This week we put a house under contract, pushed a short sale further down the road, started homework on a listing, tried to assist two clients whose transactions are hung up because they are dealing with the wrong lawyers, and did some more videos—typical kind of week here! The one video that I gave a lot of thought to this week was a re-write of one we have produced before about choosing a Realtor. It will be in our pay per view library for first time homebuyers at our soon to be launched site, Straight Talk Realty University coming at strealtyu.com.
My Christian walk represents an important part of my life and daily activities. Many folks, identifying themselves as Christ followers go around speaking harsh words and meting out harsh judgments. I find that 180 degrees from what our guiding book calls for. We are supposed to support and encourage one another. We are to bring light to dark places, not stand on the sidelines and cast a shadow! Deb and I do lots of things to live this philosophy out. We facilitate a weekly study group that comes together to learn and grow, support each other, share concerns and bounce our challenges off our piers for their input. Each of us in that group has people whose lives we speak that collective wisdom into, whether it is our kids, friends or co-workers. I also meet monthly with three other guys. In both forums this week the discussion of the mentoring process took the front row seat.
Hunched over a table, munching on chips and the Chef’s special salsa in my favorite restaurant, Casa Ramos, we all chuckled about our grey hair status and the fact that the “world was no longer ours but was being transferred to the next generation.” A serious vein of discussion was the same as the home study group: we were all committed to being mentors in some fashion as we all went through a phase in our younger years where we would have really benefited from having a solid mentor providing information and wisdom into our lives.
For me, that is what the teaching videos I will be distributing through strealtyu are all about. In the “Choosing a Realtor” video, I use this illustration. We have all heard about a case where the sharp Lawyer had some client they guided past tough spots and left them standing without a scratch because of their knowledge and skills. We want to hook people up with Realtor’s who do the same thing! Particularly in these times, real estate transactions have a lot of “quick sand” traps. We want to mentor you to the point you find a Realtor that steers you around them. We identified five areas where a Realtor’s knowledge and wisdom can protect you from getting bogged down: 1. financial review, 2. property valuation, 3.neighborhood knowledge, 4. construction problems/flaws, and 5. transaction documents. We are not implying that Realtors are experts in all these areas. We are saying those serious about their profession equip themselves with knowledge to recognize challenges in these areas and resource solutions. Sometimes said: your Realtor should be your source of the source!
Good Realtors can walk clients through an analysis of their financial reality in preparation for buying. They can help you understand if a lender is likely to qualify you to buy a home, how much you can pay and your range of monthly payment. A good realtor can give guidance on how to overcome credit challenges blocking your path. Finally Relators need team members who are mortgage originators able to meet client’s specific needs and prepare your needed prequalification form.
Adrenaline runs high when it comes time to make an Offer! Your Realtor has to be the level head! You want them to do accurate research so you know what your competitive buyers in the market will probably pay. If you want the home badly enough to overpay, you need be in the position of making an “informed decision” and understand the consequences of your decision.
Your Realtor’s knowledge should be able to suggest to you neighborhoods that speak to your concerns and life style. Understand that several guidelines are in place in the form of statutes, rules and ethics codes that the Realtor must follow to protect everyone’s rights and concerns. These keep Realtors from providing some clients many forms of discriminatory information about neighborhoods. The point being that you cannot expect a Realtor to participate in activities that interfere with other’s rights but you can expect your Realtor to identify shopping, cultural, and recreational characteristics that comprise the type of neighborhood you want to live in!
Particularly in this market where many homes have been owned by folks in the unfortunate economic position of not being able to maintain these homes, construction issues can become major issues. Good Realtors educate themselves to spot the signs of problems like mold, water damage, and tell-tale signs of equipment failure or fatigue. They have team mates to suggest who can provide home warranties or inspections that will protect the homebuyer from these construction flaws.
Then there is that ton of paper work that goes with buying a home! Particularly people going through it for the first time can find it overwhelming. For us practitioners, it becomes a routine flow. Our challenge lies in keeping the buyer involved and informed. Title documents need to be understood so title gets conveyed as per buyer’s intention. Loan docs need to be checked to alert the buyer if something seems unusual. The all-important HUD 1 paints an arithmetic picture of your transaction. Your Realtor’s review and understanding are required if they in turn are going to be able to alert you of possible concerns!
Summarized from a slightly different focus, people need people around them committed to serve and promote their interests instead of selfishly concentrating on their own! Any buyer, particularly a first time buyer, needs and deserves a Realtor looking to serve them and guide them. That’s what good Realtor’s do to collect a paycheck! That sounds idealistic and in many ways it is but that represents the way God made this world to operate.
We can easily see how things go amuck when this approach does not control. Our world is in a real mess because selfish people have pursued their selfish concerns rather than serving those they were entrusted to serve. Politicians and bankers should know what I am talking about! Remembering my own earlier words to be a light bearer, rather than a shadow caster, the good news is this! The fix is really simple. Collectively, we need to all concentrate on how we can all help each other on this life journey, whether that means sharing a mentor’s wisdom or just doing a good job of serving a client, our family and friends as we all strive for the common goal of living life to its best!
Check out Lamplighteraz.com to contact Gene at his real estate brokerage, Lamplighter Realty. Keep your eyes peeled for the launch of Straight Talk Realty University at strealtyu.com. God Bless!