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Ringing your realtor can save you a spot of bother

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Dear Heather,

“I wish I had called you before but I just didn't want to bother you. I know you're busy …”

Buyer

Dear Buyer,

There are times when you might feel like you shouldn't “bother” the real estate agent you know. Perhaps you're truly trying to be considerate, perhaps you are not aware that you should, or you don't want to feel obligated or pushed into doing something. Despite general opinion, most real estate agents are not pushy — and they can't answer your questions if they are not aware what they are.

Here are examples of a few times that you should “bother” your real estate agent. Not bothering them, will bother them (and you) even more in the long run.

1. You just want to check out a house

You see a house online or a for sale sign; maybe even just stumble across an open house. You're not all that serious about buying a house. Maybe you're only just starting to think about it. Or, maybe you have no desire at all to move, and you're just curious and want to take a peek.

So, you don't want to “bother” the agent you know to show you the house. Instead, you call the listing agent or some random agent you don't even know or just walk right into the open house. Next thing you know, you love it! You're making an offer. The offer is accepted and then you regret it. Or problems come up. Or the process is miserable. Or you don't feel like the agent you're dealing with is giving you the best advice.

And that's when you call the agent you know. Unfortunately at that point it's too late. The agent you know can't help. Because now you are represented by another agent. The agent you know can get in a lot of trouble for even giving you friendly advice.

As innocent as it seems, when you just want to go see a house you are inadvertently making a bigger decision than you think, you are deciding who will advise you and help you through the process. Even if you just go see a house with another agent, you are then that agent's buyer. You're better off calling the agent you know to show you the house in the first place. You won't be considered a bother.

2. You want to know how much your home is worth.

Maybe you're just curious about how much your home is worth or maybe you're actually thinking of selling. It might be because you want to get a feel for your net worth. Nowadays, you can hop online and check out any number of sites that will give you an idea of comparable properties which can help you determine the value of your home. So why “bother” the agent you know about this?

Because most of what you will find online is inaccurate to begin with. Often houses are listed at much higher prices than they actually sell for; some have been listed for years. But you can't necessarily see that online. And if you base your hopes, dreams and decisions from an inaccurate value, that can hurt you quite a bit in the long run by not exposing your house to the right market. Again, asking the agent you know to do a proper comparative market analysis and give you a true market value … not a bother.

But, it would be bothersome to hear that you've based important life decisions off an inaccurate value once it's too late.

3. You are considering a home-improvement project.

The real estate agent you know probably isn't an architect or a builder, a plumber, an electrician, a painter, etc. So, they probably can't advise you about the ins and outs of specific projects or costs.

But once you have a sense of the proposed cost of a project, before you just pull the trigger and move forward, you really should “bother” your agent for their input. Putting on an addition? That will surely increase the value. A kitchen or bathroom remodel?

Yep, your house will be worth more. But will the value increase more than the amount you spend? Will that matter in your situation? Will the choices you make in decor, layout or fixtures appeal to a buyer down the road? Does that even matter given your future plans? All questions and thoughts your agent can get into with you before you spend the money and go through the headaches of a huge project.

On the other hand, if you go forward with a home-improvement project and spend, let's say $60,000 and then call your agent, you could seriously regret the cost or even doing the project at all. Your agent doesn't want to break the news to you that your home is only worth $38,000 more after you spent $60,000. There is nothing that can be done at that point.

That's just three examples. There are certainly more. But you get the point. So, reach out to your agent before you do anything real-estate related and just trust me that, it isn't a “bother”.

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty's leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for 27 years. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332-1793. All questions will be treated in confidence. Read this article on Facebook: Ask Heather Real Estate

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Published February 07, 2017 at 7:00 am (Updated February 07, 2017 at 4:18 pm)

Ringing your realtor can save you a spot of bother

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