Pitfalls to Avoid When Choosing a Realtor
When you’re shopping for a new home or selling your old one, how do you know how to choose a real estate agent? Like any profession, there are a few agents out there that you would rather not deal with. However, most real estate agents are committed to helping their clients find the home of their dreams or get the best possible price for their existing home. Here are some tips for choosing a real estate agent.
It is important to be aware of red flags when it comes to choosing a realtor. Here are some things that should make you think twice before partnering with a given agent.
Over Promising on the Listing Price
If you’re selling your home, it’s tempting to choose the agent who gives you the highest listing price. But be sure to check with three other agents who are familiar with the selling prices of comparable homes. Otherwise, you may have trouble finding a buyer for your house, which could end up sitting on the market for a long time—only to end up lowering the asking price anyway.
They Don’t Know the Neighborhood
If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, it’s crucial to work with an agent who knows the neighborhood. The best agents are aware of buyers who are starting to look and sellers who haven’t listed yet, as well as with the block-by-block variations in real estate pricing.
They’re Unfamiliar with Your Price Range
If you’re shopping for a luxury home, hire a realtor who specializes in that market. But that same agent’s services might not be right for you if you’re looking for a starter home. Some realtors specialize in different geographic locations and price ranges, but it never hurts to ask whether he or she has specific experience in your market.
They’re Unfamiliar with Your Property Type
To buy or sell a single-family home, you need a real estate agent who specializes in that market. In the same way, to buy or sell a condo, or a vacation home, or an investment property, you need an agent who knows all about those types of properties.
A local realtor that specializes in buying and selling condos will be able to educate you on which buildings/developments to avoid due to poor management or poor construction.
Poor Follow-up and Organization
While finding the right buyer or seller is a realtor’s biggest challenge, it’s not the only one. Pushing the deal through to closing can be much more difficult than finding a suitable partner. A good real estate agent anticipates any possible stumbling blocks and follows an organized plan. From mortgage approval to home inspection, you should be able to rely on your agent every step of the way.
Breaking Up is Hard to Do…But it Happens Sometimes
Even if you know how to choose a real estate agent, unexpected situations can arise. Although it’s always best to try to work things out, sometimes there is no choice but to break up with your agent. How to proceed depends on whether you’re buying or selling.
Buyer’s agents work on a handshake agreement. This means that there’s no contract, and you’re always free to walk away. Some agents do ask you to sign a buyer’s agent agreement, so they can be assured that you’re serious about house hunting and engaging their services. You have a right not to sign this agreement, but if you do, consult with an attorney about the contract terms.
Seller agents will typically have a contract preventing you from working with other agents. If this becomes an issue, you should consult an attorney about your options. When speaking with your agent, explain that you are no longer satisfied and give him or her time to correct the situation. If this doesn’t work, ask for a release from the contract.
Most agencies want to protect their reputations and will let clients go if necessary. In the worst case scenario, however, you may need to wait it out. You can refuse showings and refuse offers if necessary, but keep in mind that this will delay selling your home.
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