We MUST Be Our Clients' Advocate--Empower Them with Homework Too!
A professional young couple with two small children recently moved to Charlotte for a new job and did not know the area at all. Their relocation company placed them with a real estate agent who found them a cute little house in a neighborhood just outside the city limits. The reason I am now being consulted, the homeowners have realized that there is fighting in the streets and gunfire in the middle of the night--OFTEN--in their community! They absolutely detest the neighborhood AND the school that their children are attending and were ready to move after their first two days in their new home.
Sometimes we ask ourselves, "What exactly is fair about the Fair Housing Act?" The information that these clients needed is NOT something that we are legally allowed to share with our clients! I know, it IS a shame but, it's a fact of life that we must learn to live with. However, there are ways to ascertain that our clients are given the best possible information to make an informed decision.
These clients used my team to assist them (through a formal client referral from the wife's job at the bank). After sending them links to do their own research as well as setting them up with a gateway and getting them pre-qualified, we began their home search.
After viewing three homes in GREAT areas, in close proximity to their work, they've selected their dream home and are now proud homeowners in an area that they plan to reside for quite a few years!
The moral of the story--the original agent not only forgot to do her homework but, my clients had NO idea that THEY could do a little homework themselves. They thought that was what they had 'hired' the original agent to do. She did not pre-qualify them--they just THOUGHT the home that they purchased was all that they could afford because that is what a 'friend' had told them.
The original relocation agent wound up placing them in a home in an unsafe neighborhood in a school that the children were miserable, just to 'get it done'--not to mention, putting them in harms way in the process.
Because we are unable to discuss matters which our Buyers ask about certain neighborhoods, schools and areas doesn't mean that we can't guide them to do it themselves. Give your clients homework to do and let them feel empowered. Allow them to feel that they ARE a part of this process.
Believe me, YOU will sleep better at night.