After chatting with Frank Cegelski on WXXI 1370 Connection last Wednesday, I’m convinced that there is a giant fence somewhere out there in Rochester, NY. And sitting on that fence are potential home buyers, struggling to make a decision about arguably the most important financial decision of their lives. I want to address those people on the fence. No matter who is on the fence (you, a family member, a friend), I offer you this advice … get off of it, and talk to a Realtor.
There are three misconceptions in the home-buying process that you need to understand to get off that fence.
Misconception #1: “I don’t need a real estate agent; I can use Zillow or something like that.”
Facts: Using a real estate agent has several benefits, the first of which is that they are looking out for your best interests. Imagine having your own Jerry Maguire shouting to the seller of the house, “Show me the money!” Great real estate buyer agents want to make sure their clients get the best deal possible. Not only that, but, unlike Zillow, real estate agents have an in-depth understanding of the community and the market. If you have questions, a person can answer them better than a website. Can the 18-year-old engineer for a real estate website, sitting in his cubicle in Cupertino, tell you that the house you are considering purchasing in Rochester, NY, has a hole in the roof? The answer to that is, quite simply, no.
Misconception #2: “If I don’t get an agent, I won’t have to pay an agent. That gives me a financial advantage.”
Facts: Actually, a buyer’s agent won’t cost you anything. Typically, on every house for sale, there is a six percent commission available, and it is the seller’s responsibility to pay that. If there is only an agent on the seller’s side, that person receives the full six percent commission when the sale consummates. Talk about a nice Christmas gift.
If you have an agent, and the deal is done, it is the seller’s job to pay your agent’s commission (usually half of the six percent). Therefore, you have nothing financially to lose by hiring an agent.
Misconception #3: “I’m just looking. I’m not really in the home-buying process yet.”
Facts: At the end of the day, the home-buying process is one of the most emotional experiences you’ll ever go through. One open house will turn into 10, and the process will be like a whirlwind, much akin to a tornado. Before you know it, you’re signing on the dotted line and you’ve drastically over paid or missed an important detail.
As real estate agents, our responsibility is to be a shoulder to cry on, a wall to bounce ideas off of and to get the best deal possible for you. We understand the emotion and we make sure our clients don’t enter a vortex of indecision.
It’s not just the vortex of indecision that can haunt a buyer, but a bad decision altogether. Buying a house is an emotional process and you can’t get caught up in it. A real estate agent can make sure you’re following the right process from beginning to end.
Final Thought: It’s time to jump off the fence. If you have any thoughts of buying a house next year, start talking to an agent today.
Shameless Plug: First-time homebuyer? We’re having an event at 80 Westminster Road on January 22 from 5:30 to 7:30pm. The speakers will talk about the entire home-buying process and take your questions. All the while, you can eat food catered by Green Zebra. We hope to see you there!