Buying or selling a home is an emotional thing. Real estate professionals such as your real estate agent, loan officer, and real estate attorney (if you’re in a state that requires a real estate attorney for all real estate transactions) that you decide to work with should be using their expertise to help make the process go as smooth as possible. Most of these professionals love helping people and will go the extra mile to help you close on the house that you love! Unfortunately, this is not true for everyone who works in the real estate industry.
I go through the daily obstacle of overcoming my new client’s perspective and preconceived notions of the real estate buying and selling process. With the rise of HGTV, online real estate “Get Rich Quick” schemes and talking to friends and family members who’ve purchased homes before, their information, unfortunately, isn’t always correct or reliable. We are in a time of “information overload” which makes it hard for some people to heed the advice of trusted professionals. I’m here to tell you some REAL red flags that should make you seek a second opinion or use another professional to help you with your real estate sale or purchase.
Real Estate Sales Agents
Can: Real Estate Agents can market and advertise your home and assist with the contract paperwork required to close. They can provide a market analysis, which is hard data of properties that have sold to determine value and market trends. They can provide website links, contacts to community information, and contact information for real estate related professionals that they know or their past clients have used.
Cannot: Real Estate Agents cannot provide legal advice (unless they are also a practicing lawyer and disclose that to you up front), comment on racial or economic makeup in a neighborhood, comment if a school is good or bad, tell you the monthly mortgage payment of a home (unless they are a licensed loan officer and disclose that to you up front), get any referral fees or kickbacks from home inspectors, loan officers etc.
Can: Loan Officers can provide you with a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter for the mortgage products that you qualify for based upon your credit score, debt to income ratios, income, etc. They can provide you estimates of the monthly mortgage payment on a specific property with the price of the home, property taxes, and HOA or additional fees to the property.
Cannot: They cannot tell you what to bid on a home, if a property asking price is too high, what a “good deal or not a good deal” is when you are pursuing a home, what closing cost credits are the “norm” when submitting an offer, or any information as to how you should bid on a property. They should not contradict what your real estate agent is suggesting your bid on a home be.
Can: Home Inspectors can inspect a home and point out areas of concern such as shingles missing from the roof, outlets that are not GFCI near water outlets, signs of possible leaks and other signs of damage that may need to be investigated further, point out any health and safety issues that they find during their inspection.
Cannot: Home Inspectors cannot rovide estimates of work needed to be done to the property and fix any items on site.
Real Estate Attorneys
Can: Real Estate Attorneys can review all contracts, disclosures, HOA documents and financials, review the home inspection report with you to address repairs that you would like to be taken care of, communicate with the other attorney, handle tax issues and any other documentation regarding the sale of the property.
Cannot: Real Estate Attorneys cannot advise you on how much to bid on a home, advise you on “current” real estate brokerage and lender fees, advise you on the amount of closing cost credits needed to close on the loan, advise you on neighborhood ethnic and financial profile, and comment on the “reputation and or gossip” concerning the all the real estate professionals assisting with the sale of the property.
People are not perfect but we should all strive to hold our work ethic and respect for all professionals involved in the sale of a home. Buyers and Sellers, please remember that everyone in the transaction is working FOR you. If you encounter your agent, lender, and/or attorney bad mouthing the transaction and/or other people involved, you might see this as a “red flag”. Buying and selling a home is a simple transaction and the amount of stress minimized if everyone focuses on their role in the transaction and is supportive in helping to bring the transaction to closure. The goal is to help someone sell a home and help someone buy a home, it’s not about anyone’s personal opinion according to their beliefs and/or if they like them as a person or not. It’s about the clients and the transaction. Let’s stay focused on helping our clients and hold ourselves to higher professional standards.
Written By: Shena Omotola, Dream Home Specialist & Broker Owner of Skyward Realty – Skyward Realty services Chicago, Suburbs, and Northwest Indiana
P.S. Feel free to email me any questions. I’m always here to help. Check out my recent resources for first time home buyers and sellers.
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