As a homebuyer or home seller, you have a lot of different things to worry about. Frequently, the badgering insecurity about whether the real estate agent you hired is actually competent and capable of getting the job done well is one of them.
Many Realtors in West Palm Beach close less than four deals a year. Many of these Realtors only work part-time, or not at all, instead opting to just take any client lead that walks into their life. You’ve undoubtedly run into this Realtor before. Think of how often you hear “someone” from “somewhere” is a “Realtor”. Your aunt, your neighbor, your co-worker, the server at Chilli’s – everyone knows someone who is a Realtor.
You don’t want to offend your acquaintance or the agent, so what do you do? The path of least resistance. You hire the agent. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, this is actually a terrible idea. You’ll learn why below.
Here are five signs you hired a bad Realtor.
Your Realtor says they are “working for you!”
Sounds ridiculous, right? Of course you want to hear from your Realtor that they are working for you. In actuality, according to the rules and regulations by the National Realtors Association, they are not, and should not. Real estate agents in Florida are considered to be “transaction agents” – that is, they work on behalf of the deal, not the party they represent.
Here’s why this is an important distinction. First, if the agent is saying they “work for you”, then they are either ignorant or errant of the standards and codes of conduct and ethics set by NAR. Either way, you don’t want that Realtor. But more importantly, working on behalf of the deal means that the deal gets the deal done. The real goal of a good agent is to get both parties to the closing table. We accomplish that goal by working the good of the deal, not any one party.
Don’t hire a Realtor who promises to “work for you!” Hire the Realtor that follows the transaction models that gets you and the other party to the closing table.
Your Realtor is pushier than the Sham Wow guy
If in the first conversation with your real estate agent you got the feeling that he or she was a used car salesman in a past life, that’s because they probably were. There are a lot of agents who use pushy sales tactics to accomplish one goal: get you to sign on the dotted line, so they can maybe get a paycheck.
While any talented, experienced Realtor incorporates some salesmanship while prospecting a new potential new client, you as the client shouldn’t notice it. And it certainly shouldn’t make you uncomfortable.
You should feel like the Realtor you are interviewing is patient, a great listener, and is interested in you, your goals, and your needs, so that they can determine whether their services will help you achieve what you’re looking to achieve.
Your Realtor hasn’t invested a penny into themselves
This one is important, but can be misleading. Real estate agents are independent contractors to their Broker – meaning, they are not a business entity, but they are also not an employee. They are somewhere in the middle. A good agent, knowing that, will therefore invest their time and money into creating a personal brand that is professional, impressional, and establishes legitimacy.
Look for the easy signs that your Realtor has put absolutely no thought into a business model. For example, what’s their email address? Does it end in a personalized domain name, or is it an AOL account? Do they have a website, and to that end, does it look cheap? Have they bothered with their LinkedIn profile? Is the most professional photo you can find of this person on the web a selfie?
There are too many good agents out there in Palm Beach County who invest effort and hard-earned dollars into their personal brand to bother with the ones who do not.
Your Realtor has closed four deals or less this year
Sorry to potentially offend the weekend warriors out there – for example, the mother of a family of four who does “real estate on the side” to make a little extra money. But the fact is that if you only close a few deals a year, you have not and will not accumulate and hone the experience, skills, and talent that a homebuyer or seller deserves.
There’s a few ways to find out how many deals your real estate agent has closed in the last year, but here’s an approach I like to suggest. First, ask the agent. Let them give you a number. Then, look their agent profile up on Zillow. Because Zillow pulls MLS data, the number Zillow provides should be spot-on.
Did he or she exaggerate their numbers? Or maybe they flat out lied to you? You make the determination you’re most comfortable with. To be fair, some agents may not know off the top of their head exactly how many deals they have closed. In fact, if they don’t, that might be a good sign that they’ve closed so many! Our Broker, Tracie Copeland, doesn’t know how many deals our company has closed this year, for that reason, but she could ball-park it. Your agent should certainly be able to do the same, especially if the number is under 10.
Your Realtor goes against their own advice to please you
I’ve saved the best for last! If your Realtor has gone against their own explicit advice in order to continue working with you, that’s a red flag. Here’s what I mean. As a prospective seller, your Realtor should be able to provide you with a listing presentation in which he or she discusses how much they suggest you list your home for. “Whoa!” you might say, “There’s no way I’m going to list it for that. But, I’ll list it for…”, followed by whatever arbitrary number you throw out which you think your home is worth.
I’d hate to break it to you, Mr. Prospective Seller, but your home is not worth what you think it’s worth. It’s worth whatever the market is willing to pay. And what separates a real estate agent from our pool of talented Realtors is knowing exactly what the market is willing to pay, and providing you with that opinion.
If in the end your agent accepts the listing at the price you want, don’t hire that Realtor. Stop right there. You might as well not bother trying to sell your home.
At Copeland & Co. Real Estate, our brokerage in West Palm Beach, we have a policy with our Realtors that we will not accept a listing that is a certain threshold above what we know it will sell for. We don’t just take listings just to take them. Lots of Realtors do, of course; but not us. Why? Because we are in the transaction business – we are in the business of getting a deal closed. Over-pricing your home is counter-productive to the goal of selling your home. Professionals who are worth their salt do not accept work that is counter-productive.
You’re essentially paying a Realtor for their advice, guidance, experience, negotiation skills, and knowledge in the real estate transaction process. Make sure before you hire a Realtor that you have a clear and comprehensive understanding of just how much of he or she has to offer. Don’t hire a Realtor that either doesn’t have much advice or guidance to offer, or worse yet, goes against it just to get that paycheck.