Have you ever hired a Realtor and regretted your decision? You are not alone. Not everyone loves their agent and the underlying reason is that some real estate agents are just better than others. The fact is 20% of the real estate agents do 80% of the business.
Just because you know a friend or family member who is a real estate agent, does not mean that they are the right agent for you. Do your research, get referrals and interview your real estate agent before you hire them. Make sure that they are going to work hard for you!
Here are 6 warning signs that you have hired the wrong agent:
1. No pictures? No description?
They did not post any pictures and/or write a description of your property. This is not that difficult to do – take some pictures! Even if the house is not the most attractive or in the best condition, you have to post pictures and describe the house so that people schedule appointments. Even properties that need work will attract buyers – probably investors, but some investors will buy sight unseen, so make sure there is some info about the house. Blurry pictures, sideways pictures and random shots of a wall, window, floor, or whatever else you can think of are just as bad as no pictures at all! This is your agent’s opportunity to show off your house to potential buyers – make it count!
2. Where is my agent? Do I still have an agent?
Real estate is not a 9-5 job! Your agent should be working for you no matter what time you call or email (within reason). We do not check out at 5pm. Most of our business is done “after hours” when our clients return from their 9-5 jobs. We live in a tech savvy day and age and there is no excuse for a lack of response. Cell phones, tablets and computers…with emails, text messages and voice mails…agents are aware of when a client has contacted them and if they choose to wait 16 hours or more, until the next morning, that is not acceptable. You know none of these agents are going to sleep at 5pm…so why does it take so long to receive a phone call back? My biggest pet peeve has got to be agents who do not return messages in a timely manner. It just irks me! It is not that difficult to make a phone call, write an email, send a text.
I have had agents who reply to me in more than 24 hours and I have had agents who reply to me in less than 24 seconds (no exaggeration)…with which agents do you think I would rather work? Obviously the ones who are attentive and quick to reply. You should know your agent and have regular follow up contact with them.
Never forget, they are working for you!!!
Do not let them avoid you and do not take no for an answer. I have seen agents who feel uncomfortable passing along an offer, finding out answers to your questions, etc. This is their job! If they want to represent you, make them do just that.
3. Can you fax that to me? Docu what?
Your agent is a dinosaur! No one should use fax machines anymore. DocuSign, scanners, smart phones, etc. are changing the way business is done. If your agent is not mobile ready, think twice. Less and less agents actually go to a physical office anymore. They work from home, from their car, from a local coffee shop – today’s technology makes all of this possible with cell phones, tablets, hot spots, portable printers. You name it, your agent should have most information right at their fingertips!
Don’t let them tell you that it will take several days to get you a response. Things move quickly nowadays (except short sales, they still drag on and on). Your agent needs to be up with the times. Social media is where it is at…it is easier than ever before to advertise your home to the masses. No need to just list your house on the MLS and hope it sells. Your agent needs to work for you and reach out to as many potential buyers and buyer’s agents as possible. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Zillow, Trulia – you name it, you want your house listed there. If your agent doesn’t know the difference between a “tweet” and a “like,” then you should definitely discuss their plans for advertising your house.
4. I’ll be there in 5 minutes. Oops, I hit traffic…again!
One of the biggest pet peeves for both buyers and sellers is that their agent is late…for everything! Agents should be on time! There is no good reason why clients should be left waiting. Your time is valuable! An agent who doesn’t show up on time is not putting you first. You are their client and you deserve their utmost attention. If they cannot provide that to you, find someone who can.
On occasion, something can cause a delay for your agent, but they better give you a darn good reason and the decency of a message regarding their delay well before your appointment time…not 5 minutes before (or after) they were supposed to meet you. There is no excuse why they are habitually late. This is just the sign of someone who cannot budget their time well.
As far as being on time goes, your agent is scheduling time to meet with you too, so please be decent and be on time for them as well.
5. Let me look for that. I’ll get back to you in a few days.
To me this says – disorganized. This may seem silly, but next time you meet your agent at a property take a peek in his car. If you cannot find the seats and there is stuff strewn all about, just imagine what his desk looks like! Mounds of papers stacked to the ceiling with no end in sight – think Jack and the Beanstalk, with the stalk just growing higher and higher. If he can’t find his desk, how can he find the print outs dedicated to you? Organization is key to a productive relationship.
6. You’d like to spend $350k? Great…I have this gorgeous home for half a million that is just perfect for you!
It seems that some real estate agents cannot do simple math. You ask for a home in a price range with which you are comfortable, yet every home they show you is well above your price range. I understand that some homes may be able to be negotiated into your price range, but the majority that they are showing you will never come down into your price range. Why do agents insist on the up-sale? A larger commission? The “move in ready” houses are easier to sell? It doesn’t matter what the reason…if you specify a price range, your agent should stick to it or at least stay pretty close.
When I first started looking for a home (before I was an agent myself), I walked out on a lot of agents who did not listen to my price constraints. I finally found one who listened and we bought through her. I offer the same benefit to my clients, I will not try to up-sell you – you tell me your criteria and I will find something that fits it.
Find the right agent for you. There are plenty of good agents out there, so there is no need to settle for someone who is second rate. Just remember, they are getting paid to work for you and represent you. If you do not feel that they are doing everything in their power to look out for you and help you buy/sell your house, then move on and find someone who will.
Whether you are buying or selling, this should be a fun and exciting time for you! There is no reason why this should be a painful experience or why you should be miserable. Take the time to find an agent that understands you and with whom you feel a connection. You have to work together, so make it a fun experience!