Tips to Avoid the "Bad Apples" of Real Estate

By
Real Estate Agent with American Homes Real Estate

Here is a great article I ran across with a lot of great tips for buyers.

 

Real estate agents can be your strongest allies in the biggest financial transaction of your life. How do you make sure to avoid any "bad apples?"

Bad apples exist in every industry -- and real estate is not immune. But in an industry where commissions are earned by hard work and reputation, the bad apples don't keep for very long.

Buying a home is the largest financial commitment a person will make. This isn't the time to worry about being swindled by the person who is supposed to be your main support. And that's just what a great real estate agent can be -- your best asset.

So don't let the fear of a bad apple keep you from taking advantage of all that homeownership has to offer. Owning a home can be a wonderful investment in your financial and personal future. And buying a home can be a wonderful experience.

How do you prevent going into business with a bad apple in the first place?

  • Take time to educate yourself. Consider reading articles on Realty Times or taking real estate classes.

     

  • Check the agent's certifications with your state real estate commission. On the State of Texas' page, for example, you will see on the homepage a quick link to check on your agent's background.

     

  • Do some homework with the Better Business Bureau. They log complaints against companies in your area, including brokerages.

     

  • Ask the agent very pointed questions, such as:
    • Are you a Realtor? (though this doesn't necessarily make one agent better than another, Realtors are supposed to comply with a strict code of ethics)

       

    • Will you be requiring I get a home inspection? If you are a buyer, this is a must for a safe transaction. If they say no, start backing towards the door.

       

    • When are you able to be contacted? Do you give out a cell phone number?

       

    • How do you advertise? Can you show me some examples?

     

  • Interview several agents before making your final decision

     

  • Ask family, friends, and coworkers for references. They can tell you who to look to and who to stay away from.

Things an agent must disclose:

  • any known defects in the property

     

  • if they are representing the buyer/seller as well as you (called dual agency)

     

  • if they have a personal interest in the property or relationship with the buyer/seller

Even after taking precautions, if you feel that you have been taken advantage of during your transaction, then you should feel confident to rely on the numerous programs and agencies in place to protect you and your investment.

The first place to start is with your agent. There may simply have been a miscommunication or something that the agent will gladly take care of for you.

If you have no luck with the agent, then you should approach the agent's broker. Some problems may be quickly remedied. Or they can discipline the agent so that they don't take advantage of anyone else.

If you still have no luck, then the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) RESPA consumer protection statute is a strict set of standards that real estate professionals much adhere to.

"RESPA is about closing costs and settlement procedures. RESPA requires that consumers receive disclosures at various times in the transaction and outlaws kickbacks that increase the cost of settlement services. RESPA is a HUD consumer protection statute designed to help homebuyers be better shoppers in the home buying process, and is enforced by HUD."

Following the link above will take you to a multitude of state and local contacts.

ARELLO.org can be an excellent resource for information about what the rules are regarding real estate.

And finally, consult with an attorney that specializes in real estate. They will be able to tell you very quickly if you have a case or what other alternatives you may have.

 

 

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