I was invited to a cookout this afternoon and I decided to go early to assist my friend to get everything ready. When I arrived, it seems my other girlfriends had decided to do the same. As I walked in the kitchen door, I was "shushed" so they could finish the HGTV show featuring a first time home buyer. I had seen this one before so I was content to wait the last few minutes of this segment. Immediately, one of my friends (really she is) turns around and says, "Agents are going to have to accept responsibility for some of this housing market slump." Of course, I promptly responded with a negative and for about 15 minutes, it was a cat fight. The husbands came in and it started all over again and ended with everybody laughing and shouting. It was all good natured but I am sure there are people who feel that way.
Today's segment was about a young couple with two little girls who wanted to move from an apartment to a home because the Mother wanted her children to have memories of playing in a yard and she wanted them to have a sense of community. They looked at over 100 house but couldn't find the right one. Father worked; Mom stayed at home. Enter the real estate agent who eventually finds them a house that has everything they wanted but it was about $30,000 above their top price. Her ace in the hole was a ten year tax abatement which would make the home within reach but you learn at the very end (where I came in) that they could only afford it if the builder would accept their $25,000-$30,000 price reduction plus $7,000 closing cost assist, and another $1,000 for appliances. The builder accepted but when the inspector noted there was no central heat & air unit outside...the deal almost fell apart because the buyer didn't have the few thousand to install it.. The property closed when the builder installed the unit. He had not installed it before for fear of theft. Everyone was happy.
My friends didn't see that agent as a good buyer's agent getting the house of their dreams for her client but they saw her as someone who sold them up to a home they really could not afford. I won't bore you with all the specific arguments but later when I was home, I thought about what a fine line we walk as agents to help clients achieve their goal. I asked my friends how they would feel, if when they bought their last home, the agent had asked them if they really could afford the house. What if your husband loses his job, can you afford to make payments? Do you have a rainy day fund? What if the bread winner of the family gets sick...do you have the money to make the payments? We laughed but it is food for thought.