8 Warning Signs You Hired The Wrong Realtor

Home Buyer

8 Warning Signs You Hired The Wrong Realtor

Signs You Hired The Wrong Realtor

Have you hired a Realtor but aren’t confident you are getting the quality of service you need or expected? Sadly, this is not an uncommon occurrence. Some Realtors advertise services that they aren’t skilled at providing, or they are not as attentive or knowledgeable as you were hoping. This post covers 8 warning signs to look out for to make sure you didn’t hire the wrong Realtor. Buying and selling real estate is a taxing process, so you need an agent who makes you feel comfortable every step of the way.

So what are the most important signs to watch out for?

1. The Realtor Doesn't Communicate Well.

Adept communication is a necessary quality for every real estate agent, and it has to exceed mere sociability. A good Realtor will provide consistent feedback, updates, and information to their clients throughout the transaction. If your Realtor calls you only when something significant has happened but leaves you in the dark every other time, that is a red flag. Instead, your Realtor should have regular correspondence with you to keep you informed of any important news or progress. 

Other important elements to communication are social intelligence and integrity. An agent should be able to read a situation and respond effectively to you and all other parties involved. You should also be able to trust that your agent is honest and fighting for your best interest. If you feel like your agent isn’t being upfront with you, that could be a strong indicator that they won’t be reliable through the transaction. When looking for Realtors, make sure to read reviews on a variety of different platforms (e.g. Google, Yelp, Zillow, etc.). It’s important to hear others’ experiences.

How It Should Be

Home Sellers: A good agent will guide you through every step of listing your home. From strategizing a listing price to creating an actionable timetable, you should be fully aware of the plan. Listing agents are responsible for informing you of every scheduled showing, and if possible, even give you access to a calendar or document that reflects an up-to-date showing schedule. Once your listing receives offers, your agent will call you to review each offer and determine which is the best for you. After you go into contract, your agent should be attentive to every aspect of the contractual process and guide you through all the paperwork and closing requirements. You should never have to chase your Realtor down for information.

Home Buyers: From the first to interview to the key handoff, you should have an attentive Realtor who is readily available to answer your questions, schedule property showings, and handle negotiations. A good agent regular checks up on their clients and provides updates on different properties that the client is interested in. The agent should review your budget with you, take time to understand your needs, research different properties, and update you throughout the process. The client should not have the responsibility of initiating necessary correspondence.

2. They Have Little Market Knowledge.

Does your agent seem uninformed when discussing the market? Realtors should be neighborhood experts in their community. If your agent doesn’t seem to have an accurate idea of home values, supply and demand, or school zones, then they are likely not going to be the best representation for you. An agent should be able to quickly provide you with community information, such as current home values and buyer/seller activity.

When interviewing agents, you want to make sure that you ask questions that give you insight into their level of market knowledge. If you are a seller, you can ask “how many homes have you sold in this area?”. If you are a buyer you can ask about the school district, crime rates, traffic, etc. to get an idea of how much they already know.

How It Should Be

Home Sellers: At your first listing appointment, a skilled listing agent provides you with detailed market data that explains current buyer activity in your area. They should review buyers’ vs. sellers’ markets, how demand is affecting sale prices, seller negotiation power, and more. From there, the agent will make an appointment to see your home and assess it’s value (*note: this is to help the agent determine a listing price, but that price is not necessarily equivalent to the appraisal value). After seeing the home, the listing agent will review the sales of comparable homes in the area to determine the best listing price. Your agent should always be able to provide you with detailed, up-to-date market information.

Home Buyers: As a buyer, you need to be aware of your competition. Realtors are responsible for informing their buyers of how the market is behaving, buyer negotiation power, and the anticipated price range for the type of home you are looking for. The agent should also equip you with detailed information on each area you are looking to buy a home. If you give your agent a zip code or school zone that you are interested in, it is their responsibility to conduct further research to tell you about neighborhood safety, nearby shops, traffic patterns, and more.

