Avoid These Mistakes


East Cobb Buyers Broker Robert Whitfield

Admit it – you know you need an Expert instead of an agent/generalist – call Robert Whitfield today!

East Cobb Home Buyer Mistakes You Really Don’t Want To Repeat!

Hire An Expert…it costs no more than settling for a generalist – and can save a ton of money and headaches!

Real world examples of what can happen if you try to be “your own Broker” …or simply settle for any old agent you know, or that your corporate relocation folks refer you to! You do have a choice! Trust me, as a real estate insider I can assure you these things (and worse) happen to unsuspecting buyers every day.


If Dr. House were a realtor, I can hear it now: “those buyers were idiots for dealing directly with a builders agent on their own and deserve all the hassles and pain coming their way!”

House would be right but I will say it a little differently – “those buyers assumed real estate transactions are something anyone can do – and that is not the case, especially with new home transactions. They simply didn’t know what they didn’t know.”

These Following Real Examples Are For Instructional Purposes, Actual Builder & Buyer Names Are Not Revealed 

Case # 1:
We Bought A Brand New Home Without an Agent – And It’s Going Really Bad!

I ran across this home buyer nightmare on December 28, 2012 while photographing new home development activity in East Cobb for my various East Cobb website blogs.

Busting the Wrong Brick Off!

While out shooting photos in several new home developments in East Cobb, I ran across three workers busting the brick off the exterior of a brand new $500K home with sledgehammers! The site super told me the relocating owner who apparently drove down one weekend and bought the home without an agent, (repeat after me – not a wise decision) and not caring for the builders planned brick color, selected a different color brick. Somehow that little detail got lost in translation between the sales agent in the model home (the builders agent) and the builder, the end result being the entire house (3 sides) was bricked with the wrong color brick! That one mistake cost the builder over $60K and has delayed the owner from moving down to Atlanta by over a month! Ouch! I wonder if the buyers had to put their stuff in storage and move into a month to month apartment? I have no idea if resulting damage will occur (or has already occurred) from the brick demo work as bricks crash down onto the roof decks below (or if any resulting damage will be covered up by the builders contractors) but unfortunately I am not representing that buyer, so they will not be benefiting from any of the unmatched due-diligence services I provide to each buyer client – such as complimentary ongoing site visits and new home construction monitoring that I provide to all my clients who are building new homes.   Bricks Busted Off New East Cobb Home

To be sure, even if the above buyer had used any ordinary agent of their choice, this costly mess would still have happened. Preventing this type issue is routine for me, but well beyond the scope of abilities, services, or responsibilities of all ordinary agents and realtors.

Case #2:
Dream Home Finally Found…Wrong Dream – Backing Out Of The Deal!

This is a case in which I was personally involved in early December 2012, (unfortunately in the capacity of a building inspector rather than the purchasers buyer broker) wherein the buyer had to make the unpleasant decision to terminate her purchase transaction.

GA Real Estate Sales Contract

Having to back out of a real estate purchase transaction can be risky, especially with new home builder contracts, and it is frustrating and never any fun, but this one was particularly bad because of the circumstances.  This buyer, a new acquaintance of my wife’s, already had a buyers agent she had worked with for months and therefore felt “obligated” to continue using that agent, (which is why I wasn’t representing her). What makes this situation so bad is how emotionally invested this buyer had become in this property over an extended period of time. She had been eyeing this particular home for over three months before she felt she had enough research under her belt (a red flag in and of itself) in order to finally conclude it was the best deal available and that she should move forward with an offer. It is surprising this property was still there after over 90 days.

This buyer learned I was an ICC Certified Building Inspection Expert (in addition to being a licensed GA Real Estate Broker/Owner) and asked me to do her home inspection. I don’t do fee paid inspections anymore, and only do building evaluations for my clients, but agreed because this buyer was a new family acquaintance and friend of my wifes. During the home inspection, I discovered a defect (which on the surface most folks would assume had been properly handled) but due to a host of things that did not jive, I advised further analysis by a licensed expert in the field. My hunch proved right as the item was determined not properly taken care of, and in fact posed a health hazard to the occupants.

You might ask, if I were representing this buyer, what could I have done to improve this situation for the buyer – how could I have affected the outcome in a more positive way – what would I have done that her skilled but ordinary agent couldn’t? Grab a chair and your notepad! No, I will cut to the chase and give you just two basics regarding this example.

