(Closed) What do you wish your realtor told you?

posted 8 years ago in Home
Post # 17
8700 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

@MrsPanda99:  +10000000000!

I’ve bought two homes AND sold one without a realtor. HUGE waste of money!

Post # 18
371 posts
Helper bee

As someone who deals with realtors on a pretty regular basis (I work in planning and zoning), my take on them is that they’re pretty clueless about anything that doesn’t have to do with signing title paperwork or putting in offers. (Just my experience here , no offense to any Realtor Bees out there).

That being said, my biggest piece of advice is DO YOUR HOMEWORK about permitted uses, proposed additions, nearby land uses, and anything you can think of that you would want to do to that house in the future.

You’re a jewlery designer and dream of having a small retail shop in the back bedroom of your new home? Better check zoning laws! Lots of places don’t allow that. 

Kids want a couple chickens and you think you’re okay because the house you bought is on 2 acres in a rural subdivision? You might be zoned single-family residential and can’t have any kind of farm animals. 

Your new house abuts a beautiful farm field and you love the sunsets over the field and the peace and quiet of rural living. Better check who owns that field and what it’s zoned. Could be owned by a factory, zoned industrial and they’re planning on expanding–right in your backyard.

The house you’re looking at is Capital P perfect, except…. you really want a screened-in porch to enjoy the backyard. Make sure you check setbacks and local building requirements to see if you even have enough space on the lot to build (without going through a million hoops). Or the Mother-In-Law wants to move in with you and your DH thinks you should build a small Mother-In-Law cottage? Check zoning laws, it may not be permitted. 

And most importantly, check your covenants if you’re in a subdivision. Some say you can’t park on the street, some dictate the color of your house, some state that you can’t convert garage space into living space and even others prohibit clotheslines outside. 

tldr; Do your homework on land use, zoning and building permits before you buy!

Post # 19
442 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Wow, I guess we got lucky but ours was amazing. In our first meeting since we were first time buyers she gave us a packet of information she put together and explained just about everything related to buying a house and what we could expect with the market and time of year. As we walked through houses she would point out issues she saw and give us a dollar amount for what the fix would be, she also pointed our certain features we otherwise would have missed.

EDIT: We always knew what school district (and specific school) we were in before looking at the house and she had the prior years tax rate available as well as any subdivision rules or zoning concerns.

Honestly the only thing I wish she had done which I don’t think ethically she could have is tell us that we shouldn’t use a certain lender, we ended up having to switch our lender in the middle of negotiations because they weren’t flexible on the close date. (She ended up implying that she had issues with that lender before which is why she had suggested we make sure we were really comfortable with them.)


Post # 20
1802 posts
Buzzing bee

@btothez:  This is spot-on advice.  One thing I love about our house is that everything surrounding it has already been developed for residential use.  There’s a bit of drama in my town right now because there is a proposed new highway that would go right on top of a popular neighborhood.  People are complaining they had no idea when they bought their house, but the proposal has been on the books for years, maybe even a decade.  

One thing that I would have liked to know during buying is the cost of utilities and local taxes.  The utilities are very reasonable at our house, but we looked at others that would have had crazy rates that would have easily offset the lower price of the house.  Also, our town has higher taxes than other towns nearby.  Although they are still quite cheap, we should have researched that ahead of time when looking at towns to move to.

Post # 21
371 posts
Helper bee

Another thought(s):

If you have children (or plan to), go to http://www.familywatchdog.us/, type in the address to verify the location of any registered sex offenders in the area. The website gives you a photo (if available) and type of crime they’ve committed.

Your county’s (or city, not sure how it works in every jurisdiction) will have property tax records of every property in the county. Most of that information is available online. check it out. Know your tax rate and how to appeal assessments. In my state, our taxes are capped at a certain percentage of your assessment. That sounds all well and good, but when your assessed value doubles, so do your taxes! Learn how to appeal if need be.

If your realtor can’t disclose school info (which I’m not sure why they couldn’t), many states have school rating systems. Our state puts out a “report card” every year which tells you how many students passes standardized tests, absence rates, free lunch rates, ethnicity, etc. Go to your state’s department of education webpage, you should be able to find that information.

Most jurisdictions have property ownership online. Find out who your potential new neighbors are; check the sales records (all public information) see how much the last owner bought the house for; look up building permit records (again, all public) to make sure any improvements done to your house were done correctly.

I know this sounds like internet stalking, but seriously, the more information you arm yourself with, the better prepared you are to make a lifetime investment and possibly negotiate a better price. 

Post # 22
48 posts
  • Wedding: May 2013

I wish we had told the realtor that we wanted the seller to have the carpet steam cleaned before closing and that they need to leave the dag on blinds!!

Post # 23
7380 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

In general I found realtors don’t know what’s going on with a field and aren’t willing to find out.  It took a fair bit of searching to find out a school is going in a large field by our place.  I’m still not 100% sure of which of the 3 streets it will be one, but just based on the shape and some features we have a good guess.

The previous year’s taxes are list on the MLS info, unless the house is too new, so that isn’t as much of an issue here.

Post # 24
386 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Our realtor was great and told us everything.  She was even critical of a lot of houses we saw and kind of liked.  She was honest about the difficult seller we were dealing with and our odds of getting our offer accepted in a difficult market. But we were referred to her from a friend that had just purchased a house.

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