"Palos Verdes Resident since 1947"

Do You Need An Agent?

It’s a valid question.  In my 28 years of doing this, my general impression is that 20% of the escrows go smoothly enough that an agent may not have been necessary.  But, and you knew this was coming, it’s the part before and after, that we need to look at.

Before:  Getting a property into an escrow that will close is not something that just happens.  Apart from helping you select the proper asking price, agents have ways of marketing and publicizing listings that ensure maximum exposure.  Somewhere out there is the buyer who will pay top dollar and can afford the house.  That’s the guy you want, and the only way to find him is to make sure that everyone looking for what you have knows that you have it and that it’s for sale.

Once you have his offer, you need to make sure the contract is bullet-proof.  An experienced agent, who has seen most of the common causes of escrows falling out, can make sure you are protected against them.  This requires a balance between avoiding the common pitfalls and actually selling the house.  Too much of the former can prevent the latter, and experience is the only teacher as to where that line is.

If you’ve gotten to this stage and succeeded in doing all that, your escrow may go smoothly.  But I’m here to tell you that most of the time there are unanticipated, unforeseeable issues that come up.  The possibilities are  too numerous to get into here, but an experienced agent should have seen most of them and should know how to solve them.  But we’re assuming this all goes smoothly.

After:  When I got into this business, houses were sold on an 8 1/2 x 11 one page contract.  No disclosures, no affadavits, no mandated  inspections, no nuthin’.  One effect of the consumer protection movement is that you, as a seller, are required by law to meet certain disclosure requirements, which vary depending upon the type of sale — standard, trust, foreclosure, etc.  This is true whether you sell “by owner” or thru an agent.  Whether you agree that all this is a good idea or not (I don’t think it is), it’s legally required.  If you don’t comply with all of it, you are leaving yourself open to the nasty phone call and letter from the buyer’s attorney 8 months after close of escrow, when some “defect” that you you’ve been living with for 25 years, forgot about, but neglected to disclose, has been discovered.  The new owner, of course, is now expecting you to pay for its repair.  And, by the way, he’s discovered a bunch of other things that, as long as he’s got you (and boy, has he got you) he also wants reimbursement for.

Experienced agents know what your legal duties to disclose are and will make sure that you satisfy them.  While it may be difficult to tell a potential buyer about the used motor oil you dumped in the corner of the back yard for the last 30 years, it’s better to do it in the beginning of the escrow and (worst case) find out that it’s a deal-killer for the buyer, than to have his prize-winning Shih Tzu come down with some mysterious neurological disorder which could possibly, no matter how remotely, have been caused by digging around in that corner.

Apart from this really serious stuff, there are countless things a good agent can and should do to make this disruptive and disconcerting process as untraumatic as possible.  Some of these may never occur to you before the process begins.  Good agents know how to avoid the pitfalls and smooth out the bumps.  As I said in my article “It’s Not Rocket Science“, it’s not.  But a good agent who cares about you and has the background to translate that into action, can sure make your life a lot easier.  Click on Testimonials for letters from my past clients who were so impressed by all the stuff I did for them that they wrote those unsolicited letters.

Call me at 310 613-1076 and we can talk about how all this applies to you. 


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