The Wrong Real Estate Agent
By: Rick Sheppard, January 26, 2022
Let’s say you have a housing situation. You need to sell… or you want to buy… or you need to rent an apartment. What do you do? How do you get started?
Of course, housing situations vary from person to person, and everyone has their own unique set of circumstances. The same can be said for every house and apartment – no two are alike.
If you need to sell, you likely were at one time a buyer, which is to say you have some level of experience in real estate. You could browse the internet, collect some info on local home values, and attempt to market, sell, and close on your home yourself.
If you’d like to buy, you could also browse the internet and collect some home value info and some mortgage info before jumping into the market.
And if you are looking for an apartment to rent, again, you could browse the internet, find some landlord sites or rental sites, collect some info, and pursue a desirable apartment. Or maybe your Aunt Jane owns a 4-plex and happens to have a unit available. And she’s willing to let you rent it at a very fair monthly rent. And without completing an application, running a credit check, or requiring a security deposit. Jackpot!
The point is, housing situations don’t automatically require the use of a real estate agent. But statistically, most of the time when someone has a housing situation, they choose to work with a real estate agent.
Just as homes, home sellers, and home buyers vary, so do agents. Some will be good, some not so good. So the key question – how do you make sure you don’t end up with the wrong real estate agent?
- If you know and trust someone who has recently used the services of an agent, ask if they would recommend that agent. And also ask why. Such referrals are a great way to get started.
- Vet agents online. Do they have a website? Is it robust – current and informative? Does it provide some insight as to the agent’s personality, experience, communication skills, and business acumen?
- Check client testimonials on sites like Google, Yelp and Zillow. It’s one thing for an agent to pat himself on the back but much more impactful when actual clients praise an agent’s services.
- Interview an agent or agents in person. You’ll get a much better feel for how compatible they will be with you and your housing needs when you are able to look them in the eyes while asking your questions. Is he a full-time agent, committed to his craft? Or is he a part-timer who will only be available on weekends? Ask for a list of homes he sold in the area. Are the homes similar to yours? Has he sold 30 over the past 2 years or 6 over the past 10? Or 150 over the past 10 years – even better. Does he have the background and experience to market and sell your center city condo? If he’s primarily a rural agent, he may not.
- Finally, decide if you’ll be able to get along with this agent. Your housing situation will have you joining forces and spending substantial time together – on the phone and in person. Will that time for you be pleasant and productive or something not so much?
If you’ve found an agent who checks these 5 boxes, you should be in good hands. Work out the particulars of your housing situation – your responsibilities and the agent’s responsibilities. Then be prepared to make a contractual commitment and get the ball rolling.
One last thing, after all the vetting, if you decide that your agent choice isn’t working out, first consider that maybe it’s not all the agent’s fault. Did you live up to your responsibilities? Did you clearly communicate your intentions and expectations throughout the process? If you answer yes, and it’s clear that you have the wrong real estate agent, better to address the problem immediately. Talk with your agent and share your concerns. If you’re unable to reach a mutual understanding, cut the agent loose and get that termination in writing. Then go back to the drawing board and find the right agent. Your housing situation is just too important to be left in the hands of the wrong agent.
The author, Rick Sheppard, is a licensed real estate broker with RE/MAX Achievers, Inc in Collegeville, Pennsylvania and a 33+ year veteran of the real estate trenches. He knows a lot because he’s seen a lot. If you have any questions about this or any real estate related topic, feel free to contact Rick at [email protected] and he’ll do his best to answer your questions.