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A Few Bad Apples

It’s just sad…we’re a hair above used car salesman. The worst thing about it is that by in large—I know the reputation has been earned.

It’s just sad…we’re a hair above used car salesman. The worst thing about it is that by in large—I know the reputation has been earned.

It’s probably always the case that the stinkers are the ones you hear about—the real estate agents that do it right, that work hard—that really do put your interests ahead of their own, they’re boring no one wants to hear about them, but they are out there.

If you are in the market for an agent here’s a list of things that will help you weed out the good from the not so good.

Full Time Agent: When the market got tough a lot of agent found they had to take other jobs. So a lot of agents are not working full time in real estate. If you’re hiring someone to sell your house or help you buy a house you need someone whose head is in the game full time; who can return calls in a timely manner and who can respond as needed. Real Estate is a demand driven business—and mostly it’s someone else’s demands; an agent that can't respond or who's time is restricted will not be able to give you their full attention.

Technology Savvy: While real estate is still a relational business if your agent can’t expose your property in a technically sophisticated way, keep looking. Your agent should have a strong web presence in the market that they serve. It should be easy to find your agent online and it should be even easier to find your agent’s listings.

Added Value: Competitive pressure should create a higher level of service. We all have to do everything we can to stand out from the crowd. Your agent should be an expert in their market; they should help make your home the very best, most appealing product it can be. That includes

1. Helping you price it right

2. Recommending improvements

3. Offering staging consultations

4. Producing beautiful print and digital materials

5. Exposing the property to the broadest possible market and to the appropriate “move up” market, and pretty much anything else that it takes to get the house sold.

If the only thing an agent can offer discount in commission—I would suggest that thier "bag of tricks" isn't big enough, and that’s something your should think about.

Honesty & Integrity: Obviously your agent should be honest but more importantly you and your agent need to have a relationship that is based on the ability to have an open honest exchange of ideas and information—even when the information being relayed doesn’t make you happy.  If you have your agent walking on eggshells then you’re not going to get the best from your agent. If you feel like you can’t trust them then don’t hire them.

Real Estate is like everything else—if you’re  not  satisfied with the service you're receiving you vote with your feet. Find an agent that merits your business—and be willing to pay for the service.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Laura Ramon September 01, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I've also been really fortunate to work with a really good agent- but the bad can be really, really bad. I've been providing support to a friend that is currently buying, we met her buyer's agent for coffee to plan the day. My friend and I had some places on our list that the agent didn't have on his, reluctantly he showed us one of the condo's on our list, there was a different condo in the same complex that was on "his list." Of course the one on his list was a 4K more expensive and the commission was 1/2% higher. When I asked him who's interest was he looking out for he mumbled some crap about there not being any "real" difference between the two units! OMG- What is wrong with people!
Eve Thompson September 01, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Hi Laura, I would qualify your friend's experience as a bad apple kind of deal. First off the agent/client relationship is about putting the client's best interest before your own. Unfortunately, I think that for some agents what happens is that they tend to focus on the deal right in front of them rather than seeing their business as something that happens across clients and across time. Some deals are really difficult and take a ton of time- others are like a Blue Bird that falls in your lap. You have to assume it's going to even out over the course of a year. I'm sorry your friend had that experience and I hope she got a great place.
PeterJ September 02, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Good Post. Over the years I've bought and sold several pieces of property, in different parts of the US, choosing your agent shouldn't be any different than choosing any other professional. @Laura- an agent that chooses what to show based on their personal gain isn't worthy of your business.
Eve Thompson September 02, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Hi Peter- It is important to understand that an agent that is representing the buyer has an agreement with the buyer that lays out compensation. Some buyer's agents will list a specific percentage in their agreements, others will state that they accept compensation as it is described in the Multiple Listing System. If the agreement that they have with their client is different than what's listed in the MLS the buyer's agent can call the listing agent to ask them to make up whatever the difference is before they show the property; so if a house is listed as paying 2.5% to the buyer's agent and the agent and buyer have agreed to 3% the buyer's agent can call and ask the listing agent to pay out more, or, they can the buyer to pay the difference; that of course is a hard conversation to have--but transparency is important. In my buyer agreements I state that I accept compensation as it is described in MLS. Over the course of a year it all averages out.
Eve Thompson September 02, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Hi Skip- it's awful when people are inconsiderate- the one thing I would comment on in your reply is that real estate agents don't set prices on listings or on offers- we make recommendations based on data and experience but - we have to write the offer and list at the price the client dictates.

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