A quick Google search on “Things that can go wrong with real estate sales” produced an article which summarized the issues in four points below:
1. Buyers ignore the maintenance and repair costs
2. Buyers blow off secondary inspections
3. Buyers haven’t checked out the neighborhood in advance
4. Buyers haven’t calculated the commute to work
These points, while all valid problems in a real estate transaction; place the onus squarely on the shoulders of the buyer. Whereas in stark contrast to the article, I would posit that the lion’s share of the responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of your chosen realtor.
That’s why it’s so important for buyers to focus on hiring a professional, experienced and full-time realtor. You can easily check production by simply asking them how many deals they’ve successfully closed over the past year. If you’d prefer someone new and fresh-faced to the industry, it is imperative that you ensure that he/she is working very closely under the wing of their broker. On the other hand, if you are a seller, remember to use a very experienced listing agent. This is a very subtle nuance because while some agents are experienced, they sometimes have worked with nothing but buyers. Your seller’s agent should be somebody that sells a few homes a month. Buying and selling agents alike, your realtor should be someone that foresees problems before they happen and is proactive about addressing them. Someone who is an initiator, and will stay on top of all parties involved – lenders, title company, etc.
Another overlooked issue from the above-referenced list is probably one of the most important: Financing. This is the probably the biggest problem because it’s highly regulated. A lot of people mistakenly think to themselves that they’ll find the house they want first, and then go and try and finance it. However this idea is as impractical as putting the shoe on before the sock because first, you need to find out which loans and how much you qualify for, and you also have to sit down with your spouse and budget out the payment to which you can realistically commit.
The second most common problem can sum all the author’s listed points above into one: Mismanagement. Transactions are mismanaged, and often expectations are mismanaged. To combat this, lines of communication between realtor, lender and buyers and sellers should be as open and seamless as possible. Requests made to your realtor should be as specific as possible to avoid miscommunication. That way if there are delays or things aren’t necessarily going accordingly to plan, then you'll know about them ahead of time and there will be an action place in place for how to prepare for any eventuality.
That being said, we as human beings always have a little bit of buyer's remorse about everything. People can be very unreasonable, and in this consumer-driven culture we demand the perfect product every time. But especially with buying, you must look at the end result for what it is: it will provide a roof over your family’s heads, retain its value and hopefully rise in value over time, so in the meantime it’s a nice container to store your building wealth in. A real estate investment is always going to have a bigger return than sitting the bank. It's nothing like a car, which immediately decreases in value the moment you drive it off the lot.
What concerns me is that Generation Y seems to be fine with renting, and there seems to be a lackluster interest in owning at the moment. I realize a lot of it is symptoms of shock in terms of what has happened and is ongoing with the worldwide financial crisis, but it’s also important to remember that living in fear will prevent us from progressing and securing a viable future for ourselves and our loved ones.
Finding financial peace is never going to be without some level of risk but with real estate, you have to inherently believe that this is the best idea for your life. Believing in that dream of home ownership will enable you to take a confident step out onto that tree branch. The key to ensuring the branch’s sturdiness is to have realistic expectations, to hold people accountable to their promises, and again, strive to keep the lines of communication open and free flowing between all parties involved. A hearty commitment to teamwork in this process ensures a pleasing result for all.