Vol 6 No. 27 - March 29, 2006

Real estate no place for love
By Louise Bolger

In the movie "Shakespeare In Love," William is so in love with Viola he has a problem keeping it a secret. If you’re in love with a home you’ve been shown, it’s to your advantage to keep it confidential especially from the seller and their agent.

Some of the things that come out of buyer’s mouths can make the most savvy real estate agent run looking for a muzzle, for example: “I love it, we love this house, it’s the perfect house for us, we want it, it’s our dream home, I just found my next home, we want it, it’s perfect, I’ve always loved the sound of the surf and I can’t take my eyes off the water.”
Don’t get caught in the "love" trap, a little self control and a few tips can help even the most enthusiastic buyers from saying or revealing too much.

Don’t stay too long, find a way to pull yourself away from watching the dolphins and the sailboats on the Gulf. The longer you stay the more feelings you disclose, stay about a half hour tops, you can always go back for another look.

Try and arrange the showing when the homeowner and listing agent is not there. If that’s not possible, ask your agent to convey to the homeowner and listing agent that you prefer your agent to show the house, this way they can’t read your feelings.

Be approachable but not engaging with homeowners and listing agents. Both will attempt to size you up as to your qualifications and interest – put on your "poker" face.

Picture taking is acceptable with the permission of the owner, but try and limit it to the major rooms rather than the inside of closets, cabinets and garages.

Homeowners and listing agents may try to solicit instant feedback before you leave the house. Thank them for showing the home, say you need time to think about this home and others you may have seen that day, and say no more.

Asking factual questions are OK, if you keep it along the lines of property taxes, special and monthly assessments, school information and how long the current owners have lived there. Don’t ask about the obviously expensive tile in the kitchen or the spa pool with the waterfall that you can picture yourself in, or if the sunsets from the deck are always this spectacular.

Even if you’re in your agent’s car screaming that you must have this house, slow down and sleep on it. Unless the market is wildly overheated and you can’t wait to make a decision, go back for a second look.

Do some computer research or ask your agent to compile comparable sales in the area for the past several months. Since our local market has been changing so rapidly, going back too far may not give you a true picture of the activity.

Don’t let being in love blind you into forgetting your legal obligations to yourself. Waiving contingencies like attorney review, home inspection and mortgage contingencies are decisions that can cost you a lot of money and stress.

The sure sign that you’re in love will be when your agent presents a contract of sale to the owners and their agent, no need for them to know sooner. Just like Shakespeare’s royals who swear off love in "Love’s Labours Lost" - so must you. e within 10 percent of the actual value. Certainly Zillow.com is not meant to be the final decision on determining a value for your home, rather a second opinion to throw into the pot of opinions from local real estate professionals.

Since an informed real estate consumer (better than 75 percent consult the internet) is the best thing for the market, Zillow.com will provide a great service, especially in southwest Florida’s dramatically changing market. The brave new world of real estate is here. Hang on tight; who knows what’s next.

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