Ever wonder what a real estate agent sees when looking at a home?
Most of us see hundreds or even thousands of homes per year between our actual in-person visits and our online searches and, over a period of time, our view of a home changes.
Of course we are always thinking about whether this or that property is right for buyer A, B, or C. What is the neighborhood like? Does the location meet the needs for commuting--- for schools? Is it convenient to shopping, transportation, etc. Are the bathrooms and kitchen up-to-date or will they need remodeling? How about interior and exterior paint? Carpet? All the usual things. But it doesn't stop there. Speaking for myself, and based on conversations I've had with colleagues, we find over time we are looking at many other things as well:
How does the home look? Is the roof
showing its age? Is the foundation a slab or a perimeter foundation?
Are there decks? What kind of shape do they appear to be in. Wood
floors? Real wood? Have they been sanded down and refinished several
times or do they still have some life left in them? Are there cracks in
the foundation, water marks? How about the driveway? How does the home
smell, and possible causes of various odors, and what that might mean
for a new owner in terms of effort or cost? Is there a sump pump? Is
the home on a hill? If so, are the trees growing straight up--- or are
they leaning, and what might this mean? What kind of light does the home
get--- in the morning, in the afternoon. What is up the street and
around the block from the property? Is the property in the City or the
County? Are the appliances new or old. How about the furnace and the
water heater. Have there been additions to the home? With or without
permits? Of course we are not inspectors, but based on our experience
we are thinking about a balance of positive and negative factors and how
they relate to desirability, price, and potential resale value---- and then, what kind of inspections to recommend
to our client, either buyer or seller. And these are just a few of the
things we are noticing as we walk around and through a home. It becomes
almost automatic. Do we miss things? Sure, that's why we recommend
inspections--- a termite and contractor inspection at a minimum. If one
of those inspectors mentions something during the course of the
inspection, we may recommend the client follow it up. This can mean
calling in a general contractor, a drainage specialist, a geotechnical
or structural engineer, an electrician, roofer, chimney sweep, floor
specialist, or other professional. Do these inspections cost money? Of
course they do, but often they save far more in the end. I have had
buyers save many thousands of dollars by re-negotiating contracts based
on information obtained from and documented by inspections. And I've had
sellers who were able to correct previously unknown potential problems so they did not become issues for negotiation further down the line.
Your local REALTOR can be a tremendous resource for information gleaned from years of experience with thousands of homes--- not only knowledge about neighborhoods, inventory, pricing, schools, etc. but relationships with other agents and professionals who are vital to the successful completion of a transaction--- loan officers, escrow companies, real estate attorneys, and more. What goes into your real estate transaction is much more than the actual time spent on it. Knowledge and intuition from years of experience guide the agent's actions and recommendations during the course of a transaction.
The next time you, your friends, or family members are thinking of buying or selling real estate---call an experienced local REALTOR. Interview 2 or 3 and find one you like. Then go out and find your dream-home!
Fred Anlyan, MBA
Marin Modern Real Estate