The right agent makes a tangible difference, whether you're a buyer or a seller.
Buyers and sellers need adequate representation from a reputable real estate agent. Without it, the whole experience is likely to suffer. With a great agent, everything will go a lot more smoothly, as it should.
Most agents do a great job for clients, so bad ones aren't an epidemic. But there is a risk of finding a bad apple. Here are 6 signs that you need to find a new one:
#1: He Encourages You Away from Due Diligence
A home isn't an ordinary purchase. You can throw or donate a new sweater that fits all wrong, but when you buy a bad house you're stuck. At least for a while. Your agent should encourage you to cover all of your bases, not push you into ignoring important steps in buying a house.
Every buyer needs a home inspection, even if the house is brand new. Every buyer should read the contract and have an attorney review it, too. The list of issues that buyers should be aware of is long. And any agent who tries to convince you that any of it is unimportant or irrelevant is suspicious.
#2: He's Living in a Different Decade
It's 2016, not 1996. Business people use email, and most also use texts to communicate. But some agents have been so busy listing and showing houses that the digital age failed to arrive. And some are just old-fashioned and a bit stubborn. After all, phones still work, right?
Your agent should be living and working in the 21st century where communication is made faster and simpler through technology. A commitment to hard copies and phone calls isn't necessarily a deal breaker. But without a certain ease with modern technology, communication will be complicated and frustrating.
#3: He Packs Your Home Viewing Schedule Too Tightly
You're ready to view houses, and your agent has scheduled 10 properties for one afternoon. That's a bad sign, and one that can cost you. With a schedule that's packed too tight, you can't devote enough time and attention to any of them, and your appointments might sacrifice quality over quantity.
Real estate agent, Wendy Flynn, tells Forbes that too many homes in a day leads to forgetting some details and mixing up others. Did the 2-story with the big lot have the master suite that you loved? Or was that the home with no master suite at all? If you have no choice but to pack a lot of properties in a day, do yourself a favor and take good notes and lots of photos.
A good agent does whatever it takes to sell your home.
Sellers can face a few agent-related problems, too. Here are 3 of them to watch out for:
#4: She Largely Fails at Creating a Great Online Listing
Again, with the digital age. Some agents apparently don't see the importance of a strategic online listing that looks fantastic. But with more buyers starting their home search online, the online listing can make or break a sale.
If you believe that most agents are plenty savvy, take a look at several listings online right now. You'll invariably find some with terrible photos, some with only a few photos, and meager listings that do almost nothing to encourage buyers to stop and take a better look.
#5: She Ignores the Importance of Photos
Speaking of photos, image quality is critical these days. A few random snaps of the kitchen, living room and the front of the house don't do much to help a buyer visualize living there. Many agents take their own photos. And in some cases, the agent isn't exactly a photographer. But digital images don't cost a thing, and there's no delay for developing them, so there's little excuse for bad ones.
Circling back to the importance of the online listing, high-quality photos, and plenty of them, make a difference. Buyers want to get a feel for the whole house, not just a couple of blurry snaps of a couple of rooms. Your agent should regard photos as the critical selling tools that they are.
#6: She Doesn't Market to the Right Audience
So you're selling a 4 bedroom home in a great school district, but your listing doesn't target families and extol the benefits and convenience of living there? That's a bad sign. Your home and its location appeals to a certain group of buyers, whether it's young couples without kids, retirees, or large families with several school-age children.
Marketing efforts should be broad, but also contain some targeted elements. Maybe a retired couple wants to downsize, but then again maybe they don't because grandkids often come to visit. Your agent should know the market and who is buying what these days, and special effort should be used to draw in the crowd that is more likely to buy your house.
Most real estate agents are up to speed and up to the task of representing buyers and sellers. It's in their best interest to do a great job. But once in a while, a sour one turns up. That can lead to bad decision making and less-than-stellar results.
If you're in the market to sell your home, get connected to excellent pros through eppraisal. The whole process will be easier, and you'll have a greater chance at getting your asking price.