FEB 7, 2023
Buying or selling a house is a daunting process for many that aren't used to it. That's why, more likely than not, you've probably thought about using a licensed real estate agent's services in order to help you get to the closing table. Although there are some helpful ways to spot a good agent from a mile away, beware of the red flags below to help you spot a bad agent.
When most people retain the services of a licensed agent, they expect a level of professional communication that's on par with any other professional service (e.g. an accountant). If you find yourself having to follow up with your agent constantly, and feel like you have to compete for their attention with all the other things your agent's up to... it's time to cut the cord and fire them.
Being a real estate agent doesn't require too much formal education, or any education in some states, and with that low barrier to entry comes a high supply of agents that just don't have the acumen to see beyond their commission check (unfortunately). If your agent doesn't ask any second or third level questions about what you're trying to accomplish, chances are you're not going to have the best experience and the agent is only good at filling out paperwork.
This might sound like a good idea to begin with, because it will save you a lot of money up front, but like in most professions: you get what you pay for. Discount agents are great for buyers & sellers that already have a good idea of what they're doing and only need minimal marketing effort, but most people typically will need a lot more hand holding than they realize. If your agent is charging the lowest commission compared to others, keep in mind that it's going to come with a sacrifice in quality of work.
A big red flag that most investors and new homebuyers don't see right away is their agent's communication & advice after discussing their goals and plans. Homebuyers that may build a strong rapport with an agent who prioritizes her commission unfortunately get advice that only support's the agent's bottom line. You should be wary of when your agent's advice on a property flip flops based on your reactions to their advice; a good agent will stand by their professional opinion and tell you honestly if they don't think a property is a good fit for you.
It's true, real estate is a reputation industry & business. If you feel like your agent isn't responsive to your communication and doesn't try to understand your personality or character - it's a sign that they're only interested in a short term relationship and their priorities might be misaligned. It doesn't necessarily mean that your agent should prepare to propose to you at the closing table, but great agents know that referrals and word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing in the industry.
This content is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, or insurance advice.