We all know what April Fools Day is. It's a day when people like to "prank" others with incorrect information and then once the person believes it, we mock them with saying "April Fools" claiming they are a fool! Usually it was all fun and games, with small, benign things, but today, it seems there are so many people trying to persuade us into believing things that just aren't true all year round. We have become skeptics in most situations and mistrust so many around us. How are we ever supposed to find out what the facts are in a situation? How do we trust someone we don't know, that they are giving us the correct facts?
When I was thinking of this, I thought about when people are selling or buying a home. It's usually the biggest financial transaction most of us will make in our lifetime and usually in any given transaction, you will have to deal with at least one person you don't know personally. Whether it's your real estate agent, someone at the bank, the person on the other side of the transaction, the inspector, the appraiser--I mean I could go on an on. Plus, we have all heard horror stories of transactions that have gone wrong or of people that were less than honest, to say the least. So how do we ever decide to take that step and trust? Do we just close our eyes and jump and hope that the bungee cords hold us? Of course not! We need to do our part and research different aspects of what goes into buying and selling a home. We need to do our best to find an expert in their given field and not take on the job ourselves. They need to be someone that has a good reputation, maybe someone you trust has recommended them to you, and they need to be credentialed.
Last year I found out what all it takes to have a real estate license and also what it takes to be a part of the Association of Realtors. It's not a "fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants" process by any means. You have to complete hours of course study in general, then even more according to the laws in your state. You have tests to take (and retake if you don't pass them the first time, which happened to me several times), ethics rules you need to follow as well as be accepted by a local brokerage. It's all about accountability and professionalism. There are steps put in place that once you earn your license, that you must take to KEEP your license. You even learn what sort of things you should or should not say to avoid breaking any laws! Who knew that just the things you can say can actually break laws?!
In the process I learned so much about the other professionals that help in the home sales transaction as well. I learned what they are trained to do, some even how long it takes to learn to do what they do--if they are credentialed in their field. We hear so much talk of "I wasn't professionally trained...I just learned it on my own" and we are so excited to hear how people can do almost anything they put their minds to, and it encourages us to do the same but the truth is we can get into a big mess if we don't know the laws and all the steps that are best in a given transaction. It's good to surround ourselves with experts in their fields, but you still will have a major hand in your transaction! It's up to you to research and be sure you have chosen the right professionals to work with. Make sure they communicate well with you. True professionals tend to prove themselves as the transaction goes along.
Being a diligent consumer is always a good thing. Even though we can have a good laugh at someone else's foolishness, we all don't like to be foolish ourselves. So be prepared and research what you can and always find the correct experts to surround yourself with when you are making a big decision like purchasing or selling a home. You will be so glad you did!
Jen Lush--Associate Broker and Mother of Managing Broker