buying a home
Ever wonder what happens if you do not hire a Sacramento Realtor with experience? Well, here is a good example. While reviewing multiple offers on my East Sacramento listing last evening, It got me thinking about some of the sour grapes responses from buyer’s agents who had made offers. One of the agents called a bit upset. Muttering that he had called and texted about his offer, submitted the day before, and had not yet had a seller response. I explained that the seller had no obligation to respond to his offer. Additionally, that the MLS disclosed the seller is out of state so instructions were to give plenty of response time. His offer was a low offer price compared to the pile of top offers we had.
I don’t go into my office very often because I work from a virtual and mobile office. But I do make a point of going to my office at least once a week to attend our weekly office meetings. That’s because I pick up new information and can share stuff with my fellow agents. I learned something interesting a few yeas ago that affect agents, sellers and buyers everywhere in the country, not just in Sacramento.
Most agents know that if their seller is not willing to pay for a pest completion, they probably should not include the requirement to pay for a pest report in a contract that is contingent upon financing. That’s because the underwriter will ask to see the pest report and will call for a completion certificate if work is required. It’s one of the reasons why some listing agents worry about a buyer doing a VA loan.
In our California purchase contracts published by C.A.R., there is a place to insert the fact that the buyer is planning to obtain a home inspection. Yup, you know where I’m going with this one. Sure enough, underwriters pick this up and often demand to see the home inspection. Not only do underwriters ask to see the home inspection but the underwriter, as a condition of loan approval, can require that the parties fix a laundry list of defects.
Even though your buyer’s agent might not include the home inspection in the purchase contract, if the seller or listing agent checks the box on the TDS that the home inspection is part of the disclosures, the lender can demand to see it.
I don’t know about every state, but in California a buyer always has the right to perform inspections pursuant to the contract and paragraph 14B1. It might not be a good idea to spell out specifically what those inspections are in the purchase contract. Because no home is perfect. Every home has defects. And if you have to hand over that list of defects to an underwriter, the seller or the buyer might be required to repair them.
I am no longer inserting nor identifying the type of inspections my buyers will perform. There’s no sense in opening a can of worms where enough worms are already crawling.
While Elizabeth is in Cuba, we revisit older blogs published elsewhere.
Finding a home inspector can be a daunting task for a first-time home buyer in Sacramento. On the one hand, buyers sometimes want more control over a transaction and wonder if the agent’s home inspector is qualified or if he’s getting paid under the table to keep his or her lips zipped about problems, which is completely impossible. Just does not happen. Ever. Not among professional and ethical agents.
On the other hand, the buyer is paying for the home inspector so the buyer wants to hire the best. How do you find the best Sacramento home inspector? For starters, most agents genuinely want their buyers to receive the most complete home inspection possible if, for no other reason, that it lessens an agent’s liability in the transaction, but primarily because they would like the buyer to be informed. You can find a home inspector from your agent.
There are enough things for buyers to freak out over. Buyers freak out whether the drywall was imported from China; yet, I haven’t heard of one single instance in Sacramento where drywall was used from China. They freak out whether there are harmful chemicals used in refinishing wood floors when they aren’t about to lick the floors or eat off them. They freak out about whether the home is built over a sinkhole, yet those types of problems are generally in the foothills, not Sacramento. They especially freak out over asbestos and mold, yet many older homes have traces of asbestos and mold. If there is something weird making the news, they freak out. Human nature.
We specialize in buyer freak outs. We help buyers find a Sacramento home inspector who won’t perpetuate freak outs but will educate.
When I work with buyers, they get a list of experienced and vetted home inspectors from us. They can choose from a guy with 25 years of experience as a home builder, or another home inspector who is an expert witness for the court and prepares his reports (expensive) by long-hand, or another who has been at it for 15 years and has a good bedside manner with buyers. All three are excellent communicators and can explain to a home buyer what their report means. Buyers don’t have any idea. Some inspectors will label a negative a RED FLAG and others will say it needs to be replaced immediately, while another might downplay the importance of a repair item, which can confuse buyers.
