Friday, August 10, 2012

On The Market

When making the choice to move, it was more important to us that we find the right property first, and sell our old property later. Moving is expensive and difficult, so you don't want to be forced into whatever you can find that's available within 30 days while your current house is in escrow. Plus, if you are buying and selling, you somehow have to get escrow for the house you buy to wrap up before escrow for the house you are selling ends, so that you can move right in without interim arrangements like staying in hotel and leaving your stuff in storage. Since we were a packaged deal with two adult children, three horses, two dogs, and 50 years of personal possessions, it wasn't as simple as renting an apartment or house for six months or a year until we found the right home. Moving twice was not an option. We had to find the right home first and take a gamble that we could cover the costs of two mortgages and utilities until the old house sold.

I did not have the time to interview more than one real estate agent, and I admit that some red flags flew up during our conversation. He was a very sweet man with a pleasant demeanor who reminded me of Santa Claus -- that white beard, jolly smile and rosy cheeks. I explained to him that I needed someone who could take care of the property while I was out of state. I needed someone who would report back to me on the condition of the property. I would hire a gardening service, but would need help watering all of our lawns since some were not hooked up to the sprinkler system due to limits on the water pressure, while others were on a sprinkler system, but certain patches didn't get enough coverage and would die if not hand-watered occasionally.

He assured me that he would handle it. He said that he was the landlord of several properties in my area, and drove past my house every day, so it wouldn't be any problem to turn on or turn off a hose now and then. I also explained that I would be having workers coming in and out of the house to paint and install a new carpet, and he would need to make arrangements to let them in. I would rely on his eyes and judgment on whether or not they did a satisfactory job. He said that wasn't a problem. He managed contractors all the time.

He sounded like a dream right up until I told him the story of one real estate agent who had my parent's house on the market for a year and got no activity, and once my parents switched to another real estate agent, the house was sold within a week. His response was, “I don't know why. The house just goes into the same database. It really shouldn't matter who the agent is.”

(Long pause.)

I had been working with another real estate agent in Arizona to buy a house for several months at this point, and if it weren't for her always going to bat for me and digging her heels in when necessary, I would have never been able to buy that house. The sellers tossed up obstacles at every turn, and this real estate agent acted more like my personal attorney, constantly fighting for my rights. She was a gem and I even go out to lunch with her every once in a while now, long after the deal closed, because she's the type of person I want to keep as a friend.

Granted, representing a buyer is different from representing a seller, but the reason why that one agent was able to sell my parent's house within a week was because he was proactive. He called or met with every other agent in the valley, asking if they had any clients who were looking for a patio home on an HOA. Within a couple of days of signing the contract to represent my parents, he had some serious buyers on his radar, and a few days later the written offer arrived. So, real estate agents do matter. They do make a difference. You can't just dump some information into the MLS database and expect it to work for you while you sleep... or drink and watch sports on TV all day, as I soon found out seemed to be the case with Santa Claus.


Katharine Swan said...

You are absolutely right. In fact, I think his comment illustrates exactly WHY he hasn't been able to sell your house: Because he thinks all that's required is to put the listing in the database.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

This guy's a joke. I'm surprised he was able to get his license and keep it. It should be revoked!


achieve1dream said...

I can't stand stupid people and he is definitely one of them.