JUN 11, 2022
There’s around 1.5M real estate agents in the United States, and approximately 500k homes currently for sale; do the math to judge how fierce the competition is. I want to be explicit in saying that most agents do the best they can with what they have. I’ve been critical of bad agents before, but saying an agent is bad encompasses a lot of things like being inexperienced, disorganized, etc. My objective with my own real estate business has always been to deliver the best customer experience, and that comes with calling out bullshit & lazy behavior by agents.
Getting your real estate license in New York isn’t rocket science. You don’t need a college degree, a high-school degree, or even U.S. citizenship to pass your test and earn your title. Isn’t that absurd? Now think about how complicated managing a real estate transaction is. Contrary to popular belief, an agent isn’t supposed to just show a couple of houses and collect a check.
Agent responsibilities also include marketing, project managing inspectors, attorneys, bank 3rd parties, follow ups, etc. all while ensuring that her primary seller or buyer has their ducks in a row with timing and moving out. Imagine if these responsibilities were part of a job description, you’d expect there to be at minimum more qualifications than just a beating pulse & a 70% passing rate for an exam. The result? A lot of agents that shouldn’t be b/c they’re not equipped with the acumen for large transactions.
I’ve only been a full-time agent for a few months, but I’ve already witnessed how some bad agents operate. For example, an agent I had the displeasure of speaking with would only present an offer to his seller if it was above a dollar amount he had in mind… not only is that illegal but good luck trying to get your offer accepted if it won’t be presented at all.
Here’s what to look for when interviewing agents:
(1) Knowledge about the property: Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, your agent should at least know the basic details — interior sq. footage, lot size, permits/violations, roof/windows/water tank/furnace replacement dates, and liens on a property (comes up at title search too).
(2) Familiarity with neighborhood comps: Not all agents will cover your area, that’s reasonable. But researching comps and average price/sq. ft. in an area takes < 15 minutes. If you’re going to pay $15k+ to broker a transaction, demand results.
(3) Punctual & presentable: If your agent shows up consistently late to your appointments without cause, fire them. Being a responsible adult means being prepared with your schedule. Same thing for showing up in sneakers, shorts, and a t-shirt — you’re going to buy or sell a house, not order a drink at Jamba Juice.
(4) Availability: Your agent should work at your schedule, especially before a relationship has been built. Sure, things happen — but don’t be surprised if you’ve lost a dream home because your part-time side-hustle agent wasn’t able to fit you into their schedule.
This post is a culmination of things I’ve learnt since I got my license in December 2021. The process has been excruciatingly rewarding because I’m learning something new everyday along with the fact that there’s demand for agents that are sincere, knowledgeable, and hard-working. My priority has been, and will always be, customer experience — whether in software sales or real estate, I’ve found that the money always follows when you do the right things right.