How Protected Are You?

We live in a crazy and ever-changing world in which we are all vulnerable. No one gets out of life alive, but we all hope that during our lifetime we, our loved ones, friends, and colleagues, are protected against random, directed, and/or unnecessary harm. There are seemingly daily reports of major breaches in web security—only recently Yahoo’s entire mail user system was hacked and identities compromised. We read in horror as school children kill and maim other school children, and being involved in a lawsuit is no longer unusual. The world gets smaller and the risks are altered. Violent crime levels, in many ways, has been reduced at the same time that people feel they should always be protected from any and all harm. Feeling you should be protected and taking the best steps toward actually protecting yourself are not necessarily one and the same.

Protected: to shield from injury: GUARD

As real estate professionals, Platinum Properties focuses on how to serve and protect our clients. There are a myriad of components to take into consideration within a real estate transaction, with different considerations depending on whether you are the seller or the buyer, and foundational rules that apply to both sides of a transaction. All real estate begins with property that needs to be truthfully and fully disclosed. There needs to be a legal description with a deed attached and a seller who has the rights to sell. Anything within or around the property that materially effects the value of the property needs to be fully disclosed as well as any system or element of the home and property that has issues effecting its value or use. This protects both sides. The seller is protected against possible law suits if they disclose a fact rather than trying to hide or minimize it. The buyer understands challenges and issues that directly impact them (and probably their checkbook) and agrees to accept those conditions.

No surprises.

A number of industries and professions are based on protecting you, and they oftentimes charge a high premium (as a one time fee or on a monthly or annual basis), or simply charge for their service which is meant to protect you. In real estate, you begin with Title Insurance, which the seller pays. Title Insurance is protecting both parties by insuring that the seller has the rights to transfer ownership and clearly spelling out the properties location, any easements, and any known facts that effect ownership rights. It is based on a percentage of the value of the property and can be thousands of dollars. As a one time/per transaction charge, a title company can find itself insuring the same property a number of times through-out the years if the property turns over. They rarely grant discounts.

During the Due Diligence time period, a number of professionals give you a sense of security by conducting a number of inspections, each with a specified cost. Read the fine print of these contracts and you’ll more than likely encounter a disclaimer about their exposure if something is not readily discovered, slightly outside their narrow description of what they are inspecting, or has a problem shortly after you purchase the home. Home inspectors are looking for the obvious, they are not climbing up on a roof to see if the flashing is truly sealed. They do not shine lights into the septic systems. For that, you need another inspector. In each case, a buyer is wanting information that leads to a sense of being protected against unwelcomed surprises and unplanned for expenses of time, money, and energy.

The “happiness quotient” is hard to place a price on, but it is safe to surmise that a sense of being protected is part of the equation.
How well is your future home built? Are the materials solid, the workmanship of high quality? Protect yourself and hire a Realtor who knows the builders and understands the quality of the materials and construction. You can inspect every aspect of a home to a certain extent with various specialists, but the integrity and long-term performance of a home rests on its foundation or how it is designed, sited, and built, along with the materials and workmen utilized. Home owners insurance will cover costs, less their deductibles, should your pipes burst, your roof leaks, or your electrical system shorts out and causes a fire. Once again, though, it is far better to be protected with preventative measures rather than after the damage is done.

Lawyers are often hired in real estate to protect a buyer by examining the contract, and determining covenants and zoning regulations that may impact a buyer’s desire to utilize property in a specific manner. However, even with a lawyer going over the existing documents, it doesn’t insure you won’t have a quarrel with a neighbor or the county. Understanding the culture of the Home Owners Association and of the city and county planning is your first protective defense. A savvy and educated Realtor should be able to inform you about the lay of the land and whether a particular property is in a location known for people co-existing within the rules with harmony or having a contentious climate. Knowledge and common sense are protective tools.

Mother Nature does whatever it wants. It can de violent, with little warning, and result in unbelievable destruction. Knowing your property’s location given flood plain mapping helps determine odds, but it does not insure you will never be faced with water damage. Forest fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hail storms, droughts, and all sorts of weather related tragedies can—and do—strike. Insurance is there to protect you from a financial standpoint, but it does not protect you from the emotional scares and loss of home, memories, keepsakes, and horrific disruption in life. Platinum Properties conducts our business knowing part of our duty is to protect a buyer by sharing our knowledge of the property’s location and the natural risks they are assuming in choosing that spot to live. In Montana, wind and spring flooding are real concerns, as is forest fires, winter road conditions, and snow loads.

Protecting yourself is fluid. As situations change, you need to assess your potential exposure and weigh how best to handle the possible risk. In real estate, protection begins with hiring a Realtor, like Platinum Properties, who is professional, experienced, aware, educated, and addresses the many potential hazards inherent with buying or selling property. You deserve an agent who maneuvers you through potentially damaging situations with reliable, solid information, good humor and the least amount of emotional and financial stress. Your agent should be your first line of defense and should anticipate and help reduce future problems. Before you hire an agent, ask yourself if this is someone you feel will truly represent and protect you and your interests.