By SARAH WARD
Many buyers think the real estate process is pretty straight forward: sign a few papers and move-in. I want to take the opportunity this month to make clear that the residential real estate process is actually quite involved with many potential traps to avoid.
I was working with a buyer recently who in the end used his newly-licensed friend for buyer representation. He bought a small house last year and during the recent rains, he experienced some roof leaks and was wondering what he could do. I asked if his friend-agent organized a roof inspection and his answer was “no.” I asked if his friend ordered a fireplace inspection or sewer line inspection and the answer once again was “no.” As a note, I typically order multiple types of inspections depending on the property condition and type.
Having spent the last 10 years in the real estate business, in my strong opinion, the vast number of licensed real estate agents have minimal training and experience with what they are doing. I see mistakes on the other side of transactions constantly.
Just yesterday, I reviewed a property disclosure form with multiple mistakes such as the condo was not identified as a “condo” and the form noted there had been no insurance claims even though there was an invoice provided for an insurance claim!
I don’t intend this column to be tooting my own horn, but I want to make it clear that using an inexperienced agent or untrained agent can lead to expensive problems down the road for both buyers and sellers. I believe that a large percentage of agents out there sadly fall in this category. They are licensed but not well trained and do not properly represent their clients in very complicated transactions.
At the end of the telephone conversation with the above mentioned buyer, I suggested he seek financial compensation from his friend’s broker for potential negligence. In my opinion, that agent failed to behave with the level of care that an agent of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. Financial compensation can be typically achieved through simple mediation or arbitration.
Some examples of what myself and the 20% of highly trained agents out there consider on behalf of our buyers is the integrity of the structure, including electrical, plumbing, and roof. We check the garage floor and exterior for potential cracks in the slab. We consider the neighborhood itself, crime rates and traffic patterns for example. We look at such things as drainage issues with the slope of the adjacent lots and we look at the lot itself, whether it’s a cut lot or fill lot (makes a big difference in settling issues).
The bottom line is that there is quite a bit to consider and think about in a real estate transaction and I suggest avoiding a newly licensed “friend or family” agent, or agents who spend most of their time on marketing and not on contracts, negotiation, and property condition. There are very good agents out there but I believe they are the exception. For my sellers, I put together a full disclosure file for ultimate protection from future problems. Call me for a no-obligation consultation on buying or selling residential real estate here in San Diego.
For single family homes in the College Area, 92115, the year over year increase in the median home price hit $689,000 with homes selling in an average of only 29 days and with a ridiculously low 12 homes on the market.
The 92119 area of San Carlos hit a median home price of $770,000 with only six days on the market and only nine homes on the market! (Back in the day, there would sometimes be over 100 homes for sale at any one time.)
Finally, in the 92120 area, the year over year median home price jumped to $849,000 with 14 days on the market and an only 10 homes for sale in the entire zip-code! Inventory is low!
One last word I touched on last month is that another $1.9 trillion in stimulus money is expected to contribute to a weakened dollar and further rising home prices. Buyers, the time is now to buy a property to protect yourself from the coming inflation train. Call me.
— Sarah Ward is arealto with Fine& Coastal Real Estate. Reach her at email@example.com, or by calling 858-431-6043.