Thursday, July 13, 2006

My Greatest Mistake

A series of recent contract offers has revealed a flaw in my operating style.

Show of hands... who out there has no idea what to do once you find a place to buy? Most people are clueless. I was (I know, I know... still am about most things). However, it's second nature to me now. Buying and selling homes is my life. I'm not talking about any get rich quick investing scheme or all those snappy HGTV real estate shows. Plainly, I get people from A to B in a home transaction. That's my niche.

So why do I forget this is the unknown world to most. Tunnel vision my friends. I think everyone is as obsessed with real estate as me. Maybe they are, considering a recent study cited by Realtor Magazine suggested that 32% of time spent surfing the NET at work is spent surfing real estate. More than personals/dating sites! Real estate trumps sex!

My greatest mistake, then, is assuming the client knows more than they do. I love to teach, but sometimes I fear I'll patronize my clients. Additionally, I'm aggressive and find properties that my clients want to see. They are into the shopping phase, they are not into the details at first.

But when it's offer time, look out. These are smart people... doctors, nurses, attorneys, engineers. But, put a real estate contract in front of them, sans attorneys, and they do a spit take (if you do not know what a spit take is, call me and I'll demonstrate). Put me in an operating room and tell me to go at it and I'd do a spit take too.

Most have no idea how to even offer on a place. What do you do? What do you ask for? Consider the purchase process for a moment:

* Initial Consultation (Screen/Interview Buyers Agents) * Mortgage Preapproval * View Prospective Homes * Identify a Property * Present Purchase Contract To Listing Agent * Initial Earnest Money ($1,000 Made Out To Listing Office) * Negotiate Offer (Counteroffer, Price, Terms, Close Date) * Acceptance Of Offer by Seller (Agreement) * Final Signatures And Initials On Original Contract * Contact, Fax Documents To Attorneys, Lenders, Etc. * Contingency Periods Begin (Mortgage, Home Sale--Ususally 30 Days) * Attorney Period Begins (Usually 5-10 Business Days From Acceptance) * Acquire Budget And By-Laws (Condominium) * Professional Home Inspection * Attorney Approval on Contract (5-10 Business Days After Acceptance) * Balance of Earnest Money Due to Listing Office (5-10%) * Appraisal (Lender) * Loan Committment * Communicate With All Parties * Acquire Homeowners Insurance Policy * Interview With Condo/Co-Op Board (Usually In Highrise Buildings) * Await Closing * Transfer Utilities & Change Of Address * Schedule Movers * Estimate Of Funds Needed At Closing (Good Faith From Lender including $7.50 per $1,000 City Transfer Stamp to be paid by Buyer) * Final Walk Through Or Punch List (New Construction) * Closing * Celebrate! You're A Home Owner!!

This stuff has to be maneuvered and coordinated, assured, written, clarified, double checked. It's putting together a puzzle man. Also, you want good people on your side. How much time are you willing to invest in all this?

So, my greatest mistake is not having a drink with all new clients and going over this list! Then, it's up to you to trust my managing of the transaction. You'll sleep better if you do.

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