Monday, July 6, 2009

Be Your Own Knifecatcher

Or Why Realtors Drive me Fricken Nuts.....

Here's the MadScientists guide to being your own knifecatcher...

  1. Study the real estate market in question for several years, go to a lot of open houses and at least mentally track what you get for how much dough.
  2. Rack up several years rehabbing old houses yourself. To build up an in-depth knowledge base of what things really need to be addressed in old houses and what it will cost to do them.
  3. Use a service like that shows you important information like what the official stats of the house are and when it was last sold and how much it sold for.
  4. Find your local building depts online permit check service. Alameda has one that can be found here. Look up the house in question and see what work has been done recently or ever, with permits.
  5. Go to the open house, ask the realtor a lot of questions and take a lot of pictures.

Do that and no realtor will be able to pull the wool over your eyes.

Realtor Rant:Or why your average realtor is more like a shady used car salesman than not.

My dad has done sales jobs his entire life. He was lucky to land jobs where he got a reasonable base salary plus commission. He was a very good salesperson and did very well for himself and everything I know about sales I've learned from him. I feel like I've had a lifetime of coaching on what makes a good sales person and now I have some definite opinions on that matter.

  1. For the love of Pete know your fricken product!!!! When my dad sold van conversions he could tell you every single detail about his vans and every detail about their competitors vans and what made his vans better than the competitions. What is it with Realtors who seem to just basically be at open houses to take up space and hand you their business cards? Countless times I've asked Realtors simple questions about places and they don't know anything about the house. Its always 'oh, I'm just filling in for someone else who really knows the house...yea right.' Get a pest inspection report and be familiar with whats in it. Get a real house inspection and be familiar with whats in it and get REAL estimates for what its going to cost to fix something. If another realtor looks me straight in the face and tells me a $100,000+ foundation job is going to cost ~$35,000 I'm going to lose it I swear!
  2. Be Honest!!! My dad built a successful car dealership around a simple precept...'Never screw anyone over EVER!' You can make some money for a while screwing people over but that is NEVER a business model that works long term. I seriously fricken hate this 'willful ignorance' Realtors seem to have about the houses they are 'selling'. Take 5 minutes and do a permit check and be honest about what work was done without permits and if there are any complaints against the house. Why waste everyones time by obfuscating the truth?
  3. Actually Learn How to Sell! I know the real estate market here has been detached from reality for the past several years but c'mon....learn to sell (see #1 & #2 above). I know that the one course you took in community college to become a realtor was just packed with useful info but please learn to sell! If you want to stay in this business after the boom you are going to have to hustle or die. Personally I think the SF Bay area can use oh, 90% less Realtors...I just wonder what get-rich quick scheme all these out of work Realtors will latch onto....bilking the elderly outta their savings with bogus investment schemes? Carnival FreakShow Barkers? (nah you have to actually have a personality and be able to sell to be one of those)...

Okay, Okay not all Realtors are bad.....just most of them...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There were very few comments on your reviews when I first read them - I just went back & read all the reviews again & the comments - this post now makes a lot more sense.

I'm in an entirely different real estate market - things are not quite so overpriced here in Central FL - but you are totally right about real estate agents (I think very few are actually realtors).

I am always amazed that they can have next to no information about the house or neighborhood - but they are convinced it is perfect for you.

We had to fire one when we were looking for a house (back before buyers agents). Every house she showed us was larger and about $50,000 more than we wanted to spend. Her response was - but you qualify for so much more!!! I guess the fact that we didn't want to spend "so much more" didn't matter in her alternate universe.

Too bad you can't train all new real estate agents - they would be awesome - and maybe even could sell some houses!

The baby is adorable and the house is looking pretty good too! I enjoy following your adventure - good luck with everything.