Get Yourself A Representative

In a previous article in the Wasilla Real Estate News I discussed the fact that Alaska has no real estate agents.  I talked about the fact that we are now Real Estate “Licensees” who have specific relationships with our clients that are spelled out in writing.

The most important relationship a buyer can have is a licensee who REPRESENTS them.  There seem to be quite a few buyers floating around the valley right now who want to set up their own showings and only represent themselves.  They make a point to say that they do not have anyone representing them and want to work with the listing licensee themselves.

That is kind of like representing yourself in court.  I think I heard a judge remark that anyone who chooses to represent himself in court deserves the level of representation he is getting.  A licensed Realtor often has been involved in thousands of transactions.  If he is only representing the seller he has no obligation to help you out in any way.  In fact, if something comes up that might easily go your way and against the seller, he is legally obligated to represent the sellers interests, not yours.

A buyer should find a Realtor to represent them because:

  • It doesn’t cost you anything. Almost always the commission is a contractual agreement between the listing licensee and the seller.  It is already built in and the lister is under no obligation to change it. Often the reason a buyer says they want to represent themselves is because they are planning to ask the listing licensee to lower his commission for their benefit.  If the listing licensee does this, it in no way changes his relationship with the seller and buyer.  In fact, it cements his loyalty to the seller even more.
  • It will make your transaction smoother.  If you are using an experienced licensee who has a lot of transactions under his belt you are gaining the benefit of all that experience.  Most of what an experienced Realtor has learned cannot be learned in books or on a website.  If you volunteer to represent yourself you are saying that you know more than someone who works through up to 100 transactions a year. 
  • It will likely save you money.  An experienced realtor can see problems before they arrive and protect you from them.  It is often expensive to buy your way out of a big problem after closing.  For example, just because a septic passes an engineer’s inspection is not necessarily a reason it should pass your inspection…call me if you want an explanation of that statement.
  • You will have developed an important long term relationship with a local professional.  I have people call me all the time for recommendations for handymen, landscapers, painters, appraisers, lenders, schools, churches, and lots of other amazing things.  If have even had people call me to ask who I think they should vote for in the school board election.  Bottom line, a local realtor who has been in the business for years has connections that they are happy to share with you.

On the other hand, maybe you are just a “do-it-yourselfer” in other parts of your life as well.  I have learned that there are better ways to accomplish certain things.  I don’t work on my own cars anymore.

Although I know the basics about internal combustion engines, I take all my car problems to Ernie at Lazy Mountain Enterprises.  I don’t have the time or expertise to fix the car even if I can figure out what is wrong with it.  Ernie fixes my car in a timely manner and charges me a fair price.  But if you are the kind who wants to buy a Chiltons manual and dig into that automatic transmission on your own, more power to you.  You also have the right to represent yourself in a real estate transaction or in court. 

But I don’t advise it.  !