Fischer: There’s nothing wrong with asking a few questions
Confucius has been credited with saying, “The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.” While I essentially agree with this oft-quoted Chinese philosopher, I don’t necessarily think a person who initially asks a question looks a fool for even a moment. I would guess it depends on the question.
For the last several months, I have been working with a client who is in the process of purchasing his first home. This gentleman does not fit the mold of what the “typical” first-time homebuyer generally presents as. In fact, as everyone who I have ever met does, this man also comes with quite a story.
At the age of 14, he and his family immigrated to the United States from a different country. They did not come from a country where there was a specific area in which his people could conglomerate to somewhat soften the culture shock. They were on their own. They did not speak the language. They did not have jobs. They landed in California. For several years, they made a life there. He learned the language, received an education as well as an advanced secondary degree, and found a job in a place that, some may argue, was another foreign country, Utah. He brought his aging mother with him so he could look after her.
After a number of months here, he decided he wanted to homestead right here in the north end of our state. This is when I met him — single, nearing 40 years old, heavily accented, caring for his mother who does not speak English, and completely unfamiliar with how to navigate purchasing a home.
We searched in a variety of areas before we focused in and found a home. Along the way, he had many questions. Questions about the real estate market in general, why housing prices are so different in different areas, how property taxes are paid, what the advantages and disadvantages of HOAs are, how much are utilities, and questions on so many other topics. Every day, he called and we went through the questions of the day. Sometimes the answers were just reiterations of what we had already discussed; other times it was all new material.
After he had decided on a specific home, we had the questions about earnest money; where does it go and does he see it again? He had questions about deadlines and what needed to be done by those deadlines. What each paragraph on the purchase contract implied and how he was protected, which were all valid questions we discussed for some time.
Once we were under contract, we had inspections. When I informed him of his options, he wanted it all. We ordered a meth test, radon test and general home inspection. From those results, he needed to find a good handyman, a plumber, an electrician and a contractor. I provided him with a tried and true list of professionals.
Unfortunately, during the process, his car broke down. He needed a mechanic and possibly a car dealer. I had some names.
Today, I got a phone call from the lender. We have the clear to close. This gentleman and his mom will be in their very first home before Christmas.
He assured me that he will continue to call with questions even after we close on his home, “if that is OK.”
Of course it is OK. This is the stuff that creates true job satisfaction in the world of real estate. This guy is living the American dream. It is why most of us (Realtors) do what we do. If this gentleman never initiated the question, he would still be in a rental. Confucius said to ask the question. Give him some credibility. He was a pretty smart dude.
Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or firstname.lastname@example.org.