Friday, February 6, 2015 / by Katherine Kiernan
I am not sure if it was the first time that we had a real estate experience go bad or the third time when I finally thought to myself, "this is it?? After all of this time and all of this effort, this is all that you are going to do?"
Our home purchases and sales were never stress free to say the least. They were never handled as delicately as I hoped they would be. The first time we were purchasing a house we were elated. We followed all of the right steps and even had our preapproval buttoned up and in hand before we crossed the first threshold. We were over the moon. This was the first house either my husband or I had purchased. We didn't expect literal fireworks to shoot off from the chimney but in our hearts they sure were. We found what we felt was the perfect house for us. We were so excited as we told our Realtor that we wanted to make an offer and we received a very lack-luster, 'Ok. I will get it drawn up.' in return. We waited for days and days to get a response. We had no idea why. We called and text our Realtor to figure out what was going on and got very little response in return. "What the heck? Is this how it always was going to go??" No. It wasn't. We found out later that the reason the response took so long is because the house was a foreclosure and that process was different from a traditional purchase. All of this would have been AWESOME information to have had from the get-go, not on the day that our agent called to tell us that we didn't get the house. We were devastated. In our minds it was ours as we had no reason to think differently. No guidance, knowledge, or advice was shared with us to explain how all of this worked which would have led us to believe otherwise.
Eventually we did find and successfully purchase a new home after 3 failed negotiations, ten different tearful breakdowns (by me... not my husband), 15 gray hairs (mine) and a bald spot (Kelly) popping up. The frustrating and regretful part is that with proper advisement and great communication all of the aforementioned could have been avoided. That is what the job of a great Realtor is after all. Great advisement and sound advice and direction in the pursuit of any and all real estate endeavors.
When we went to sell this lovely home 2 years later a new and equally frustrating situation arose. A Realtor came and told us the price for which the house would sell, said we would have no problem selling it, and put a sign in our yard. That was it. Several weeks passed with a couple of showings but not much more. We didn't understand why, nor were we educated as to how this part of the process should go(es) so the frustration began to mount. We had heard that people often have open houses so we asked for one of those. The agent, after much protest, agreed and the next Sunday sent out his office assistant to do the open house. We never did hear how that went so naturally 30 days later we pulled the house off of the market with a heavy feeling of defeat in our hearts. 6 months later our lives were thrown a curve ball in the form of a relocation out-of-state and now said house needed to sell without question. Not knowing any better we called the same Realtor for the third time and asked him to list our house again. This time we had a showing on day one and a purchase agreement on day two. Thank goodness.
Once we got to our new destination we replayed the above situation again. The. Exact. Same. Situation. This time the reason for a relocation was because an apartment building popped up right next to our house where we had been promised that the vacant land was going to be single family homes. Shame on us, right? Wrong. What we are learning is that no; this is not acceptable and this is not how real estate is supposed to go.
After sharing my situations with several others I was astonished to learn that hundreds of people go through this horrendous debacle yearly. Many in our very own community! How could this be? My professional background has always been in finance and customer service. You absolutely could not successfully handle one's finances without exceptional communication and over the top customer service so how on earth could you handle the largest financial purchase in one's present life with anything less? Well I can tell you that from what we've been told people do just that daily. We are here to tell you that is a darn shame and if you have experienced that yourself, we are so incredibly sorry that happened to you.
We quickly decided to do something about it. We knew we couldn't change the world but felt very strongly that we could change the world of the clients who entrusted us with this incredible responsibility. From there we got licensed, found a Broker with the same beliefs, moral compass, and backbone as our own, created an S-Corp and started building our business one client at a time. I can firmly tell you that without a doubt there are outstanding agents/Realtors in this world. There are Realtors who will give you the shirt off of their backs to ensure that you have a roof over your head. If you haven't met this agent yet, keep looking. They do exist. You will know if you've found them when they put your needs before their own, when they feel like an entrusted friend rather than a more-knowledgeable-than-you-type "expert", and when the budget you set with them is consistently respected and not pushed. You will know that you have found them when the questions you ask receive prompt responses and when the calls you make to them are either answered on the spot or your message is returned quickly.
The real estate journey is a fun, fast paced, and intense journey. We assure you that your next journey can be as great as we promise. If you are in the Fargo/Moorhead area and thinking of making a move in the coming weeks, months, or years and haven't found that entrusted agent to work with please don't hesitate to give us a call. We look forward to ensuring that your next real estate endeavor exceeds your greatest expectation.
With Kind Regards,
Katherine and Sarah
Kiernan/DeJean Property Associates
Element Realty, Inc.
4610 Amber Valley Pkwy, Fargo, ND 58104