Why ask a realtor construction questions?
By Menno Dueck
A realtor is “a person who acts as an agent for the sale and purchase of buildings and land” as defined by a recent Google search. No where have I found the definition of a realtor to include providing advice on renovations of residential and commercial buildings, including searches on the B.C. and Canadian real estate association websites.
Buying real estate, particularly residential, usually brings along an emotional element. We get excited visualizing our family moving in, picking paint colors, and even placement of furniture; nesting is good.
Quickly on the heels of picturing ourselves in the house comes the “awesome part.” Wouldn’t it be awesome…if we took out that wall, if we put in a bigger window over there, if we extended the deck, if we added a car port, if we made a master bathroom out of the third bedroom… and on, and on and on! The “awesome” possibilities are endless!
Gerri asked her realtor if the wall between the kitchen and dining room could be removed to give more of an open concept feeling. “Shouldn’t be a problem” her realtor said. By the time Gerri got home “shouldn’t be a problem” became “not a problem” and by the time she was talking with her coffee gal pals it was now “simply take out that wall.”
Unfortunately, that wall turned out to be the main bearing wall and definitely was not a simple (or inexpensive) task to remove.
It’s great to daydream about renovation possibilities, but daydream with someone who knows construction, someone who knows what is possible and what is not. Buying and selling is a realtor’s expertise; renovations are not.
Find a knowledgeable and reputable contractor to walk through the property with you, ask your questions about bearing walls, building codes, structure, etc., and brainstorm ideas. At the end of the day, when you put in your offer to purchase you should go in with your eyes wide open on price point AND possibilities.
My advice to home buyers: have a team of experts ready….realtor, contractor, inspector. Ask lots of questions but make sure you are asking the right person! Wouldn’t Gerri have been better off knowing prior to the purchase that what she wanted was possible but not simple?
Past articles are posted on DueckEnterprises.com under Blog.
– Menno Dueck, Ask Menno Consulting; Dueck Enterprises Inc.; DueckEnterprises.com