In 2009 my wife and I were recently married and looking for our first home. We had prepared over the previous year to be in this position, and we finally had our pre-approval letter in hand. We naturally mentioned our home search to our friends, co-workers and family, and a few of them had made helpful suggestions and recommendations for realtors. We were grateful, but we were both in agreement that we did not want to deal with a salesman until we knew which house we wanted to buy.
We used different brokers’ websites in order to get our list for the weekend drives and open houses. Shortly after getting our pre approval letter and filling out open house sign-in sheets, it’s like these goons came out of the woodwork! Every couple days we would get phone calls from someone reading a script trying to solicit their services as buyer’s agents. We eventually stopped signing the open house sheets, but these guys and gals were not ashamed of calling with the same questions over and over, as if they forgot I already spoke to them and repeatedly asked to be removed from their lists!
They tried to convince me I needed an agent over and over, but I just couldn’t get past being treated like an uneducated child by using pompous scripts. Mind you, I’m the guy at retail stores who avoids making eye contact with any salesperson, because I already know what I want before I pull in the parking lot! I do my research long before I walk in the door, and I DO NOT like to be sold, if I have a question I will find you, I say.
Well, after months of doing our own searching and not finding the right house, we finally asked a family member to help us out. He had been a realtor for a couple years and I knew he was a laid back guy. I wasn’t concerned about his lack of 20+ years’ experience, I had read online somewhere that newer agents can sometimes be the perfect fit since they have less clients to juggle, and most importantly they have something to prove. We both knew we didn’t want anything close to what we had been dealing with when going to open houses or with those stupid phone calls we’d been getting for months!
We decided to give him a chance. Even though we were very familiar with what was on the market at the time, he was able to find a few that were not on the sites we were searching. We still couldn’t find something where we could have instant equity that was in a nice neighborhood and close to the freeways. This went on for another month or so until our realtor presented an alternative option. If we found a house we could rehab, he had a financing solution since we did not have $10-20K to fix a place up. The solution was in getting a home where that fit the criteria for a 203K loan.
This type of financing allowed for home improvements that had to be done by a licensed contractor within the proper guidelines of adding value to the property in the eyes of the appraisers. With this new approach, we began to search the market with a fresh set of opportunity goggles. This did not take long! Within a week or so, we were able to find the perfect opportunity in a great location. We made our offer of $55k and had begun figuring out how we were going to fix this dump up.
When we first walked through the home, it’s like I could see past all of the disgusting conditions. It was in every sense of the word “gross” from the ceilings to the floors. But, I could see the new paint, floors, doors, fixtures, countertops, and bathrooms. Our realtor found a solid contractor to walk through and quote our remodel, and then supplied that quote to the lender who scheduled the appraiser. We ended getting an additional $17K rolled into our mortgage, long story short and 4 months later our home was complete, and we were finally homeowners. Essentially we got everything we could hope for in our price range and ended up with $20K of instant equity.
This was all because we found an exceptional and personable realtor, someone who cared about helping us find what we were looking for. He was patient and helped educate us when we had questions and most importantly, he gave us space and time when we needed it. He found a creative way to solve our problem of finding the perfect home. When we were able to move from a 720 sq. ft. apartment paying $850 a month, into a 1300 sq. ft. home for less than our rent with no more nosey apartment neighborsJ we just couldn’t have been happier!
To this day I still dislike salesman and realtors in general, ironic I know. But I believe I can help change this industry one problem at a time, and that people ought to be treated like people, not just a commission check. All in all, this is just another example of why I decided to be realtor. I want to duplicate my personal experience by caring, helping, and being creative enough to solve the problems many people face every day, whether buying or selling their homes.
I absolutely refuse to be a pest or to follow in the steps of the big shot realtors who specialize in harassing the public and begging for business. I will continue to build a reputation of being helpful and solving the riddles of real estate for my clients. I am in this service industry for the long haul and I believe an agent ought to an asset not an ass and to have character instead of just being one,
Until next time,