A Failure to Communicate

Yesterday I received one of those e-mails that, as a real estate professional, cause me to grimace reflexively.

After spending two years sending listings to a wonderful couple from California and showing homes when schedules allowed, all while waiting for their home back on the West Coast to sell, these folks walked into a new build and purchased on their own.

It’s not so much the lost commission, though obviously that stings – I do this for a living, to put food on the table, and not just for giggles.

It’s not so much the lost time – yes, I was keeping an eye open for new homes near daily, especially in the time since their home in California went into escrow – but, no, it wasn’t as if I was spending hours a day every day for two years on this.

It’s not the idea that an agent is expendable, though the idea that hard work and loyalty mean nothing because there’s a pretty flag waving in front of a new build is disconcerting and a little bit disappointing.

No, I think what bothers me the most is my own failure to communicate that it’s not really a great idea to purchase a new home without an agent.

The people in the sales office usually are very nice and may seem like they want to be your new best friend but they don’t represent you as buyers and haven’t the slightest concern as to what may be in your best interest. They’re representing the builder and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.

A sales rep in a new build office isn’t going to tell you why you need to have a professional home inspector perform an inspection at a minimum of two different points during the construction process. They’re not going to point out how their superintendents get really, really annoyed when home inspectors come out to double-check their work.

I wonder why that might be …

The sales rep will tell you some of the incentives they offer, but not necessarily all of them. Though the actual purchase price almost always is firm, there often can be additional incentives provided to lower the real cost of buying. But why would someone who works for the builder tell you any of this?

Some will point out to you that almost everything you see in two out of three models is an upgrade before you start filling out paperwork. Others just wait for you to fall in love with what you see before breaking the news, knowing you’ll spend the extra cash.

None will tell you realistically what outs as a buyer you have to protect your earnest deposit. And if there’s a dispute, how hard to you think they’ll work to get that earnest deposit back?

So many pitfalls, all ignored when buyers walk into model homes for the first time without an agent to provide them independent representation. And all of them are avoidable with only a phone call to your agent – so much protection for a five-minute call.

I should have communicated it all better. Now all I can do from this distance is hope all goes well. It usually does. But when it doesn’t …

Photo credit: jaheed via Flickr Creative Commons

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.