Home buyers and sellers have a lot to lose from hiring the wrong agent: a timely sale, a shot at a dream home, a pleasant transaction.
But how do you know if you’ve hired the right real estate agent for your needs?
Whether you’re on the hunt for an agent or wondering if you need to hire a replacement, keep these five pointers in mind.
How did you find your agent?
First of all, how much effort did you put into the hiring process? Did you settle on the first name in the phone book? Did you pick the guy with the largest billboard in town?
Or did you take the more difficult (and effective) route? Did you get recommendations from others? Did you look at your agent’s website? Did you check out your agent’s current listings?
As consumer advocates often say, “You get what you pay for.” A similar theorem applies to the hiring of a professional. Clients who perform their due diligence are often rewarded with a quality service provider.
That point brings us to question #2:
Did you interview your agent before hiring?
Even if you’ve heard great things about a particular agent, make sure to conduct an interview before signing an agreement. It doesn’t need to be an extremely formal interview, but you should at least gain a sense of an agent’s work ethic and personality before agreeing to work together.
Did you review your agreement before signing?
Whether you’re buying or selling, most agents will ask you to sign a representation agreement. That agreement usually restricts clients to working with one agent (and is also known as an exclusive agreement).
Make sure you carefully review any agreement prior to signing. Look for opt-out clauses, and make sure you’re comfortable with the length of the agreement.
Is your agent going above and beyond?
Once you’ve started working with an agent, ask yourself how you’re feeling about the process. Is your agent returning your calls, keeping you informed, and doing their very best to ensure your satisfaction?
Or is your agent limping along the Bare Minimum Trail? Real estate is a competitive field, and subpar agents simply can’t produce good results for their clients.
If you’re feeling unsatisfied, don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns with your agent. Perhaps there is a valid reason that your agent is not showing you a certain property or hosting another open house.
But if your agent continues to disappoint, it’s time to think about hiring someone new. Some agreements allow you to opt-out of a contract at any time, while others mandate that you wait until the contract’s term is up. If your agent refuses to let you out of the agreement, yet has failed to live up to contractural obligations, you can also attempt to break out of the agreement via the legal system. Talk to an attorney if you decide to pursue this option.
What is your gut reaction?
In the end, a big portion of client satisfaction boils down to gut reaction. Only you can know what feels right to you.
Continue to measure your intuition at several points along the real estate journey. Don’t hesitate to address your concerns if something feels off. A real estate transaction is an important process, and you need to feel validated by your professional partners.
Rest assured: The world is full of excellent real estate agents. Find one today!