3. Home Showings Are Disorganized.

Real estate agents are in charge of managing home showings and open houses. If they show signs of disorganization and are forgetful or frequently changing the schedule, that’s an issue. Agents who miss showing appointments and meeting are likely not mature enough to be helpful representation.

How It Should Be

Home Sellers: A good agent will have an organized calendar reflecting updated showing appointments that they can share with you. If your home is occupied during its sale, your Realtor should give you sufficient notice to tidy up and go out. After each showing, agents typically send out a feedback form to those who viewed the property so that you can see what the buyers are saying.

Home Buyers: Expect your agent to be timely and prepared for showings. Buyers agents must research properties before each showing so that they can provide their client with informed details about the school zone, neighborhood, and HOA, as well as the home’s location in relation to the nearest parks, restaurants, businesses, and commute corridors. 

4. Their Marketing Strategy Has No Structure (*Sellers).

Marketing is very important for home selling. Every property deserves a strong listing description, great photography, and accurate information presented on the MLS. The listing should be advertised on the Realtor’s website, shared with their connections, and posted to social media. If your agent isn’t invested in making your property shine, then your home could risk sitting on the market. The longer a home sits on the market, the more its perceived value decreases. Buyers may suspect that something is wrong with the property, and that is why it is not selling. Properties can also sit if the market is saturated with listings. However, if your agent isn’t taking sufficient measures to promote your property, then you need to confront them about their strategy or find a new agent. See this post for more details about why properties sit on the market.

How It Should Be

Home Sellers: While the services Realtors offer vary, it’s common practice to have professional photography and online marketing included in the commission fee. Some agents also offer staging services and 3D tours, but that can depend on a number of factors, such as estimated home value, market demand, etc. When interviewing agents, ask them about the scale of their marketing for each listing, their digital presence, and how they prepare a home for sale (e.g. photography, staging, 3D tours, etc.).

Home Buyers: N/A

5. Your Wants And Needs Seem Unheard.

As the client, your wants and needs should always come before the Realtor’s. If you feel like your Realtor is not listening to you, that is a big problem. For example, a buyer’s agent should never encourage you to see properties that are outside of your budget or are explicitly what you said you didn’t want. Seller’s agents should never force you to list your home at a price you aren’t comfortable with. There may be times when a Realtor wants to show you a house you wouldn’t normally think of seeing or encourage you to accept an offer that is less than what you were hoping for, but that should be something they prepare you for beforehand and don’t force.

How It Should Be

Home Sellers: As a seller, your home should feel like a priority to your agent, regardless of its listing price. A skilled Realtor will never make you feel like your property is less important than others – no matter how many other listings they have. When it comes to pricing, they will guide you to a price they think is suitable given the market and the condition of the home, but they won’t push you to accept a price or terms you aren’t comfortable with.

Home Buyers: The homes your agent researches should meet your general preferences. Typically a Realtor will discuss your wants and needs with you before the search begins and tell you what they think is realistic. From there, they will search for homes that meet your biggest requirements. For example, if you said your two must-haves are: 1.) 4 bedrooms, and 2.) a location close to your office, then they shouldn’t show you properties that are a 35 minute drive from the office. The only time this would be acceptable is if they disclosed beforehand that one of your needs may be difficult to satisfy (e.g. a 4 bedroom house close to an office in Manhattan may be challenging to find within your budget).

6. They Are Unprepared.

Your agent should be prepared for every phone call, meeting, and home showing. Comps should always be ready to review during your scheduled meetings, and questions should be answered promptly. If your agent is showing up without the necessary documentation or information you need, they do not deserve your business. Buying and selling homes is no small task, and you need a Realtor who is prepared to handle the transaction.

