What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Buying and selling real estate is easy, what could possibly go wrong? I have had a lot of conversations with people through the years about my career. Some have been about all the different properties I get to see – the good, bad, and the ugly! Some have been about the level of stress, very little time off, and how they could never do what I do. And, on the other end of the spectrum, others have been about how easy my job is and that they really didn’t think their last real estate agent was worth what they got paid. The interesting thing is, all of these people were right to some degree.
I have a doctor friend who is fantastic at his job. He takes it very seriously and puts his patients first. He has a very stressful job (people’s lives and stuff – wink). He sees the good, the bad, and the ugly. He gets very little time off and is quite often on call even when he does take a vacation and I really couldn’t do what he does, and you wouldn’t want me to. If you ask him, he says it’s just who he is, and it’s really not that big of a deal, that anyone could do it if they went to school and learned. The prescription advice that he gives over the phone as he’s driving to his daughter’s gymnastics class? Second nature. On the other hand, I have fired doctors for keeping me waiting a minimum of 45 minutes for every scheduled appointment, being scattered, getting my diagnosis wrong, and having to undergo a second, routine, surgery (performed by a different doctor) because the first one didn’t get it right the first time.
Now, I am certainly not even close to saying that Realtors should be held in the same regard as a doctor, however, there are good ones and there are bad ones. There are ones that make it look easy – like anyone could do it, and there are others that you don’t feel earned what you paid them. Most of us wouldn’t dare give ourselves stitches, inject Botox for a friend, or operate on our child. We don’t have the expertise, we don’t have the tools, and we definitely don’t do it on a regular basis. What could possibly go wrong by doing your own surgery? Do I even have to answer that? Yet, a lot of people think they can buy a home on their own, or sell their own house. A lot of people think that the job of a Realtor is easy and that they get paid too much.
The median sales price of a home in Nashville was $235,000 last year. That’s over a QUARTER OF A MILLION dollars! What could possibly go wrong? Well, you could get sued, you might have to sue someone else, you could lose thousands of dollars, you may lose personal property, your closing could be held up for over a year, the list goes on. In Tennessee, we have standard contract forms that attorneys have drafted in order to protect the parties. Only Realtors can use these forms. If you are selling or buying on your own and don’t have a Realtor on the other side of the transaction, you either need the help of an attorney or find forms on the internet or at an office supply store. How do you know that everything is being covered? How do you know that they will hold up in court if needed?
There are plenty of Buyers and Sellers that do it on their own and everything turns out fine. Just like I am sure there are people that have stitched up their own cut and never had a problem. If you choose to go it alone, you need to be aware of the risks. We live in a litigious society. Even if you begin the process on your own and feel the need to get help in the middle, consult a professional. You may find out that the reason it looked so easy was because that professional made it look easy. If you are thinking about hiring a Realtor, or even thinking about doing it yourself, take time to interview one or two. Here are some questions to help you.
Photos courtesy of partisyu and hywards at freedigitalphotos.net
Michelle Froedge is a residential Realtor and Principal Broker in the Greater Nashville and Williamson County areas of Tennessee. “Mom” to four-legged fur babies, Tyler and Livvie, Auntie to Zelamie, she is a vegetarian and sings in her spare time. Michelle has lived in Nashville and Franklin since 1997 and has been selling homes since 2004.