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    Sunday, April 14, 2024

    A different perspective, straight from a Realtor

    I am addressing the elephant in the room that I don't see anyone talking about except attorneys and those who are not Realtors. An opinion piece in The Day recently fired me up as the misinformation is incredible and the advice even worse.

    Let’s start with showing properties. According to the advice in The Day, you just call the listing agent and get in. So imagine you want to see four properties. Do you call four agents and try to coordinate all four with yours? Saturday I had three people that needed last-minute access and I made it happen. One was because the listing agent didn’t return their call.

    Second is mortgages. Good buyers’ agents know which mortgage might fit the buyer and even the property best. Some can go FHA (Federal Housing Authority), some not. Some folks can get a forgivable loan, but only if the lender does CHFA (Connecticut Housing Finance Authority). Will you trust that knowledge to a stranger or to someone you work with and know? Same with home inspections. Good buyers’ agents know the best and most thorough inspectors, including septic. Some will be your eyes and ears in a building and can spot problems that may pop up down the line. I have sold 930-plus properties and while I am not an inspector, I have been through hundreds of inspections and can save time and money by pointing out issues before the client spends the money putting in the offer and paying for appraisals, inspections and application fees.

    A good buyers’ agent runs a market analysis on the property so their client knows what the real value of the home is and takes into account how long the person may be living in the area so they know the downsides. I have one client now, a first-time home buyer who has gone to over 20 properties and has been outbid around 12 times. No, I don’t get paid for that but our adventure continues. Yes, the commissions are expensive. Their costs go up with the market and yes, we benefit. As Realtors we face the same inflation and the same cost of housing everyone does. When the market sunk 30% in the last crash our income went down way more than that. I recall a period in 2009 when my first six months netted $2,300 in income right when my daughter was about to go to college. I am not whining about it; it is part of the process.

    At my peak — and, yes I share these things with my clients — my profit was $160,000. Out of that, as independent contractors, we pay double social security and self-employment tax. My bill was over $50,000. My health insurance then was $1,000 a month and we cannot collect unemployment. This is the risk we take being self-employed and I consider it an obligation to pay my taxes.

    The real losers in this will be first-time home buyers and those who have not bought a home in years. You do need someone on your side and someone you can trust. In many cases I call myself their second father looking out for them. I think it’s foolish for those not in the business to comment on how easy it will be to go through the process without good representation. Twenty-eight years ago, before Connecticut instituted buyer agency, everyone worked for the seller. It was a great step forward for buyers’ rights that it changed and buyers have someone to educate them and stand up for them.

    After 27 years in the business I still love it and will always protect the buyers, whether there is good compensation or not. That is what we are supposed to do. Commissions were always negotiable and you could choose to pay no one, someone or everyone. The first five homes I bought were before I was a Realtor and without representation. Two of them hurt me and I didn’t know who was representing me.

    Before you comment, know that everyone’s job looks easy — until you have to do it yourself.

    Leo Chomen is a sales associate for Randall Realtors. He lives in Mystic.

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