How It Should Be

Home Sellers: If you choose an agent, they should be able to provide you with comps at the time of your first meeting (assuming you provided them the address in advance). If they aren’t prepared for the first meeting, you can’t expect much from the following ones. Good agents keep up with the market and will be equipped to answer questions you have about buyer activity in your area. 

Home Buyers: Skilled agents provide detailed information about each property their client expresses interest in viewing. Additionally, they discuss neighborhood information with you for the areas you are looking to buy. Agents are expected to arrive to property showings on time and be prepared with neighborhood information. This ensures you have a full understanding of the property and its location during your viewing.

7. The Agent Is Pushy.

Your agent should never pressure you to make a decision or tour a particular home. You are the decision-maker in your real estate experience, and your agent is a guide. They are expected to make suggestions throughout your buying and selling process, but they should never pressure you. 

How It Should Be

Home Sellers: Your Realtor should equip you with the data necessary to construct a beneficial pricing strategy. They will advise you on the best practices for pricing and preparing your home, but you have every right to act against that advice. It is your home, your money, and your decision. If you disagree with your Realtor, they should be understanding of your position and provide you with guidance according to your preferences. It’s important to note that if your agent suggests you price your home at a certain level because of the market, and you choose to price higher, acting contrary to their advice could result in your home sitting on the market or not selling.

Home Buyers: When looking for a home, the parameters you establish (assuming they are realistic) should be respected by the agent. This includes your budget, desired number of bedrooms, etc. If a Realtor thinks your budget is unrealistic, it’s their job to provide you with market data that explains their reasoning. Once you have that data, you can decide whether or not you want to stick with your original budget. If you do, you accept that you may have fewer options or won’t get everything on your “wants/needs” list. However, whatever you decide, your Realtor needs to accept. They should never push you to see homes that are above your budget (unless they have strong reason to believe it can be negotiated down), and they should always listen to your needs and not impress their personal agenda on your decision.

8. They Lack Negotiation Skills.

Negotiations are one of the most defining aspects of a transaction. Your Realtor’s skill at negotiating the sale price or contractual terms is what makes or breaks them as a real estate agent. In negotiations, the client’s best interest always needs to come first. That means negotiating higher sale prices for sellers and lower purchase prices for buyers. Be watchful of agents who seem inexperienced or unmotivated in your negotiations. Even skilled agents may not be able to get you the deal you want, but you need to make sure they are putting in the effort. It’s important to feel confident that your agent fought for the best outcome.

How It Should Be

Home Sellers: It is an agent’s responsibility to present every single offer to you. Once they present the offers, you can discuss your negotiation power and if you want to counter. Your agent may tell you that you can bargain for more, or they may advise you to accept an offer. At this point in the process, you should be confident that their advisements are data-based and well-intentioned. If you act contrary to their advice, the agent should still push for the best results within your preferences.

Home Buyers: Agents need to discuss a client’s parameters before beginning the home search. This ensures that they understand the highest price the client is willing to pay and the contractual terms they are willing to offer. As a buyer, once you and your agent agree on the starting offer, a skilled agent will put together a personalized offer package that they present to the listing agent. If the listing agent comes back with a counter to the offer, the agent should work to keep the negotiations well within your comfort zone. If they need to push for less-than-optimal terms, it should only be with your full consent and without any pressure. Your agent should never start at the top of your budget unless you have come to a mutual agreement that your highest bid is your only chance.


Final Notes.

Whether you have chosen a Realtor or are still looking, we hope this article helps you identify red flags in a partnership. If you have not yet chosen a Realtor, make sure to research each option thoroughly and interview carefully. There are many talented real estate agents who provide exceptional service, but you need to make sure you find the right match for you

If you are currently working with a Realtor, and this article made you realize that you need to find a different agent, look over your contract carefully to see your options. In this articleThe Balance explains different options buyers and sellers have if they need to switch agents. 

Everyone deserves the highest quality representation in their real estate experience. Don’t settle for a Realtor who doesn’t prioritize your needs or demonstrate real estate acumen.

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