Today, we closed on the house where my children will grow up.
We spent an entire year thinking over the change. We looked at properties on real estate websites, toured open houses, narrowed down the neighborhoods we could see ourselves living for the next several decades.
And wondered about a realtor.
Did we even need a realtor these days? What did a buyer’s agent actually do? Couldn’t we just handle the negotiations ourselves and ask the seller to come down a bit in return?
After all, it wasn’t like seventeen years ago when we bought our first home, when we needed a professional to show us what inventory was available. What did our last agent even do for us? Drive us around for days in her Cadillac and then show up at the closing for her check?
Fortunately, Lane had helped my parents buy and sell several properties, and they covered him in such glowing praise that is seemed, well, stupid not to have him on our side of the table.
And looking back, doing it without him would have been a disaster. For several reasons:
Inventory – When we looked at houses on Realtor.com, Trulia, and Zillow, we noticed that the places we got excited over went under contract in a heartbeat. Our price range appeared to be a sweet spot in the market, and homes we both liked and could afford were rare. What I didn’t know, though, was that those sites both lag the actual listings by days, and are not always updated. Lane had access to the listings in real time. When the house we fell in love with came on the market, we looked at it that morning. We had it under contract before it even appeared on Zillow, and Zillow took another five days to stamp it with a UC.
Experience – Before we found the house that was “the one”, I liked a home with the most amazing views. Lane did some digging and found out that, based on the weird sales history of the property, and the fact that it had been under contract twice and both fell through after the inspection, that there was something on a major scale wrong with the house that the seller either didn’t know about or wouldn’t acknowledge. When we finally found the right place, he had great input on what questions we should ask of the seller, the inspector, and even the neighbors.
Paperwork – Buying a house comes with virtual forests of paperwork, and Lane guided us through every redundant word of it. When our lender demanded an additional agreement with the neighbors who share a wall that was never in place, Lane jumped in and made it happen. That document saved our loan from falling through.
Negotiation – The negotiations didn’t stop when our offer was accepted. We needed Lane to help us understand what on the inspection report was critical to fix and to make that happen, and to fight for other accommodations along the way.
Any licensed realtor can pull up inventory, ask questions, fill out paperwork, and negotiate on behalf of his clients, but Lane brought something else to our transaction that made all the difference.
Communication – Lane spent hours on the phone with me answering questions, giving advice, and holding my hand. When I had a question he didn’t know, like “What are the utilities every month?”, he got me copies of the current owner’s statements. He never flinched when we asked him to go back to the seller with one more request. But more than that, he was proactive. Throughout the entire process, he was out in front telling us what would happen next. He coordinated not just with the seller, but with our lender, letting us know what to expect from that corner, and following up to make sure that everything happened as it should.
Buying a house is stressful. Having Lane at the table with us made it much less so. But more than that, I’m convinced that we never would have gotten this house if it weren’t for Lane Tuetken and his willingness to start early in the morning and go the extra mile.