Once again, author and waterfront home specialist Kenyon Blunt, has provided us with an excellent article on how to choose a REALTOR® who specializes in selling homes such as those located at beautiful Smith Mountain Lake.
When you’re shopping for a lake home, your number one task is to find a realtor who specializes in lake homes and who’s familiar with the areas you’ve chosen. In Part 1 of this series, I talked about choosing a realtor; what to look for, and what questions to ask when you’re making a selection. This second and final installment gives a brief reminder of why you need a realtor in the search process, what duties they should perform, and where to find good agents.
Why you need a realtor
Let’s face it; you need a realtor as badly as they need you. Good agents know what’s selling at the lake and what’s not. They can also help you look a little closer at certain things. For example, maybe your area has relied on well water versus another that has city water. This might be something that’s easily overlooked especially when you’re hooked on a particular home or area of the lake.
If you let your realtor know that you’re a bona fide buyer, then you can expect even better service. Sometimes the best lake properties are snapped up in a hurry. When I was looking to buy my most recent lake home, my realtor called and let me know about an old-time fishing cabin that was going on the market that day (usually there’s about a two-year waiting list for these nostalgic cabins). You can see how this relationship can be invaluable.
Duties realtors perform
There are several tasks that only a realtor can perform. Here are a few of them:
- Research comparable properties – this is difficult to do on your own because the values vary so much by proximity to water which is hard to determine from a website photo or multi-list description
- Act as an intermediary in negotiations – for most people, it’s very difficult to negotiate directly with the seller
- Recommend other professionals – chances are you may need one of the following for your lake home; a mortgage broker, lawyer, contractor, property inspections, repairman, etc. A good real estate professional can refer you to the best ones
- Handle problems – having a smooth closing is usually the exception rather than the rule. A realtor specializing in lake homes can assist with such problems as title irregularities, conveyance of personal property, repairs required as a result of inspections, etc.
- Notify you of market activity – a realtor can alert you to crucial information such as new listings, price reductions, or offers that have been withdrawn
- Give you insider information – there are always things going on around the lake and unless you live there, it’s hard to keep up-to-date. New developments may be going in or new commercial establishments built; both can alter your choice of lake properties
Once you’ve selected a realtor, you can help in the process. The two most important things you can control are what services to request and what questions to ask. Tell your agent that you want help on all of the various topics concerning lake homes. Just remember, it’s incumbent upon you to control and direct the agent and not the other way around.
Where to Find a Good Realtor
I’m biased on this point since I run a website that refers interested lake home buyers to realtors who specialize in lake homes. You can use the internet to begin your search process but be sure to ask the prospective realtors all those questions that I listed in Part 1. Another good way to find a lake home realtor is to ask other lake home residents. Business owners at the lake are also good at naming a few good real estate professionals. Whether you find your potential realtors on the internet, the Yellow Pages, or through an open house, make sure to check their credentials. The number one criterion for selection should be their knowledge of the lake and your area(s) in particular.
About the Author:
Kenyon Blunt is the publisher of “Lake Home Tips.”