The guys who tell a buyer to demand repairs will find their names on an agent’s bad list because that is not within the scope of a home inspector. An inspector is expected to disclose defects. Not to perform the job of a real estate agent. It’s a fine line to walk, keeping a buyer informed yet calm. The home inspectors who get called back again and again do just that.
Many years ago — when I used to work with more home buyers than I do now, as most of my business nowadays is representing sellers as a listing agent — I recall a first-time buyer, let’s call her Cathy, who did not know when she should write an offer to buy a home in Sacramento. We had spent all day together, chasing around Rosemont looking at homes for sale. There was one home in particular that she gravitated toward, a home without carpeting, mostly hardwood flooring, with a huge back yard, priced right, and it fit all of her needs.
Toward the end of the day, I suggested we look at the home again. We viewed the home a second time. Cathy really loved it. It’s all she could talk about all the way back to my office in Midtown Sacramento. I pulled up to the curb on J Street where she had parked, and we got out. She shook my hand to thank me for the home buying tour and was about to head off when I asked again what her gut instincts told her about the home we had toured twice. “That’s my dream home,” she responded, and spun on her heels to leave.
Just a sec, here. “Usually, when a buyer finds her dream home, that’s a sign she should write a purchase offer,” I pointed out. Cathy’s eyes opened wide. Her jaw fell open. This had not occurred to her. That was evident by the blankness crawling across her face. She had processed looking for a home but had not yet quite come to terms with how she would react when she found a home to buy. This was astounding news.
She also could not cope because she had been unprepared. She insisted on going home to mull it over, what some buyers refer to as “sleeping on it.” Nothing I could say would change her mind. There is a term for that kind of cautious behavior, for people who don’t trust their own instincts. It’s called Snooze You Lose.
I see that behavior in some of today’s home buyers in Sacramento. It’s not necessarily the buyer’s fault, either, because if a person is buying her first home, how would she know what to do or how she would feel? It’s up to her buyer’s agent to explain, in a non-threatening way, that the market in Sacramento is sizzling hot, and another buyer will purchase that home if she fails to quickly take action. We’re not making this stuff up just to throw a buyer into escrow. When you spot a home you love, you should write a purchase offer.
Otherwise, it’s snooze you lose time. Nobody likes that time clock. Remember, in any given market, if you truly adore a home, odds are another buyer does as well. Did Cathy buy that home? Sadly, no, another buyer had purchased it by morning. Cathy eventually settled on another home, but I heard about this home for years because the home she did buy was always second choice in her mind. Snooze you lose. It’s not just a catchy phrase.
Gone are the days when upon receipt of a goofball offer a listing agent could say: Hey, buddy, pony up or don’t let the door hit you in the butt. Neither can a listing agent adopt the attitude of say, have you suddenly morphed into a moron or were you simply born stupid? Because one would not under any circumstances poke fun at those who came into this world unprepared, unsupervised and without the ability to reason and deliver rational thought — that would be unacceptable behavior, especially after test results proved the individual was incapable of functioning in a social environment in a normal manner. That would just be mean.
Now, the tables have turned, the winds have shifted and we’re wearing our underwear inside out. We Sacramento listing agents are grateful for an offer. Any offer. It’s like, hey, sweetie, yes, you, you with the head-to-toe tattoos, shaved head and metal gauges in the lobes, come over here and sit down next to me. Here’s a satin pillow. Let me rub your feet and bring you a cup of tea. Would you like lemon? A cool towel for your neck? A copy of People Magazine?
To survive in any real estate market, a good Sacramento listing agent must be a chameleon. Go with the flow, change with the market. Adapt.
Last week a first-time home buyer made an offer on a home in Elk Grove. After much discussion, weighing the pros and cons, my seller negotiated and then elected to accept the offer. Everybody was happy. We changed the status of the home in MLS to pending. The following day, the buyer’s agent called to say the buyer had changed his mind because the buyer’s wife didn’t like the home.
What? Let me talk to the guy. I would say: hey, just divorce her. Get rid of that witch. There are plenty of women in this world who would LOVE that home in Elk Grove. She doesn’t deserve you, man, if she can’t see the beauty in your world. You do something nice for that woman and you get crap. You don’t need that.
And this is why sellers love me.