Home Buying in 53213>Question Details

Hawkman, Home Buyer in 53227

Is there something like a Better Business Burea regarding realtors?

Asked by Hawkman, 53227 Tue Nov 30, 2010

I have been looking at property out of state and have run into a large amount of lazy and clueless realtors. They can't or won't answer simple questions regarding such things as the age of the roof and furnace, or utility costs.

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I'm not your "politically correct" type of guy so I'll tell you like it is. There are alot of lazy and clueless Realtors in every part of the country. There are also alot of hard working, knowledgeable Realtors out there who will work their tails off for your business. There is no license violation for being lazy, its just bad business. Keep searching and you'll find one who will work for you and get you the information you request. Sign up that agent as a buyer representative so they can represent you in whatever home you end up purchasing and negotiate on your behalf, not the sellers.

As far as the simple questions you ask, that information should all be readily available. My sellers may not be 100% accurate but thats exactly how the information is passed along..."my seller states the furnace is approximately 5 years old". If they absolutely don't know that typically means they are quite old and that should factor into your pricing and negotiations.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
I think an agent should be able to give you an idea of the age of the roof or funace but nothing more than that unless they know for sure. The agent's info may come from statements (either written or oral) from the seller but it is your home inspection that will will reveal more accurate info. I am required to have my sellers fill out a property disclosure and unless the air conditioner, water heater, roof and the like were replaced fairly recently and they have readily accessible paid receipts I prefer their answer to be "don't know." In any event, you should not rely on the accuracy of statements by the seller or the agent - - instead you should have the home inspected by a licensed inspector.

As for untility costs, if a buyer wants to know what the current owner's average costs are I will attempt to obtain that information. However, I always explain that in addition to annual variations in mean temperatures we humans have our own personal thermostat. Some like it cooler and some like it warmer.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 24, 2011
To answer your question: the Better Business Bureau. They cover Realtors, too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
Many realtors aren't sure of the ages of the roof or furnace as the sellers may not know. As for utility costs check out the local utility company for an estimate of monthly costs. Here in Mliwaukee area WE Energies will tell you the monthly budget bill amount & not actual bills.(they'll average the sellers bills over a year) Check out the Dept. of Regulation & Licensing in the state if there are some realtors you are considering. You can tell by talking to the agents if they are someone you want to work with. Always ask for references too. Like any industry you will find incompetent people, but in real estate very few of those individuals sell a lot of homes. Find out how many homes a perspective agent sold in the last year. If it's only a couple, they obviously aren't knowledgeable enough to help you.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
Simple questions regarding age of roof, furnace, etc., should be asked to your licensed home inspector--an agent doesn't necessarily have such expertise/knowledge in order to give you an accurate answer--and oftentimes owners simply don't remember approximate dates of such repairs/replacements--as for utility costs--well much would depend on the number of occupants, property size, usage, etc., therefore ask your agent to ask the listing agent and or owner for an estimate of costs, or better yet, contact the utility company directly--they should have such statistics.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
As Marge Bennett mentioned, the state department of licensing and regulation that regulates real estate is the nearest to a Better Business Bureau. These state agencies investigate wrong doing by agents and brokers that are contrary to state law requirements. However, it’s not against the law to be cautious in answering questions or not having all the answers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
I always tell my buyers - It is not the age of the roof or furnance that you should be concerned about. It is the condition. You can not tell the condition until you have a home inspection.
Web Reference: http://WausauAreaHomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
Your best bet is to find a local REALTOR you trust and have them refer you to a REALTOR in their network. We all have REALTORS that we know in other parts of the country and usually when a buyer or seller is referred the other REALTOR is going to do hie/her best to take care of that potential business. They want to make sure that they get future referral business.

Best Regards!

Duane Murphy
Murphy & Associates Real Estate
Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group, Inc.
Web Reference: http://www.duanemurphy.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
Utilities they may be able to find out from the listing agent(who needs a signed form from their client to get that from the companies)- age of roof and other items may well be on the property disclosures- ask for a copy to be sent.
Some things agents do not know and that is where a home inspection is valuable, when you narrow the search down and get serious. There are lots of great agent out there just waiting to work with you.
Web Reference: http://topbrainerdagent.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
there is the local Board of Realtors for ethical issues and the state Division of Real Estate for legal issues.
As far as knowing the age of the roof or utility costs, unless the seller knows and has shared that information, there is no way for them to know what to tell you. As for utility costs, that can vary widely from family to family.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
Dear Hawkman,

It may not be that these agents are lazy but rather cautious. Unless I have a receipt in hand with the date, property address and name of contractor, I do not give out age of roof or furnace. Very often home owners have an idea of the age of something when in fact they might be five years off on the date. If I as an agent tell you that the home owner told me that the roof is 2 years and and you put an offer in on the home and then move out of state and find out that the roof was actually ten years old, who are you going to hold accountable?

The same thing happens with utilities. In my part of Wisconsin, I am able to call WE energies to get an amount of what the previous homeowner paid for one year. However, everyone's life style is different. Even if both homeowners had only one person in the house, I have seen heating and electric costs vary more than $100 per month.

I know this is not very helpful in your quest for information, but it is the truth.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
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