When it comes to buying or selling a home, one of the more significant decisions you have to make involves the selection of your real estate agent. But unfortunately, this is often a rushed decision. Many buyers and sellers make their decisions based on convenience or mutual connections, instead of experience and service. As a result, it’s fairly common to see frustrated individuals who feel like they’re “stuck” with an agent who isn’t right for them. But what are you supposed to do?
4 Signs You Have a Bad Agent
Maybe you aren’t best friends with your agent, but how do you know if you actually have a bad one (and not just one that you don’t want to grab drinks with after work)? It generally depends on the specific factors involved, but here are a few telltale signs.
Are you getting the cold shoulder? One of the worst offenses you can have against you is an agent who doesn’t pick up your phone calls or respond to your messages in a timely manner. This shows a total lack of respect towards you and essentially says that their time is more valuable than your own.
Do be careful here, though. Just because your agent misses two phone calls in a row, doesn’t mean they’re unresponsive. Real estate agents are often trying to juggle many clients at once – as well as personal obligations – and it may take a few minutes for them to get back to you. But if you can tell you’re consistently getting brushed off, this isn’t a good sign.
- Lack of Knowledge
Do you ask your agent basic things about a property – such as when the home was built, whether it’s in a flood plain, or what kind of foundation the home has – and they’re consistently unable to answer your questions?
Getting an unsatisfactory answer one or two times may be annoying, but it’s understandable. Consistently noticing that your agent is underprepared is scary. After all, you’re making a very expensive decision based on their advice. That’s not something to play around with.
- Too Much Pressure
“Rather than a new home, you begin to feel as though you’re shopping for a used car on a discount lot,” says broker Robyn Woodman. “Each conversation leaves you shaky with anxiety, fearing that every other decent house in the city (and in your price range) is currently under contract and this is your only shot to lock one down.”
If this is how you walk away from every meeting with your agent, then you need to move on. There’s no place for high-pressure sales tactics in the agent-buyer/seller relationship. You deserve more respect and courtesy than that.
- Zero Progress
The final sign that you need to split with your agent is a lack of progress over a long period of time. If you’ve been with your agent for three months and have seen a total of four properties and only speak with them on the phone once a week, this isn’t right. You’re clearly on the backburner or the agent isn’t serious about helping you find the right home.
How to Break Up
If you’re quite certain that you have a bad agent and the grievances against you are irreparable, then you need to terminate your business relationship. This can feel a lot like ending a dating relationship, which is why we’ll refer to it as “breaking up.” Follow these tips and proceed with a fair amount of caution.
- Have a Face-to-Face Conversation
Don’t have a break-up conversation over the phone. It’s imperative that you meet with the agent in person – as uncomfortable as it may be – and discuss your issues with them.
“Most agents know when the seller doesn’t like them or doesn’t want to deal with them any longer as their real estate agent,” says broker Joe Adkins. “So if the seller asked nicely and explained the reasons why they want to cancel the listing contract, most real estate agents would honor their request. I know I have in the past.”
- Stick to Your Guns
You won’t always see eye-to-eye with your agent when trying to break up. If they give you some push back and try to beg you to stay, stick to your guns and remember why you’re there. It’s very unlikely that the agent is suddenly going to change their ways.
- Be Aware of Possible Termination Fees
Depending on how long the listing agreement is supposed to last and whether or not there was actually any sort of breach in contract, it’s possible that there will be termination fees associated with this sort of breakup. These fees generally range from a couple hundred dollars to a few hundred dollars. Make sure you’re aware of this.
- Possibly Let it Lapse
When you’re reviewing your contract, look into the length of the agreement. Because it usually takes people a few months to become dissatisfied with their agent, it’s possible that the contract is about to end and your best course of action is simply to let it lapse.
In these situations, the one thing you have to be careful about is turning around and selling the home yourself. Most agreements protect the agent for a few months after the contract ends in case the owner happens to sell to someone who learned about the listing while the agent still had the property.
Let Green Residential Help
With the current commission setup in today’s real estate market, it’s no wonder why so many buyers and sellers are frustrated with their agents. They’re paying exuberant percentages to their agents and, therefore, expect absolutely perfect service and attention.
At Green Residential, we understand your desire for good service. We also understand that spending as much as six percent in commission on the agents involved in the transaction is pretty outrageous. That’s why we offer a flat rate fee that’s cost-effective and fair for all parties involved. (On a $500,000 sale, you can expect to save roughly $4,000 up front.) If you’re interested in learning more, please contact us today!