For a professional realtor, the vast number of buy and sell transactions are routine. A reasonable buyer and a reasonable seller come to a reasonable agreement and the realtor guides the deal through to closing. Simple, easy and done.
Until it’s not.
Real estate deals are inherently complex. You may have mortgage questions or zoning questions. That’s why both the buyer and seller are represented by professionals who make the deal appear much simpler than it is.
Most buyers and sellers are reasonable people. But people being humans, personalities can become unreasonable during times of stress, and a bad realtor can have difficulty navigating any or all of this.
You need to know how to quickly spot the difference between a highly professional or an unprofessional agent before it’s too late.
Ask Mortgage Questions From The Beginning
You may think that only buyers need to ask mortgage questions. But what if you’re a seller considering seller financing?
Asking detailed questions along these lines can quickly identify a realtor who's not up to the task.
Another telltale sign that the listing agent isn’t right for you is when they don’t offer to allow you to break the agreement.
Ask upfront what their policy is regarding breaking the agreement if you’re not satisfied with the services. Most agreements are for 90 days.
If you want to sell during the peak season, that is the entire spring or fall. If you’re not satisfied after two weeks, you want to be able to switch to another agent before the peak season is gone. Top-quality agents let you move on for any reason at no cost.
Knowing When To Move On
Not being able to answer routine questions; not offering a flexible listing agreement; and a poor marketing plan are more reaons for skepticism about an agent.
Today’s real estate marketing requires social media know-how. An MLS listing and flyer at the end of your driveway are not enough: you want an agent with a strong web presence, and that includes a video tour of your property.
Regular and ongoing communication is another important trait for a realtor.
This covers everything from managing a buyer or seller with a difficult personality to keeping everyone informed of each step in the process. It includes the next step and who needs to take that step.
A good agent should share the status of your property with you when it changes or if a step has been delayed.
If you only receive a weekly status update, you’re working with a bad realtor. Something like the lack of timely answers to mortgage questions can mean missing out on your dream home in a tight market.
Bad Pricing Is A Sign Of A Bad Realtor
A desperate realtor will do anything to get your listing. This includes listing your home for much more than it will ever sell for.
If you ask to list for 20% more than comparable houses and the agent doesn’t even flinch, neither of you is likely to see a deal finalized.
The same goes for buyers who are routinely shown houses beyond their preapproved mortgage limit. Showing you one or two stretch possibilities is reasonable if you have other financing options. However, both you and your realtor need to be realistic about what you can afford. Your financial well-being could hang in the balance if you're pushed into a bad deal by a bad realtor.
From your first mortgage questions to the closing table, a good realtor stays in lockstep with you through the entire process.
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