The digital age has made it easier to take a hands-on, DIY approach to just about everything these days. You can simply go online to look up what you need and you’ll come across a wealth of information on any subject matter you can think to investigate. When it comes to real estate, the Internet is often the first stop for buyers and sellers alike who are looking to move into a new home.
However, while there are a variety of helpful websites to choose from that can provide you with all kinds of educational data, there really is no substitute for having a good Realtor on your side.
Finding the best Realtor can be a challenge and, unfortunately, it’s not one that many consumers feel the need to meet head on. As a result, the experience of buying or selling a home is often fraught with problems and complications ending in a transaction that may not be completed correctly, if at all, and usually for a price that is not at all what the client was anticipating. At the very worst, you could be left without a home when it’s all said and done.
You need to do your due diligence before selecting a real estate agent if you want to have a positive, successful real estate experience. It starts with sitting down and talking to more than just one or two potential Realtors. Seek out recommendations and references from friends, neighbors, and people who live in the area where you would like to purchase a home.
As you start doing your search, there are six red flags you’ll want to keep in mind. If any of these pop up at any time during your conversations, he or she may not be the right fit for your needs.
1. Promises the Highest Possible Sale Price
Many real estate agents promise a jaw-dropping selling price, often blindly, at the outset. There is your first indication the agent isn’t quite equipped to handle your property. Top real estate agents across the board will often show you three completed listings that are similar to your property so you can get a true, accurate sense of what the home could potentially sell for on the market and how long it will take to sell.
If you put your house on the market at a listing price that’s way too high, the house will sit there without any activity because buyers have no interest in even looking at the property with an unrealistic price tag attached. This is risky because the longer the house sits on the market, the more buyers are going to assume there are issues and they will avoid it entirely.
2. A Part-time Professional
A Realtor that works in the field full-time is better informed on market trends and often more accessible than a part-time Realtor because he or she is pounding the pavement every day. When new listings hit, you’re among the first to see them and check out the property. When you’re selling a home, your Realtor will be available on a moment’s notice to show the property to prospective buyers.
All of this is only possible if the Realtor is, well, a Realtor and not someone who sells homes on the side. Part-timers are fine, but you want someone who is working for you full time.
3. Lack of Knowledge of Your Neighborhood
This can’t be overstated enough; top real estate agents know everything about the neighborhood in which they are buying or selling homes for their clientele. Before you choose a Realtor, be sure that he or she knows the area well.
They should have all of the pertinent basic details at his or her disposal: schools, shopping, access to local freeways and public transportation, even simple average demographics of the area and the crime rate. If they don’t know about the area, how are you supposed to know if you want to live there or not?
4. You’re Out of Their Price Range
Some real estate agents specialize in handling properties within a certain price range. If you’re in the market for a home but don’t want to spend more than about $250,000, then the best Realtor for you won’t be someone who deals in luxury homes valued into the millions of dollars.
5. Let’s Make a Deal
If you encounter a real estate agent who offers to take a lower commission in order to get the listing to sell your house, politely decline and move on. This may sound like you’re getting a great deal at first, but then what are you really getting in the end?
More often than not, it’s a real estate agent who is desperate for a sale and then you have to ask yourself why. Top real estate agents don’t need to cut their commissions because they’re providing a vital and necessary service; the money you’re spending to get their expertise and knowledge is money well spent.
6. My Cousin Vinny
Under no circumstances are you to hire a member of the family to sell your home. Not unless he or she is #1 on the Westside and has the listings to prove it. Otherwise, you’re just asking for trouble that could potentially damage your relationship with this person for years after the transaction has been completed, if it gets completed at all.