New Home Without an Agent – And It’s Going Badly!
I ran across this homebuyer nightmare in December 2012 while photographing new home development activity in East Cobb for my various East Cobb website blogs.
While out shooting photos in several new home developments in East Cobb, I ran across three workers busting the brick off the exterior of a brand new $500K home with sledgehammers! The site super told me the relocating owner who apparently drove down one weekend and bought the home without an agent, (repeat after me – not a wise decision) and not caring for the builders planned brick color, selected a different color brick. Somehow that little detail got lost in translation between the sales agent in the model home (the builders agent) and the builder, the end result being the entire house (3 sides) was bricked with the wrong color brick! That one mistake cost the builder over $60K and has delayed the owner from moving down to Atlanta by over a month! Ouch! I wonder if the buyers had to put their stuff in storage and move into a month to month apartment?
I have no idea if resulting damage will occur (or has already occurred) from the brick demo work as bricks crash down onto the roof decks below (or if any resulting damage will be covered up by the builders contractors) but unfortunately I am not representing that buyer, so they will not be benefiting from any of the unmatched due-diligence services I provide to each buyer client – such as complimentary site visits and new home construction monitoring that I provide to all my clients who are building new homes.
To be sure, even if the above buyer had used any ordinary agent of their choice, this costly mess would still have happened. Preventing this type issue is routine for me, but well beyond the scope of abilities, services, or responsibilities of all regular agents and realtors.
Dream Home Finally Found…Wrong Dream – Backing Out Of The Deal!
This is a case in which I was personally involved in early December 2012, (unfortunately in the capacity of a building inspector rather than the purchasers buyer broker) wherein the buyer had to make the unpleasant decision to terminate her purchase transaction after eyeing a home for many months.
Having to back out of a real estate purchase transaction can be risky, especially with new home builder contracts, and it is frustrating and never any fun, but this one was particularly bad because of the circumstances. This buyer, a new acquaintance of my wife’s, already had a buyers agent she had worked with for months and therefore felt “obligated” to continue using that agent, (which is why I wasn’t representing her). What makes this situation so bad is how emotionally invested this buyer had become in this property over an extended period of time. She had been eyeing this particular home for over three months before she felt she had enough research under her belt (a red flag in and of itself) in order to finally conclude it was the best deal available and that she should move forward with an offer. It is surprising this property was still there after over 90 days.
This buyer learned I was an ICC Certified Building Inspection Expert (in addition to being a licensed GA Real Estate Broker/Owner) and asked me to do her home inspection. I don’t do fee paid inspections anymore but agreed because it was my wife’s friend. During the home inspection, I discovered a defect (which on the surface most folks would assume had been properly handled) but due to a host of things that did not jive, I advised further analysis by a licensed expert in the field. My hunch proved right as the item was determined not properly taken care of, and in fact posed a health hazard to the occupants.
You might ask, what could I have done to improve this situation for the buyer – how could I have affected the outcome in a more positive way – what would I have done that ordinary agents can’t? Many things but I will list just two basics regarding how I would have handled this example.
First, it has never taken me anything close to 90+ days to find my client a home they liked enough to make an offer on. Taking that long to slowly sift through the market means one of two things – your agent doesn’t know what they are doing, or your expectations as the buyer are out of alignment with market realities ie, you want a 6000 sq ft, 3 car garage, 4 sided brick, custom-built home with finished basement in East Cobb or Alpharetta’s best school districts for $400K – not going to happen even in the market crash years of 2009 to 2013, the best market in recent history! Regardless of the reason or reasons in this case, it should not have taken 90 plus days to prove to the buyer that this is or isn’t “the one” so the buyer could be comfortable enough to make a timely decision to act – or move on.
Second, and this is really first – as a Licensed Broker/Owner who is also qualified as a ICC Certified Building Inspection and New Home Construction Expert with over 20 years experience, I provide a complimentary pre-purchase building analysis of every home my buyer clients are interested in, before we even consider an offer – so way back in August, I would have informed the buyer about this problem and they could have moved on months ago. I am not faulting this agent for the defect mind you, because agents are not qualified to look for and analyse technical building defects and structural faults some of which are invisible to the untrained eye. I do fault the agent for the amount of time wasted. I have helped many out-of-state and even foreign buyers who had never been to Atlanta locate their ideal homes in as little as 1 week and the maximum time required in over 18 years has been 6 weeks.
If you prefer to avoid painful outcomes and unnecessary drama like these examples, and countless others I can cite – the solution is simple:
1. If you don’t have an ordinary agent, (very smart) contact me.
2. If you do have an ordinary agent and feel obligated to use them – shame on you – your first priority should be what is best for you and your family – not some agent – give them $500 if it makes you feel better, *fire them in writing, and then contact me.
* If you never signed a Buyer Brokerage Agreement, you may think you have an agent but legally you don’t – the agent has merely left you exposed to unnecessary risks on so many levels by not representing you! The good thing, all you need to do is say thanks for the “help” but I have decided to hire an expert who would have never allowed me to go unrepresented all this time! (Or however you prefer to say goodbye!)