There are things that every real estate agent should know when assisting in home improvement projects, such as their rights and limitations.
Real estate agents can assist clients in home improvement projects. They represent either sellers or buyers. Sellers can hire an agent to help them fix up the property and stage it. On the other hand, buyers may want help to get the property into move-in condition. When homeowners realize how complicated renovations are with hundreds of decisions that need to be made, they search for an experienced advisor – a real estate agent known for excellent customer service. Often, a client may have an extensive list of wants for the project, such as fixing the door, replacing roof tiles, fixing cabinets, replacing screens, fixing toilets, and much, much more. There are some things that every real estate agent should know when assisting in home improvement projects, such as their rights and limitations, so let's see what they are.
What form of assistance can a real estate agent provide when it comes to home improvement?
Preferably, a real estate agent should have experience in architecture, design, and construction so they can provide referrals for the renovation team, such as:
- General contractor
- Sound and lighting specialists
- Permit facilitator
- Landscape architect, etc.
They can also provide a list of furniture showrooms, recommend appliances, color schemes, furniture placement, and room design.
Some people don't want to get into decorating details, so they will ask the person they hired for assistance. That's because they trust them to make those decisions, and it leaves them with less work to do and fewer decisions to make.
Usual duties of an agent during the renovation project
One of the things that every real estate agent should know when assisting in a home improvement project is that they can be present from concept through completion. Clients save time by not looking for individuals for each job, and everyone benefits.
An agent can make a referral for few general contractors from their real estate network, and each can provide a bid. Then the client can choose the one they find the best.
Sometimes clients may contact the renovation company that will give them a plan. However, maybe they won't understand the drawings, or they are just overwhelmed with the number of decisions. There comes the agent with a suggestion about redesigning the space in a way clients may never imagine themselves.
Real estate agents have a consultant role. They are the homeowner’s representative from the moment they step into the renovation process. They can offer opinions on design and construction and keep the renovation process on track.
An agent can come at each stage of work and approve it with the general contractor so that the work can move forward. If there is a problem, they can suggest what to do and discuss it with the contractor.
Agents can also advise clients to move out during renovation because living in a house under construction is a terrible idea. It can significantly slow down the work and prolong it.
What background should a real estate agent have?
Some real estate agents have architecture degrees, and they had careers as architects, but then they decided to add a real estate license. They can help buyers find a home and renovate it and help sellers get one ready for sale.
Real estate agents are professional experts who can add a lot of value to the home with their ideas. So, they are often hired as renovation consultants, especially if they have a design background and vision. They can provide excellent aesthetic advice and recommend everyone a client may need to fix up their home.
What are the limitations?
It depends on the state, but usually, every individual or firm that performs construction work must be licensed during the performance of the work. This applies to contractors, material or equipment suppliers, consultants, architects, and engineers. Real estate agents must be familiar with all of this if they don't want to lose their commission or get into any kind of trouble.
In most cases, the agent won't get a payment for acting as a contractor, but just the fee for operating within their real estate license capacity. They must be cautious when taking on responsibilities that require a contractors' license. The best thing to do is to consult an attorney before taking any project.
The critical points that real estate agents should know and respect are:
- Let the client (homeowner) contact the contractor directly
- Never directly pay the contractor
- Do not oversee the projects
Understandably, real estate agents want to do the most they can for their clients. However, the guidelines mentioned above are important things that real estate agents should keep in mind when assisting in home improvement projects. Agents must understand there are limits to what they can do under the law and respect those limits.
Home renovations during COVID-19
One more thing that a real estate agent should know when assisting in home improvement projects is that remodeling during COVID-19 is possible because there are strict safety measures to follow. Proper hygiene and sanitation at the site must be maintained. There must be a source of running water at the construction site. Furthermore, people must wear masks for the entire duration of their work and sanitize their hands regularly. Eye protection and gloves are preferable, but social distancing is an absolute must.
There are also other safety tips to keep in mind, considering that many things can be done remotely in the real estate industry. When the real estate agent needs to talk to the client regarding the details of a remodeling project, they should meet on Zoom or Skype and have a video call. Texts and e-mails are also great for presenting some design ideas and other data.
Some people underestimate how complicated a renovation job may be. When they are unsure what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and how to start, hiring an honest and reliable agent is the best possible decision. The crucial thing that every real estate agent should know when assisting in home improvement projects is that creating a home is much more than just finding a place to store the stuff. It means including many details and having a great vision and plan. A professional with multiple skills who understands aesthetics is all that clients need.