Often, homebuyers and sellers, hoping to eliminate the middle man, reject the idea of hiring a real estate broker. After all, why incur commission fees when you can go it alone and avoid any charges?
We understand the temptation. But going it alone comes with some risk: It can cost you more in the long run and leave you unprotected when difficult situations arise.
We were reminded of this recently when we read an article by Marni Jameson in The Mercury News about her personal experience buying a home. The longtime design and real estate columnist, who often appears in the Denver Post, and her husband were nearing closing when they discovered something in their final walk-through: “a rust-colored splotch about the size of a large dog on the cream-colored wall-to-wall carpet,” Jameson writes. “We hadn’t seen it before because the room had been full of exercise equipment, which covered the stain, and likely caused it.”
Because inspectors aren’t required to lift heavy furniture, their inspector had missed the stain. Jameson is probably understating her reaction when she writes that her “heart sank.”
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. About one in four transactions run into deal-threatening problems, Jameson’s closing attorney told her.
Thankfully, Jameson had a savvy real estate agent on her side. The agent managed the “flurry of frantic phone calls, pitched emotions, dug-in heels, harrowed eyes and crossed arms,” writes Jameson, to negotiate a fair compromise.
The columnist is adamant about the lesson learned: “If you ever think about trying to buy or sell a house yourself,” she writes, think again. “Good agents save deals that you might blow up in an overwrought fit of frustration.”
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