For Sale. Lake cabin on Eanes side of Lake Austin. 1 bedroom/1bath, boat dock. Cabin needs finish-out. Ski-boat will convey. $48,000 Call Sammy Agent: 512-345-xxxx
How long would it take you to pick up your phone? Not long I bet!
A true story: A number of years ago I was sitting in my office when another agent came in with a new listing. She began to tell me about the listing, and as she did, my ears grew to four times their normal size.
She had just completed the listing paperwork on a small lake cabin on the Westbank shore of Lake Austin. The cabin was small and it needed some work. But it did have a dock on Lake Austin and the seller was including a ski-boat in the $48,000 price!
Even 20 years ago, lots on Lake Austin were quite expensive. This was a small lot, and the cabin was tiny, but the location was prime. This cabin was the kind of real estate deal that everyone dreams of finding!
To make a long story short, the ad you see above never made it to the newspaper. As soon as the other agent walked away from my desk, I picked up the phone and began calling friends, and clients. Within 15 minutes I had found a cash buyer for the lake cabin. By the end of the day, the paperwork was completed and before the week was over the cabin had a new owner.
Looking for "The Deal": Today, many people begin their home search on the internet. It's easy - they can see hundreds of properties, with photos and details without ever leaving their couch. On top of that, they don't have any of those pesky salespeople asking questions. They think that when they find "The House" they will just call Aunt Sally's friend who has a real estate license and sells real estate part time. She can handle the paperwork.
The Problem: The best deals don't make it to the internet! They are often never advertised period! Just as I did with the lake cabin, when a really exceptional deal comes along, the good agents immediately pick up the telephone and call the people they know will be interested. Sometimes the property will be sold even before the For Sale sign goes up. Aunt Sally's part time friend will never even know about it and neither will you.
What to Do: Turn off your computer and get up from the couch. Go visit an open house or property tour and meet some real estate agents. Instead of looking for "The House" online, look for an agent who is likely to find out about "The House" before anyone else and who will pick up the phone and call you when he does!
When you find an agent like that, be loyal. Talk to the agent and let him know not only what you are looking for, but also why you want those things. An agent with experience can often read between the lines and bring up possibilities and solutions that you have not considered.
After All: You are not giving up anything when you work with a professional. You are gaining expertise and experience that you would not have yourself. Doctors do not operate on themselves. Finding the right home is too important and involves too much money to leave it to an amateur.