Ok I can’t hold my excitement…let’s start with the big news. On Monday night my girlfriend and I put an offer in on a condo that we really wanted. Within 24 hours and a bit of back and forth negotiating, our offer was accepted and at below the price we were hoping for! If all the paperwork and the inspection go well we’ll be in our new place for June. Pardon my french…but fuck yeah! 🙂
I can’t stress enough how this wouldn’t have happened without a great realtor. We lucked out big time and are extremely grateful that he helped us out.
Originally I was looking into condo shopping last year. I made the mistake of dealing with a realtor who just happened to be ranked well for keywords related to the area I was considering. I should’ve known better than to equate search rankings with realtor quality.
Having good search engine rankings should’ve actually been a red flag. Because of those rankings he simply didn’t have time for individual clients. Things were done in the quickest possible way for him. That meant that he didn’t take my criteria seriously and he didn’t answer all my questions. All he cared about was closing a lot of deals with the least amount of work.
That realtor ended up turning me off from the process and I stopped looking around for a while. He also made me wary of trusting other realtors as I assumed they’d all do business in a similar fashion. Since I was looking to buy at the lower end of pricing in this city, that just gave them more reason to spend minimal time helping me.
New Year, New Approach
Early this year I started getting the itch to buy a condo again. After being in a very happy relationship for several months, we got talking about moving. We both felt secure enough in the relationship and didn’t want to keep wasting money on rent.
So we decided not to deal with the previous realtor. We knew as first time home buyers we needed someone who would be there to really help us. An impersonal realtor just wouldn’t cut it.
I decided to ask my mortgage broker if he had a realtor recommendation and tell him why we weren’t satisfied with the last realtor. Unsurprisingly he had heard other complaints about that realtor. With that in mind I expected him to recommend someone at the other end of the spectrum.
Things started pretty well with this new realtor. He had a nifty search page that filtered listings to our specific criteria. So we didn’t have to wade through hundreds of listings to find ones that might be suitable. He also seemed friendly enough via e-mail.
As our search progressed we saw more of this realtor’s bad side. Numerous questions would go unanswered and he just always seemed to be trying to push our price level as high as possible. So not only did he not want to spend a lot of time on this, but he wanted to milk it for every dollar he could.
We tried to shrug off these issues thinking that these problems were inevitable and maybe he’d still be able to do some good negotiating for us. I thought it might make sense to have someone aggressive working for us.
After I looked at a condo with my mom and step-dad, they convinced me that we didn’t have a very good realtor. Mostly he gave them a slimy vibe, especially compared to the seller’s friendly realtor. This guy even tried to downplay issues with the condo as if he was doing the seller’s job. My mom and step-dad pointed out how a realtor like that will end up working with the seller’s realtor to get the deal closed at the highest price they think we’d be willing to pay. Somehow that possibility had previously eluded me.
Enter Our Hero Realtor
Luckily we didn’t end up proceeding with either of the previously mentioned realtors. My girlfriend’s boss was nice enough to refer her own realtor who is also a church friend of hers. Never underestimate the power of personal referrals!
The great thing about this realtor is that technically he could be retired already. That means he’s not some hungry realtor on the rise that is looking to break records and close as many deals as he can. He’s at the stage of his career that he genuinely wants to help people out. Well that and he wants to build up the family business for his daughter who is also a realtor. Doing that revolves around building long term relationships and not chasing the quick buck.
Dealing with this realtor was like night and day compared to the previous two. We never thought we’d find a realtor that actually cares about something beyond profit. Not only was he always quick to get back to us, but he has been very thorough in checking everything over. We felt like we could ask him anything and get an honest answer.
We did see a few different condos with him, but in the end we decided to check out the first place we viewed again. With him in our corner, we were just so much more confident about things. Any concerns we had about the building were instantly relieved. When he didn’t see any problems with the condo, we knew we would be placing an offer.
During the negotiating he further impressed us. The process all happened so rapidly and we could tell that he was doing what it takes to get us the best offer. When I got the e-mail that said our 2nd offer was accepted, we were ecstatic. I realize we still have to do the inspection, mortgage and other paperwork, but it seems like a done deal. Now we can’t wait to get into our own condo and turn it into our home. The place does need some work to reach its full potential, but we really like what we see.
I should also mention that the seller’s realtor choice backfired for her. The realtor lived across town and was obviously not too enthusiastic about driving over to keep showing the condo. Because of that, it seems that she might’ve rushed the negotiating a bit to ensure the deal would go through. I was fully expecting another counter offer from them. In that case using what I assume was a personally referred realtor didn’t work out as well.
So if any of you are looking to buy a home, make sure you carefully choose a realtor that is right for you. Depending on your situation you might not need a super personal realtor, but it is something to consider. Just don’t simply go with the first realtor you come across thinking they’re all the same. I found out first hand that this simply isn’t true.
How were your experiences with realtors you dealt with? Do any of you regret going with the realtor you chose?