Monday, August 28, 2006


I hate going to the dentist. I've always had good teeth, only one cavity in my head, so why spend all that money (not to mention the dental insurance) on a service I've never really needed. As long as I brush and floss, why do I need someone with a doctor's degree to look over my teeth, clean them, whiten them, etc.?

Besides, I've pulled teeth myself -- when I was just a grade school kid, in fact. So if I can pull teeth at that age, with just a string and a doorknob, why on earth do I have to pay a professionally trained tooth puller now? As I reminisce on those days of my early tooth-pulling, I even recall getting paid for pulling my own teeth! That's right. Every morning after pulling my teeth, I had money under my pillow.

Obviously, anyone who has received quality dental care in the past sees right through the absurdity of this argument. However, when it comes to real estate agents, everyone wants them to provide their services for discounted prices – even free.

Licensed real estate professionals bring state-mandated training and knowledge to the table for buyers and sellers. In fact, agents have to get as much, or more, training than what it would take for some college degrees before being given permission by the state to represent buyers and sellers in the transaction.

By the time a transaction is over, it is chock full of legally-binding documents controlling the transaction, pulling two parties together to exchange hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete a transaction that they may be involved in only a couple of times in their life.

Both the buyer and seller must perform to the contract, and most times, they don't even know how or what they're supposed to do to perform the paragraphs they just agreed to perform.

Nearly half of the buyers are purchasing for the first time, according to the National Association of Realtors. They only think agents are there to usher them into houses and that's it. And that's because hundreds of thousands of agents make that tooth extraction look so easy.

Why should you have a real estate agent on your investing/buying/selling team when it comes to building wealth?

There's talk on Capitol Hill of how the real estate industry has a "strangle hold" on the business. It makes me want to, not so much defend, as much as bring to the forefront what licensed professionals actually bring to the table for consumers.

You've heard the term, "You get what you pay for," and that doesn't go wasted on agents as well. Many sellers would love to get through the transaction themselves, without any help from a "middle man," to save the commission dollars. It sounds like it makes sense, "Hey, why pay thousands of dollars of your money to sell a house when you can do it yourself?"

But every agent has a real estate license regulated by the state. This means they are knowledgeable about various aspects of real estate law, rules and regulations, such as:

  1. What rights exist for land and how they can be traded

  2. How title can be held and how to ensure clear title to the land

  3. Financing: traditional, non-traditional, owner-held, etc.

  4. Fair housing laws: federal, state and local

  5. Local limits on the sale and trade of real estate

  6. State disclosure laws and regulations on the trade of real estate

  7. Contracts and forms
Most sellers and buyers I've talked with, while having access to plenty of "information" on the internet about the sales transaction, do not have a handle on the nuances, pitfalls, and inherent dangers of legal problems they can face in the midst of this huge investment.

Published: August 25, 2006

By M. Anthony Carr
Realty Times


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