In my last post, I covered 4 characteristics you want your real estate agent to have (check it out here), but now I want to cover some things to watch out for. There are some key points to look out for when selecting your real estate agent that could be warning signs that you’re not hiring the right realtor for you.
Now don’t get me wrong, an agent that meets any of the points below does not necessarily mean that they won’t find you the perfect home or sell your current house for the best price, but if you do not have previous experience working with the agent it may be best to find a different one.
1. Real estate is a part-time job for this agent.
Because most real estate agents are independent contractors and real estate has the potential to offer a lot of flexibility, there are a large number of agents who work in real estate part-time. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it does mean that this agent may not be as dedicated to you or have as much experience as a full-time agent. If they are working another part-time job, there may also be periods of time when they are unavailable, which can be very frustrating for either a home buyer or seller.
2. The agent suggests listing your house at the highest price you’ve heard yet.
When pricing a home, all agents have access to the same information, and for the most part will go about pricing your home in a similar method. Contrary to what you may want to believe or think, if an agent offers to list your home at a price significantly higher than other agents, it’s not necessarily a good thing. This agent may be offering to list at this price because they believe it will help them win your favor or the listing, but a home listed too high will not sell. Agents that consistently list homes higher than they should, will have longer average days on market (DOM) and will often need to reduce the home’s listing price. If you’re trying to sell your home quickly, this won’t be the agent for you.
3. You’re related to the agent.
Supporting someone you know is great, but it can also add stress to your real estate journey. Working with an agent you’re related to can mean tip-toeing around sensitive topics or issues that arise during the process of purchasing or selling your home. And let’s face it, this is a big decision, financially, emotionally… you name it, so feeling like you need to be sensitive of potential family politics is an additional and unnecessary burden. It may also mean that you are not working with an agent who is best suited to your real estate needs, see points 4 and 6.
4. The agent is not familiar with the area of town you live in or wish to move to.
Having an agent that is familiar with the area of town you wish to move to or are selling your house in can be extremely beneficial. An agent that has done a lot of work in a neighborhood will tend to have a better understanding of home prices as well as potential information about seller or buyer leads. Knowing the ins and outs of a neighborhood can lead to easier and quicker negotiations.
5. They offers to charge a lower commission than the 6% standard.
If a listing agent needs to offer a lower commission rate as a way to win your business, this may mean that they’re unable to bring other skills to the table. Many agents tend to offer a lower commission rate to set themselves apart, but this should not be the ultimate reason you choose that agent. While a lower commission rate may be good for the home seller, the lower rate may affect the buyers that are brought or attracted to your home. The lower commission rate does not just affect the selling agent, but may also affects the buyer’s agent. Some agents will offer to subsidize a portion of the commission rate, which is a much better option.
6. The agent has not closed transactions involving the type of property you’re selling or interested in.
There are multiple types of real estate property that can be sold and bought, and agents may be more or less familiar with these different types. It’s important that your agent is familiar with the kind of property you are trying to sell or buy, as this will help with the negotiation process. Different types of property will have different contracts that the agent will need to be aware of, and if they are familiar with them to begin with, the process will be easier for you. For example, the process of selling a piece of land is very different than selling a commercial property, which is also different than selling residential property.
7. The agent is not a Realtor with the National Association of REALTORS.
Realtors that belong to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) are required to follow a strict Code of Ethics. By hiring a Realtor (a real estate agent belonging to NAR) you will make sure that the agent you are working with will follow those guidelines, which have been put in place to protect the interests of buyers and sellers.
Now I know this is a lot of information, but selling or buying a house is a big deal, and I think it’s important that you find someone who is not only qualified but who you’ll enjoy working with. You can always contact us if you have questions about hiring an agent or to get insight on things that may be important for you to consider for you to consider for your home specifically.