Real estate brokers tell stories about buyers from hell. They all hope to avoid such buyers, and with good reason. But bad buyers are not the only ones capable of ruining the home buying experience. There are bad real estate agents as well. It pays to put forth the effort to avoid them.
CityHome Collective, a Salt Lake City real estate brokerage and design firm, says that the majority of real estate agents are good people who work awfully hard for their clients. But they also acknowledge that there are bad apples too. They say there are practical things clients can do to avoid working with the real estate agent from hell.
Interview Multiple Agents
One of the easiest things that clients can do is interview multiple agents prior to signing with one. The point of the interview is two-fold. First, you want to get an idea of an agent’s knowledge and experience with the local market. Second, you want to get an idea of the agent’s personality. You may have a difficult time with an agent if your personalities clash.
There are plenty of online resources detailing the types of questions you should ask during agent interviews. Just remember this: the agent you choose has a fiduciary responsibility to work for you. You are the employer in this relationship. You have the right and responsibility to hire an agent you can trust.
Ask for References
It is not taboo in the real estate world to ask for references. So do it. If you are considering an agent who works under a local brokerage, ask both for references. You want to learn as much as you can about the individual agent and the broker with whom he or she is linked. If you are working directly with the broker, this person’s references alone should be enough. And by the way, do not just ask for references. Actually follow up with them.
Read Online Reviews
Online reviews are available for just about every industry. Real estate is no exception. Moreover, they are a gold mine of information you might have no other means of accessing. Just remember that unhappy consumers are generally more motivated to leave reviews than their happy counterparts. You will have to take online reviews with a grain of salt. They are helpful, but they should not be your only source of information.
Read Contract Language Carefully
Sometimes, the last line of defense between you and the real estate agent from hell is the agent’s contract. You should never sign a contract without first reading it thoroughly. You should also understand what you are reading. If you don’t, you have the right to have your attorney look at the contract.
A lot of people will not go this route because they are afraid of offending the agent in question. But guess what? An agent who gets offended by your need to fully understand contract language is probably an agent you don’t want to work with anyway.
No Perfect Real Estate Agents
You could do your best to fully vet real estate agents and still wind up with someone you cannot stand working with. That is the way it goes. Just like there are no perfect clients, there are no perfect real estate agents either. Both agent and client willingly take a risk when they agree to work with one another.
In closing, you want to avoid the real estate agent from hell. Likewise, do not be the client from hell. Treat your agent as you wish to be treated and things will be a lot easier for both of you.