Navigating a real estate transaction

This post is going to be kind of boring for anyone who wants to read about beauty, fashion, or subscription boxes. It is a tip though and speaks to the importance of knowing who your real estate agent, reading your contract and not being afraid on insisting that they represent you well.

We listed our home for sale a few months ago. My husband selected our real estate agent based on feedback from someone he used to work with, so we felt comfortable with this agent knowing she had worked with someone he knew previously.

Mistake Number One
While word of mouth is a great first step in finding a real estate agent, it is also important to do further homework. After running into some major issues with our agent, I decided to look into her a little bit further. In California, the Department of Consumer Affairs  – Bureau of Real Estate actually provides consumers with the ability to check the license of a real estate agent.

Why is this important? I discovered after plugging our agent’s real estate license number in that she is working on a restricted license. This essentially means that she is on probation for previous wrong-doing.

Mistake Number Two
Don’t sign anything until it says exactly what you want it to say. In the excitement of receiving the offer on our home, the buyers wanted to close escrow within about six weeks. This is generally not a problem if you still live in the same house or are close in vicinity to the property you are selling. We are not and I wish we would have countered with a date that fit in more in line with what would work for us.

Don’t Be Afraid to be too Demanding  
We also wanted the real estate agent to reduce their commission based on her negligence and incompetence. The company she works for wanted us to sign a document that would “hold them harmless” for any liability in the future. This essentially means for company that if they were negligent in any way in their duty towards us or the buyer, that we would be liable for damages and for their attorney fees.  After talking to our attorney, we were unequivocal in our assertion that they owed us the reduction in commission based on the problems created by their agent.

When it became clear we would not budge on this issue, they reduced their commission without any strings attached.

Don’t Hesitate to Seek out Legal Help
It is also important to seek out legal help if you need it. A real estate tranaction is hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s not a transaction to take lightly. If things start going sideways, seeking out legal help, even if it might cost you a little bit upfront may save a lot later. It will also provide you with a clearer picture of what you are entitled to as a seller and/or a buyer.

Be Clear in Your Communication
Every time I communicated with our real estate agent, I tried to be firm and clear, never crossing the line of being disrespectful. Much of the communication I did with her was either through e-mail or text messages so that our conversations could be well documented.

When it came time to go to the higher ups in her company, I provided a clear explanation of the issues we experienced with our real estate agent and was able to provide a detailed rationale for having her removed along with the rationale for reducing the commission.

When I needed to speak to our attorney about this, I provided him with a detailed timeline of events along with the necessary documents. When we spoke on the phone, he was able to ask me clarifying questions about what was sent to him and get to the meat of this transaction without spending too much time on the smaller details.

 

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