You're thinking of buying or selling a home soon and you don't have a real estate agent picked out yet. Maybe you hop on Facebook and ask a community forum who they recommend. You might ask friends, neighbors, or co-workers if they know someone. Maybe you've been getting a mail piece from the same agent for years and know someday you'll interview that person when the time comes. Sometimes buying or selling a home is a simple process but on occasion, it can turn into an unpleasant experience. Here are some red flags to watch out for before you begin the process.
- First up, we have the "trash talker" agent. You know the one - during your interview, they start badmouthing other brokers with negative comments like, "That agent never gets top dollar" or "That agent had a ton of cancellations last year." While it may be tempting to choose this agent because they're trying to win your business, it's important to remember that putting another agent down shouldn't be part of the process. Trust us, agents talk amongst themselves, and the last thing you want is to have a reputation for being underhanded. The agent who's talking trash is clearly trying to win your business but it shouldn't come at the expense of putting another agent down. Once your home goes on the market and agents see who has the listing they'll either be excited to work with the listing agent or dread it.
- Facebook red flag! Asking for real estate agent recommendations on Facebook is very common. As a real estate agent, watching dozens, if not hundreds of replies I'm dumbfounded by people who refer agents they've never used. This can range from recommending their best friend who just got their license to their own mom or dad and everything in between. I'm sure your best friend is a really nice person in general but how do you know they're a great agent if you've never used their services? The red flag here is to make sure you only take recommendations from people who have successfully used that agent from start to finish.
Seller-procured inspection reports are a huge red flag. Seller-procured inspections aren't always bad but I've seen some that were real doozies. I've seen reports that de-emphasize fairly large problems & I've had many buyers do an independent inspection only to catch a considerable amount of things the seller's inspector missed. Whenever possible do your own inspection in addition to the seller's inspection.
Then there's the "buyer agent fear of loss" red flag. Sure, it may feel like the house you're considering is the last one on the market, but trust us, there will always be more homes. If you can be patient, you'll find your dream home eventually. The fear of loss is a great way to make a sale but there will always be more homes. When inventory is low and a good house comes on the market it literally feels like inventory will never open up. If you can be patient, be patient. I always tell my buyers there will always be more houses and year after year it's true!
Red Flag, you changed your mind about keeping your home on the market, and your agent is pressuring you to keep it listed. Fun fact, either party can cancel the listing. As long as you reimburse the real estate agent for costs like photos, staging, signage, and flyers you can unilaterally cancel your listing agreement.
Robo dial red flag! When a homeowner cancels a listing, that homeowner will get a bazillion calls from ravenous real estate agents trying to get you to list the home with them. The calls will be, in the morning noon, and night. Sometimes it lasts for days. One of my clients said a real estate agent tracked down his mother trying to get a hold of him. Yikes!
I could tell you red flag after red flag but these blog posts are meant to be short and sweet. Find the right agent for you by asking a few of these key questions.
- How many homes did you sell last year?
How many of your sales in the last year were buyer sales and how many were listings?
- Do you own a home? If not, have you ever owned a home?
-What are the things you pay for when listing my home and what are the things I pay for?
-What marketing do you provide for your listings?
-What are your negotiation strategies?
- What is your honest opinion of what our list price should be?
- Are you taking any time off that would impact your services?
These questions are great for qualifying your next real estate agent!