The Home Ownership Thread

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Douglas, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. Fred G. Unn

    Fred G. Unn Senior member

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    We're hosting Thanksgiving this year so we were remodeling the kitchen a bit. New appliances, new countertop, and I was trying to finish putting up wainscotting in the breakfast area before my in-laws arrive today. I was close to being done when my Dozuki saw slipped and hit my knuckle. A trip to the ER at midnight and a few stitches later and I'm fine but wainscotting looks ridiculous with the areas around the window trim missing. Grrr. In-laws arriving in a few hours.
     
  2. jbarwick

    jbarwick Senior member

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    Went and looked at a house last night. I realized a big thing that I need to clarify with the real estate agent before looking at other houses:

    1. Are there renters in the property?
    2. Is the owner local?

    The reason these two items are important is that renters may treat the house like shit and if the owner is not local, this issue will not be addressed. The house I looked at was nice in pictures but the renters started damaging things throughout the house. The price is also in a high range of what I would expect from that sort of property so I was straight with the agent and said if the price dropped $70K I would be interested but I am going to have to put that much into the house to get it where I would expect it to be for that price.

    -Garage was an addition but not insulated
    -Kitchen has peal and stick tile
    -HUGE carport that served no purpose for cars anymore
    -Pool in need of some TLC
    -One room needed renovated as it had knotty pine walls
    -Refinishing of hardwoods throughout
    -Master bedroom had this weird wavy type wood flooring that looked awful

    I am sure if we purchased and dug in we would find more but those were the initial cosmetics I saw. We are continuing to look but we loved this ones location.
     
  3. Ataturk

    Ataturk Senior member

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    Is a seller's agent likely to actually tell you whether the seller is local? I would think disclosing that would harm their negotiating position.

    I have a sort of amusing story on those lines. The seller's agent for the house I bought last year lied about where the seller lived (she claimed the lady was local when she actually had moved a thousand miles away) -- oh, and of course the agent didn't mention she had cancer and was getting divorced. I was kind of conflicted about whether I should feel bad for taking advantage of the lady or should have offered less.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  4. jbarwick

    jbarwick Senior member

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    It helped him explain why the place was messy. We are in Nashville and the seller lives in Denver. Also he mentioned the seller was a friend which I do not like as there is a little conflict of interest. Who gets screwed more in the deal, us or the seller?
     
  5. random-adam

    random-adam Senior member

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    You aren't using a buyer's agent?
     
  6. jbarwick

    jbarwick Senior member

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    Nope. I don't want someone hounding me to purchase a house I don't think is perfect just so they can get a commission. Who cares if they know about a house a few days earlier than I can...doesn't seem worth it.
     
  7. VLSI

    VLSI Senior member

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    Use redfin. I was really pleased with their service. You're basically left on your own to find and request viewings. When you want something, they'll help you with the negotiations. They just want to process as many people as possible and won't bother with you until you want something. You may or may not like that approach, but it sounds like you would.
     
  8. random-adam

    random-adam Senior member

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    I agree with the above. If you're at all concerned about conflict of interest, it is most useful to go through somebody who doesn't have the seller's best interests at heart.

    Our buyer's agent was the father of a childhood friend, so "hounding" wasn't a concern -- and we ended up with a house listed at $250k for $210k thanks to his negotiating strategy. It was well worth it.
     
  9. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    My daughter and her husband used a Redfin agent. I was very impressed by how straightforward and objective he was. None of the drama that many agents have. Especially agents who act like "this is my territory, I know best".
     
  10. JohnGalt

    JohnGalt Senior member

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    so just be careful with who you select - find someone you trust with solid references. I'm a firm believer that a buyer's agent is a big help.
     
  11. jbarwick

    jbarwick Senior member

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    Thanks for the information everyone. Redfin seems to not be in Nashville yet so I cannot use them. Seems like a great service though and I wish it was here.
     
  12. 1wb

    1wb Senior member

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    Respectfully, you might want to consider whether you really possess the experience and expertise in residential real estate to go it alone.

    First of all, any decent buyer's agent isn't going to hound you, he or she is going to help you find the right house and navigate the entire purchase process.

    Second, it doesn't cost you anything - you aren't paying the commission to your buyer's agent, the seller is. If you buy without an agent, the listing broker is going to be paid the entire 5% or whatever commission without splitting it to pay a broke commission. You won't be getting a discount. Any listing agent would love to have you make an offer without an agent - except that they will be dealing directly with you rather than an agent.

    Finally, the purchase process involves a lot of work and detail you may not have thought of. Offer, counteroffers, bidding war - do you have a plan and strategy to ensure that your offer is the right price? The right price doesn't matter solely in terms of getting the best deal for yourself, a knowledgeable buyer's agent will help you make sure your offer is something that will appraise out so that you can get financing. Will you be checking in regularly with the listing broker to make sure that all is proceeding to plan, e.g., any items that come up requiring repair after home inspection, making sure smoke detector inspection and final meter readings with all utilities are all set, coordinating a final walk-through, etc.?

    Again, no disrepect intended, but in my opinion, any buyer would be crazy not to work with a good agent. And no, I am not a broker.
     
  13. Ataturk

    Ataturk Senior member

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    Yes, the listing agent will get the whole commission if you don't have an agent--unless she agrees to take less, which she probably will to sell the house. The seller's agent will also be very nice to you, especially at first, because she thinks she's going to get twice her ordinary commission.

    If your state allows it, you can do dual agency, where the seller's agent represents both parties -- if the seller agrees. This probably disadvantages the seller more than the buyer, and, again, you can often get the agent to take less of a commission.

    Obviously you shouldn't go without an agent if you're unsophisticated or inexperienced. But if you've bought a house with an agent you probably have most of it figured out.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  14. VLSI

    VLSI Senior member

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    On the other hand, wouldn't it actually be in the seller's agent's best interest to look out for the buyer in this situation? It's their only opportunity to get twice the commission, assuming everyone else is using their own agent. Therefore, while unethical, it would make sense that the agent may persuade the seller to take a lower than reasonable offer because they know they will still get paid more.
     
  15. aravenel

    aravenel Senior member

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    The point is that a broker makes his money on the sale. He is incentivized to complete the sale as quickly as possible so that he can move onto the next. That is at odds with the buyer who is making possibly the largest purchase of his life, one that he will also be living in for many years, and who may be looking for just the right thing before committing.

    This is not to say that having a buyer's broker is always a bad idea, but it *is* structured poorly for the buyer. You're relying entirely on the agent being a good person, not on any sort of mutual interest.
     

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