Realize, too, please, that much of the following is meant to amuse.
1. "I'm on the Work Release Program"
I'm not saying that every agent who passes on showings because he prefers to spend time with his family on the weekends is covering up a trip to the pokey. Just because an agent's weekends are booked doesn't mean that he is actually munching on Hot Pockets and secretly scratching lines on a cell wall to mark the passing days. But, it's possible. Besides, do you really want to work with a criminal?
2. "This Home Mostly Survived the Fire"
The thing is you may not ever know what caused a fire inside a home. The smell of smoke lingers, and it's hard to get rid of the odor. You also have no assurance that the fire didn't cause further damage, and perhaps that damage was overlooked or not addressed. Look for white paint on the rafters during an attic inspection. Often restoration crews paint over charred wood.
3. "My Car Has Been Repossessed"
Trust me, you don't want to know that her PT Cruiser was repossessed by the bank. Why? Because it would mean the agent is having financial troubles, and the last person you want giving you real estate advice is an agent whose future transportation depends on it.
4. "I Just Got My Real Estate License"
Let me help you. Just place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and clearly enunciate the n before the o. Or, you can simply say you have a different agent in mind. You do, too, because it's anybody else but her.
5. "I Think There's a Dead Body in the Bedroom"
However, if the person in the bedroom is really dead, don't leave any fingerprints. As tempted as you may be, don't take any photographs, either. But do give careful consideration to whether you want to buy a home if the seller died in the house.
6. "Let's Not Tell Your Lender About the Seller Kickback"
If an agent asks you to sign an agreement that is not given to the lender, the agent is participating in mortgage fraud and could end up in the work release program. See item number one above.
7. "Is That a Pot House Next Door?"
Often they arrive after dark in a van without windows. They zip into the garage, close the door and go about the lucrative business of growing indoor pot farms. They don't interact, so if nobody knows who lives in that house next door, well, could be criminals.
8. "The Seller Says the Snakes Only Come Out at Night"
In most states, sellers are required to disclose material facts to a buyer. In California, for example, sellers must complete a questionnaire that asks whether rodents or pests or other animals have been spotted on the property. Always read your disclosures carefully before closing.
9. "Someone Famous Once Lived Here -- a Mr. Manson and His Family"
Another problem is these homes tend to draw fans who drive from across the country to photograph those homes. You could end up being pestered by tourists and gawkers hanging around your front door. This alone is a good reason to talk to neighbors before buying.
10. "You Know, As it Happens, I'm Also a Mortgage Broker"
Some real estate professionals believe it is necessary to supplement their income by wearing a variety of different hats. As anybody who has been through getting a mortgage loan can tell you, it can't be that much work to print out 99 pages of documents to sign. The trouble is it's not as simple as it looks, and to be a loan specialist requires a ton of training, experience and knowledge.
To avoid a conflict of interest, I advise hiring separate real estate professionals who specialize in their line of work, and do not allow your real estate agent to package your mortgage financing or vice versa.
At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.