First, it has never taken me anything close to 90+ days to find my client a home they liked enough to make an offer on. Taking that long to slowly sift through the market means one of two things – your agent doesn’t know what they’re doing, or your expectations as the buyer are out of alignment with market realities ie, you want a 6000 sq ft, 3 car garage, 4 sided brick, custom-built home with finished basement in East Cobb or Alpharetta’s best school districts for $400K – not going to happen even in the depressed markets of 2009-2013, the best market in recent history! Regardless of the reason or reasons in this case, it should not have taken 90 plus days for the agent to prove to the buyer that this is or isn’t “the one” so the buyer could be comfortable enough to make a timely decision to act – or move on.

Free Atlanta Home Inspections

Second, and this is really first – as a Licensed Broker/Owner who is also qualified as a ICC Certified Building Inspection and New Home Construction Expert with over 35 years experience, I provide a complimentary pre-purchase building inspection analysis of every home my buyer clients are interested in, before we even consider an offer – so way back in August, I would have detected this issue and informed the buyer about this problem so they could have moved on months ago. I am not faulting this agent for the defect mind you, because agents are not qualified to look for and analyze technical building defects and structural faults some of which are invisible to the untrained eye. I do fault the agent for the amount of time wasted. I have helped many out-of-state and even foreign buyers who had never been to Atlanta locate their ideal homes in as little as 1 week and the maximum time required in over 18 years has been 6 weeks.

If you prefer to avoid painful and costly East Cobb Home Buyer Mistakes, poor outcomes and unnecessary drama like these examples, and countless others I can cite – the solution is simple…
Hire an Expert and Advocate – rather than an agent/realtor generalist!

1. If you’re not *represented in writing by an ordinary agent/generalist, contact me.

2. If you are represented by an ordinary agent but feel obligated to stay with them – shame on you! If you stop and think about it – I think you will agree – your first priority should be what is best for you and your family – and not subordinating your best interest just so some agent gets to earn a commission! Give them $500 if it makes you feel better, and *let them go in writing, and then contact me.

Consumer Education Alert

*Unfortunately, too many folks (and sadly even agents who are supposed to know better) don’t understand and appreciate the risks and ramifications to the public when agents and realtors work with a buyer without legally representing them in writing, but here’s the scoop:

If you’re merely “working” with an agent (never signed a GA Buyer Brokerage Agreement), you may think you have an agent but legally you don’t! By not insisting you become a client, which is done by entering into a written Buyer Brokerage Representation Agreement, you are merely that agents ‘customer’ – like a customer in a store. That means the agent is serving as a salesman not a trusted adviser and is not allowed to provide you with sound client level advice or do things to protect your interests (because you’re a customer) and if they try to do so that can put you and the agent at risk in any contracts, and potentially make you liable to pay the agents fee. Worse – the agent has left you exposed to unnecessary risks on every level. That agent is legally not accountable to you for their advice, mistakes, errors, actions, or even failures to act! This practice is egregious, but happens every day in the real estate world. Sometimes the buyer is never the wiser until disaster strikes, money is lost, or a lawsuit ensues.

Would you hire an attorney who was not accountable to you, and moreover prohibited from giving you sound client level advice? It’s the same thing! The answer is No – while agents get away with such unprofessional and even illegal actions due to poor and absent close Broker supervision – attorneys aren’t allowed to “claim to serve” or actually serve the public as a ‘client’ without a written Representation Agreement in place. Now that you know better – the good thing, since that agent has not committed their best service to you (whatever their best is) and has chosen not to be accountable to you, you certainly owe them no loyalty and should have no hesitation to sever that verbal customer-level relationship!

All you need to do is say “thanks for your time..but now that I have become informed, I have decided to hire an Expert who actually has the qualification to Advise and even Advocate for me – and who would never leave me unprotected!” (Or however you prefer to say goodbye.

Note – this information does not constitute a brokerage relationship with the reader, and it is not legal advice – it you need legal advice you should consult a competent attorney.

Questions? Contact me and lets talk about getting Better Results, and a Better Way to Buy or Build Your Next Home: 678-585-9691!

Robert Whitfield
Advantage Realtors