Why I Don’t Sell Real Estate On Mars…


… or Boise.

Real Estate is an interesting profession. I get calls from all over the USA. I get to meet all kinds of people and, hopefully, some of them turn into clients and, eventually, friends.

I also get calls from other real estate agents. These calls are usually asking questions about a specific property I have listed. Other questions are more general in nature. I always attempt to respond to the questions I receive with the right answer. Some questions are thought provoking and others simply provoke a laugh.

The text message to the left is an actual message I received from an agent residing in Boise. She had a number of questions on a rather remote property I have listed.

Then we get to the most interesting question and the question that prompted the writing of this blog post: “What is CDA?” I must admit that I really did laugh out loud at that.

Anyone even remotely familiar with the Idaho panhandle knows that CDA is an abbreviation for Coeur D’Alene. Immediately, I recognize that I am dealing with an out-of-area agent, so I ask her location and she responds that she is in Boise.

On the surface, there is nothing wrong with this. By law, any Idaho real estate agent can legally sell everywhere in the state.

But should they?

Choosing an agent from Boise to purchase a home or land in St. Maries could be a risky choice. Out-of-area agents know nothing about local laws or customs, and nothing about any local issues pertinent to the local real estate market.

I sell real estate in the Idaho panhandle, specifically Benewah, Shoshone, Kootenai and Bonner counties. I don’t sell real estate on Mars, in Vladivostok, Beijing or in Boise. Should I get an inquiry for a property in a location other than my service area, I will almost always immediately inform that person that they would be much better served by a local real estate expert. It is the honest thing to do and it is in the best interest of the buyer.

As I write this, the market is shifting from a strong seller’s market to a more normal market. Interest rates have gone up substantially and the purchasing frenzy we have been witnessing over the past two years has cooled somewhat.

As sales dip, many real estate agents will be forced to look elsewhere for sales and many will be forced out of the business altogether. The pursuit of buyers will get very competitive. Some agents will succumb to the temptation to write offers on properties in areas that they are not familiar with.

The first question you should be asking an agent is if they have seen the property. If they haven’t, ask if they are wiling to go preview it for you. If they are not willing or are incapable of doing that, call someone else.

Paragraph 36 from the Idaho RE-24 Purchase & Sale Agreement

Paragraph 36 of the standard Idaho Real Estate Purchase & Sale Agreement is pictured above. After closing, there is only one person responsible for the property: You. You are buying the property in as-is-condition and you assume all responsibility for it after closing.

As a buyer, you depend on your agent to be a conduit of information to you involving all aspects of a real estate purchase. No one is going to be able to better assist you in your real estate purchase than a local professional.

I realize that it is tempting to hire your Aunt Suzie from Pocatello to write up your real estate purchase & sale agreement on a property 400 miles away in Podunk. But, if Aunt Suzie does not know the local market, you may as well hire someone from Mars.

There is only one person likely to get hurt using an out-of-area agent: You.

If you are buying property on Mars, call a Martian. If you are planning on buying property in the Idaho Panhandle, give me a call. I’m a local guy.