Friday, February 15, 2008

ADRE introduces Consumer Bill of Rights

"Your home is your biggest investment." Haven't we all heard that before? And it's true, for most people. We're talking about an asset that is generally worth several years' salary. The price of a mistake, or a bad decision, could have serious consequences.

Here are some things to consider as you start down the road of selling or buying a home:


Bill of Rights. The Arizona Department of Real Estate (ADRE) has published a Consumers' Bill of Rights, which outlines what the department believes every consumer has the right to know. Personally, I think this is simply a starting point, and it brings up some ideas a consumer might not have thought about, but it is far from all-inclusive. A good Realtor and an educated Consumer should be discussing and investigating the subject property in a lot more detail than what's outlined in the Consumer Bill of Rights.

ADRE Buyer Advisory form. This is another document, tailored more towards buyers than sellers, which has a wealth of information about the purchase process. It's a bit long and tedious to read, but it should be required reading for anyone thinking about buying or selling.

A Good Realtor will help you understand the entire process, from start to finish, before you start. There may be dozens of pages of contracts, addenda, disclosures, notices, etc., and you'll want to know what each one means and what your options are at every step of the way.

How do you know if you're working with a good Realtor? You can start by reading our earlier articles on "How to Interview Your Realtor" and "What Some Agents Will Tell You to Get Your Business".

Unfortunately, even if you have the best Realtor in the world, you may not get exactly what you want. Unless you...

Become a Prudent Consumer, and educate yourself in the process. If you hear about grading or foundation, and it makes you think of cheese or makeup – that's ok. There's plenty of time to learn, but it's up to you to do it. Talk with your Realtor about what your ultimately trying to do. Ask lots of questions – no question is too small. Do some research online (and then ask/talk with your Realtor again). Read the Buyer Advisory form (and then ask more questions). See a pattern here? You want to have a good understanding of the contract, so make sure your Realtor can help you understand it. You are ultimately responsible for your decisions, so do whatever you can to make sure you're making good, well-informed decisions.

There's a lot at stake when buying or selling a home – $200,000, $300,000, $400,000, or more. And there's an old saying "A fool and his money are soon parted." The real estate industry has evolved over the years to offer a lot of protection to buyers and sellers, but in the end, the more educated party in the transaction is less likely to be the fool...

Your educating consumers Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

[tags] consumer bill of rights, adre, buyer advisory, Fletcher Heights [/tags]