18 Signs You’re About to Hire the Wrong Real Estate Agent
Does your skin get itchy when you talk to them? Do they keep showing you houses you’d never be interested in? Trust those instincts and watch out for these telltale signs you’re working with the wrong person.
They make a bad first impression
“When it comes to real estate agents, the first impression is always telling,” explains Adham Sbeih, the CEO of Socotra Capital, a California-based real estate firm. “If an agent doesn’t pick up the phone the first time you call them, that’s an automatic thumbs down. They’ve already shown themselves to be unreliable, and in an often time-sensitive situation like buying a house, you need them to be there when you need them most.” Don’t miss this 10-step plan to buying your first house in five years.
They don’t get to know you
Your agent doesn’t need to know your favorite sushi dish, but they should have a general idea of who you are and what your interests are in regards to home buying. For example, you want a safe home near schools or you want to be in an up and coming neighborhood rich with city life. “An agent should be wholeheartedly invested in their client’s buying or selling experience,” shares Dawn Perry, Sr. Vice President of Marketing for ERA Real Estate. “Any agent who doesn’t want to know more about you and your general interests may not be your best bet.”
They don’t listen to your needs and wants
“I would say in the most basic sense that you know you’re working with the wrong realtor when their focus of conversation with a client is not based on the client’s wants and needs but is focused more on the agent’s resumé or a specific home,” says Michael Watson, an Antelope Valley, California-based realtor. It is a good idea to make a list of your non-negotiable wants and needs in a home to keep you and your agent focused.
They don’t think outside the box
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A little creativity is required from a real estate agent. “Whether you’re a buyer or seller, there’s a huge advantage to thinking outside of the box,” says Ed Reynolds of Denver-based Atlas Real Estate Group. “Understanding when to reduce a purchase price or waive contingencies as a buyer is crucial to getting your offer accepted.” Check out these 11 shockingly common mistakes to avoid when buying your first home.
They don’t have experience in your price range
“If you’re looking to purchase a $2 million dollar house, don’t work with an agent that primarily sells $200,000 condos,” warns Denver real estate broker Ed Reynolds. “The agent needs to be experienced at buying and selling homes in your price range.” Reynolds explains that one way to do that is to tell the agent, “I am looking for a $500,000 home, how many houses in that price point did you buy or sell this year?” Don’t miss these 12 surprising costs every first-time home buyer needs to know about.
They aren’t responsive
Does your agent keep missing your call? It could be time to move on. “One of the most important characteristics of a great real estate agent is someone that is very responsive by phone, text, or email,” says real estate marketer, Jennifer Poston. “In hot markets, great houses go quickly and when something comes up that you want to see, you need someone that is going to be near their phone to make the appointment or has a showing assistant that can help you when they are not available.”
They aren’t proactive
Even if this isn’t your first home purchase or sale, your agent should be proactive in keeping you on course. “A good agent will be sure you don’t miss out on opportunities due to lack of preparation,” says New York City real estate broker Brenda Di Bari. She also believes that agents should be diligent in making sure your financing is pre-approved and that you have a home inspector lined up. Check out these 22 secrets your real estate agent isn’t telling you.
They don’t have a real estate license
“Do yourself a favor and vet anyone you’re going to be working with—both your realtor and the one on the other end of the sale,” says Justin Lavelle, a fraud prevention expert for the BeenVerified. “A LinkedIn account doesn’t mean someone is trustworthy or a valid realtor. A person could have been a licensed realtor previously but may now have an expired license.” These 11 tips to avoid a home improvement scam are also helpful to know.
Don’t choose family or friends
“The biggest mistake people make is going with a realtor who is a friend or relative,” says Sissy Lappin, a real estate agent and founder of Listing Door, a tool that helps individuals sell their home. “Your home is a big investment, it should not be a training program for your cousin who was laid off from their job and started a new career.” Even if your friend or family member is an experienced agent, you might feel more comfortable bossing around someone you don’t know on a personal level.
They don’t have a flexible schedule
Sure, your agent might be busy, but they shouldn’t be too busy to make you a priority. “Whether you are on the buyer’s side or seller’s side, if this relationship impedes the client from seeing a home because both parties just can’t ‘work it out,’ this is a red flag,” warns residential real estate expert Alison Bernstein of Suburban Jungle.