The last few weeks have reminded me of just how critical it is that a buyer is represented by a knowledgable agent. Even the most well informed buyers tend to miss issues that some houses present. I have always stated that were I to move to a different city, I would without hesitation, interview and select a savvy agent to give me guidance as to the houses that I consider.
No doubt, you will realize (as a buyer), the inherent dangers therefor, of working with the agent representing the Seller. While the NAR Code of Ethics stipulates that an agent, not representing an interested party (customer v client), that the agent still has the obligation to be honest and disclose what they know about the house to the buyer. But this leaves out a volume of facts that the agent is not obligated to draw the attention of the buyer to. It is also, one of the main reasons that buyers could get into trouble when selecting houses from the Internet.
As a conscientious agent in the process of showing houses to a client, here are some of the issues that I have had to draw their attention to:
- With one particular house, which is in my opinion somewhat below market value, it was my moral obligation to draw attention to the fact that the house backs up to a very busy road, and as the road is on an incline, the traffic noise is consistently loud when sitting on the back screened porch. The porch and back yard are absolutely lovely, but the first giveaway was that the seller had the tv on (quite loudly), in order to mask some of the traffic noise. My client really liked the house and we even took the husband over to see the house. His major objection was the road noise. So while the house is beautiful, there is no cigar attached to this one.
- Another lovely home which we viewed had a driveway that appeared modest but in reality was a deal killer. It is what I call a "tail dragger". There was simply no way to exit the driveway without dragging valuable parts underneath the car on the blacktop. To appear unbiased, I encouraged the buyer to drive up in her car and then down again. Not only was she very afraid but she also left marks on the road with her car. Lovely home but the driveway is a killer.
- Some of the other challenges are: Retention ponds in the back yard; Being on a slope and on the "downward side of a house that is channeling the rainwater on to the property; High Tension power lines in close proximity to the house; Ponds adjacent to the property; Getting in and out of the community in the morning if it exits on to a busy road. Houses below the road; The general layout of the house - drive-under garages for example, are a no-go in my opinion. (Who wants to drag groceries and children in arms up a flight of stairs into the house?).
So the list goes on and every house has its challenges. The trick is to find the house with the challenges that you can live with and one that does not put you at a disadvantage when it comes to selling. (Even if you think that you will be there "until death do us part").