Spotting bad agents

General Advice

DEC 22, 2022

Most homeowners are faced with a difficult decision when selling in the internet age: to list or not to list? Let's say you agree to list with an agent, since you don't want the hassle of dealing with selling the house on your own. Not all agents are created equal, not even close. A bad listing agent that isn't well versed on pricing, marketing, and presentation strategies can cost you a lot in the final sale price of your home (and you'd still end up paying a commission!). Below are some of the top ways to spot a bad agent when deciding who to choose: 

They put you under pressure

Saying things along the lines of: "Right now is the right time, let's do it" and "you're wasting an opportunity if you don't buy/sell this house now" are the strongest indicator of how well versed an agent is in their profession. Most bad agents seem to think that pressuring someone to make a decision on buying or selling is the right client experience to provide. A bad agent doesn't understand that big-ticket items like your home require a lot of sensitivity since it's probably the biggest transaction in your life. If your agent doesn't seem to at least explain their reasoning behind their pushiness, then seller beware!

Clueless to basic details

The sq. footage, roof age, recent remodeling, appliance age, etc. are basic details that your agent should be able to rattle off right away when asked. However, bad agents don't put in the work to understand their clients needs, so why would they put in the work to learn the basic details of a property they're showing or selling. This translates to a bad experience for both the buyer & the seller because often times the information entered into an MLS system has to be submitted by the listing agent.

Mis-pricing your home

When it comes to listing your home publicly, the initial price set is one of the most crucial factors to ensure you get a lot of initial buzz & buyer foot traffic. This is because most buyers and their agents can see what other homes in your area are selling for, and savvy buyers will know when a property is priced just right or far too above the market price. If your house is too underpriced, it not only leaves you with less money at closing, but a lot of buyers will wonder whether or not something is wrong with your house and will opt out of even viewing it. If your price is set too high above the market, it will automatically shut out buyers that are shopping around with a strict budget as well as cause it to sit on the market for longer which will inevitably cause buyers to wonder if something's wrong with the home.

A bad agent will almost always put their needs before the client, and will be greedy when it comes to trying to fetch a higher-than-market price. It would be great to sell your house for $1M above what you want, but if the agent doesn't understand the market or her pricing strategy, then they won't be able to effectively communicate with you why it's not a great idea to be mindful of pricing too far from market comps.

Unwilling to compromise

Both good and bad agents will both agree: it hurts to have to give up your commission, even a small bit. However, most good agents understand that sometimes it's necessary for it to happen in order to close a deal, and they're happy to do it if the agent on the other side also meets them halfway. On the other hand, bad agents will take it extremely personally if the situation was to ever transform into them having to give up any of their commission in order for the deal to complete. It's rare, but it does happen.

Punctuality & Presentability

Although it might seem like a small detail, the devil's in them. Agent punctuality and presentability go into the overall demeanor and acumen of an agent. A bad real estate agent will often times be unresponsive to her clients' needs until it's convenient for her to respond. As a buyer or seller, this can incredibly frustrating because most times you expect the agent to stay on top of things when you need them to — especially if your price point is north of $1M+ as is common in large metro areas. Often times, bad agents will also not look the part when it comes to working on a listing. You shouldn't expect your agent to always be dolled up like an agent on Selling Sunset, but showing up to a viewing or listing appointment in shorts and flip flops should be a big red flag to any client.

This content is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, or insurance advice.


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