Buying or selling a home is no small task, and for many people it’s a big investment as well as a big milestone in life.
Picking a realtor is where the real estate journey begins, and knowing how to pick the right one, and avoid the not-so-right ones is quite an important part of the process.
In this article we’re going to look at what some of the red flags are when shopping for a realtor, discussing how to identify them and how to make sure you avoid them.
One clear dealbreaker is if the agent appears to be pushy or overly salesy when discussing working together.
Don’t let yourself be pressured into making any commitments. Take the time you need to shop around and see which realtor offers the most value and connects the best with you and your goals.
Tries to Rush you
Real estate transactions are a big decision and definitely something that shouldn’t be rushed.
Unless there’s a specific, logical reason to hurry the timeline, don’t let yourself be rushed into commitments or agreements before you are ready.
That being said, it is worth noting that in Kitchener-Waterloo’s competitive real estate market, being efficient with time and quick to make key decisions is a very important part of both buying and selling. In many cases time can be a critical factor.
If your realtor is highlighting the importance of making timely decisions, that isn’t necessarily being pushy. It is ultimately their job to make sure you don’t miss out on capturing buyers for your listing or on going out to see homes that match your needs.
Try your best to be realistic and practical with the timeline. Don’t fall into prolonging the timeline excessively, but also don’t allow yourself to be rushed into anything if you are not ready.
Does Not Take the Time to Educate Clients
As you’re working with an agent, their job is to make sure you understand the market and the real estate process, so that you can make the best decisions in your real estate transaction.
When discussing working together or your buying or selling strategy, take note of whether or not the agent is actually being informative.
Are they providing valuable information or is it just sales scripts? If it’s just sales, then that’s a red flag.
Vague or not specific, especially when discussing numbers, market conditions, transaction logistics, work that they’ll be doing for you, etc
Similar to the point above, when discussing the market or the transaction itself, is the agent providing points that are specific and practical? Or is it mostly vague or hollow statements?
A great way to check for this is to go ahead and ask for specifics. Ask about the market, the listing process, the shopping process, or anything that you are unclear on.
If they’re not able to give you clearly defined answers, or if it seems like they’re talking in circles, then that’s a red flag.
Unrealistic Promises/Too Good to Be True
A red flag realtor might tell you they can get you more for the house than is realistically possible. This is so that you go with them over the others that made more reasonable predictions.
Similarly, a bad realtor might also make unrealistic promises about what kind of house you can buy and at what price.
While it can be tempting to listen to really positive news, don’t let that skew your decision. The harsh reality is that the conditions of the market are what they are and you will be faced with them one way or another.
Make sure promises provided are reasonable, in line with the market, and not in the ‘too good to be true’ category.
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Part-Time or Side-Hustle Realtors
When it comes to buying or selling a home, you want someone whose business is stable enough to be their full time focus.
While there’s nothing wrong with having a part time job or a side-hustle, the reality is that part time agents will only be able to dedicate part of their time to getting the job done – as the name implies.
In Waterloo Region’s highly competitive market, showings, viewings, offers, and other critical decisions can be time sensitive and might require round-the-clock focus. If your agent is tied to another job or simply not at their desk when you need them, you could end up missing out on key opportunities.
Bad Communication, Slow Communication, Unresponsive
In a field as people-centred as real estate, there seriously is no excuse for bad communication. Assess how the realtor communicates, how responsive they are in replying, and how available they are during the day to help you.
Anything less than fantastic on this front is not a good sign.
It’s great when you can get a discounted deal, and it might be tempting for something like selling your home, but it is true that you get what you pay for at the end of the day.
If the agent’s focus is on cost savings, you’ll probably get less bang for your buck when it comes to customer service, time spent finding a home to buy, and effort spent marketing your home to sell it at the best price.
Agents with lower rates also have to serve more clients to make the same income, so the amount of attention and focus you get will inevitably be lower than with other agents.
Buying or selling a home is the type of transaction where cutting corners can prove costly in the end. It’s also true that you get what you invest in, so investing in quality is not a bad idea when choosing a listing agent.
How to Spot Red Flags When Shopping for an Agent
The best way to go about it is to look them up online and see how they present themselves. Look at online presence, website, socials, anything you can find.
Take note of reviews and what other people have said about them. At the same time, look up their brokerage and see how the brokerage itself is reviewed. Agents are not the same entity as the brokerage they belong to, but they do work closely with their brokerage, and the quality of brokerage goes hand in hand with the quality of the agent.
Filter prospects down and make a list of agents you might want to work with, and try talking to them.
Agents typically do free consultations for both buyers and sellers, so that people can get to know them, which is a great opportunity for you to do exactly that.
The meeting can be in person, over the phone, or video chat. Simply reach out, ask to speak with an agent, and see how the conversation goes.
Trust Your Gut
Last but not least, it’s worth noting that trusting your gut can go a long way. If your intuition is telling you that something is off, take time to reflect on it, because there’s a chance you might be right.
While picking a realtor is a really big step, it doesn’t have to be daunting. Keep in mind the signs that you need to watch out for, do some shopping around, and you’ll be sure to find a real estate professional that is right for you.
And last but not least, feel free to reach out and contact us if you have any questions.