Searching for homes on the internet is usually enjoyable right? Yes, but, you should be aware of a few things before you get excited with your home search and call any agent to show you the home!
1. Pictures don’t always portray the actual condition/size of the home. If there are no or few photos, there is a reason and it’s probably because the home is in poor shape and does not show well online or the listing agent is cheap or lazy. A listing agent’s goal is always to get you to visit the property in person. Cheap quality photos or none at all do no good for anyone!
2. Words, such as “needs a little TLC”, “a diamond in the rough”, or cozy usually it means it needs more work than you think; the home could even could be a total fixer-upper. If the home was in decent shape, most agents are not going to mention anything about the condition in the property information. They would instead showcase the better features about the property, such as “tile throughout, recently replaced roof, or remodeled throughout.” Also, when it is tough to get a copy of a seller’s disclosure notice from the listing agent or it appears the sellers spent about 60 seconds filling it out, it may mean someone is trying to hide something!
3. “Previous foundation work, home comes with a transferable warranty!” Here is where agent knowledge and experience come into play. Most agents and buyers jump for joy if a home comes with a transferable warranty for foundation repairs. There is much, much more info that needs to be gathered, most agents and buyers don’t know this!! North Texas soil is conducive to shifting and settling, proceed with caution!!
4. Oh, and let’s not forget about the roof! When you hear it has a “NEW” roof, don’t jump for joy like some agents do. This is where your agent should ask the listing agent for a copy of the invoice (I want to see what roofing company did the job; roofing companies do not have to be licensed and registered in the State of Texas), there “should” be a roof warranty as well. Lastly, you should have a different roofing company inspect the roof, because some roofing companies don’t know what they are doing! You don’t want your “NEW” roof to leak shortly after moving in!
5. In times like these where homes usually sell fast, homes online may show ACTIVE and available for sale when they are already under contract. There may be several reasons for this, including the agent has not updated the status in the local MLS yet. Or… they have, but the website provider has not pulled the most recent listing information into their site. In many cases, the reason is usually the latter. Many home search websites don’t pull listing updates real-time, hourly or even daily. Thus, it’s important you do find a good agent who has direct access to the multiple listing service so they can pull the information and send you the most recent listing status. The agent should also send you new listings as they come new to the market so you never miss a listing that may fit your wants and needs.
6. If you register on websites for property information, expect that you may receive a call or email within minutes from not just one agent, but possibly several agents. Interview each agent! You don’t want just a warm body to open a door because once an agent opens a door, they just set up cause to earn the commission on that home sale – whether they write the offer for you or not. Be sure to ask how long they have been in real estate and how often they take training to further enhance their knowledge; you can verify what they tell you by going to the Texas Real Estate Commission website, typing in their name and viewing how long they have been in real estate and how much training they take on a routine basis. Not only that, an agent should put your best interests first and provide the very best in customer service.
Here are questions you should ask agents regarding your home search:
Can I make an offer on a home without seeing a seller’s disclosure notice? The answer is “yes”, but they should not recommend it.
Can you set up a foreclosure property search for me in the MLS? If they say “yes”, they are wrong. Foreclosures are NOT listed in the MLS, they are auctioned off on the courthouse steps in the county in which they are located.
If you have an agent show you a home, while they are showing it to you, watch to see if they point out good features and bad features of the home; If they don’t point out any bad features, do you really want to have them represent you in a huge financial transaction?
Do you attend the home inspection back-brief (where you meet the inspector at the home so they can report their inspection findings)? If they say “no”, they are not representing you well and may not have your best interests in mind!
When may I contact you for questions? If they say “up until 6 or 7 p.m. and only on weekdays”, do you want them representing you? Real Estate is a 24/7 profession, it is not a 9-5 job; therefore, if you need to reach your agent, they should generally be available within reason.
Do you attend closings with your clients? If they say “no”, once again, are they really representing you?
When you want the very best in knowledge, experience and professionalism, call me at 214-872-0400 or e-mail me at MBrownstead@msn.com. I would like to speak with you about your home search!
Providing Solutions Because…Your Move Matters!
Michael L. Brownstead, ABR, GRI, MRP, SRS
Keller Williams Realty 1002 Raintree Cir., Ste. 100
Allen, TX 75013