Who You Work With Matters: Top 5 Concerns About Real Estate Agents
An industry that is millions of real estate agents strong comes with its own set of compliments and complaints! In fact, as of October 2020, there were 1,451,031 members of the National Association of Realtors. Buying or selling a home is the biggest financial transaction that you'll have in your life, so of course, who you work with during that transaction matters. Just like with any job, there are expectations placed upon real estate agents, but when they are not met, they may leave you with a sour taste in your mouth.
Our goal is always to be transparent, so you'll find the top five concerns that folks may have about real estate agents so that you can ensure you hire the right agent to help you. Your experience should be as stress-free and smooth as possible, and that is what we strive to achieve.
Lack of Communication
It’s safe to say that one of the biggest complaints about real estate agents is a lack of communication. Of course, just like in any relationship, good communication is a critical component for success. If communication is lackluster, it can ignite a chain reaction of unpleasant and awkward experiences for the client that ultimately leads to a failed partnership.
Full-time agents often get calls, texts, and emails at all hours of the day, and for some, it can be difficult to manage. A skilled agent knows how to juggle solid communication with their other commitments and make each client feel like they are their only one. Communication expectations should be realistic and set up front to maintain a successful relationship. Answering questions promptly and keeping the client in the loop is always necessary and increases confidence throughout the process. That's part of why we have a whole team in place with admin support, so even if one of us isn't available, there is always someone to contact for assistance.
Sometimes, agents start responsive and with the best intentions throughout the first few weeks of activity and showings. But if showings and interest start to taper off, some agents may feel that they have nothing to report to the client and take the no news is good news approach. But if there’s no news to report, the last thing the agent should be doing is not returning calls. This is an opportunity to be transparent and discuss new strategies, if necessary. There is no excuse to drop the ball on communication at any point in the journey.
Lack of Real Estate or Area Knowledge
One of the most important things that your real estate agent MUST have is extensive knowledge of the market area. This is especially important when it comes to pricing a home properly. You want to work with someone who is an area expert. If an agent does not use their area expertise, understanding of the current market, and comparable sales near you, but instead gives you a price that makes you happy to attract your business, you may end up with an overpriced home that will decrease your chances of finding a buyer and increase your time on market.
Your agent should also be a wealth of real estate knowledge. When it comes to going through the paperwork and legal documents, he or she should be able to explain the terms and language you may encounter. They should be able to guide you through the tough parts of the transaction with confidence and excellence. An agent who seems confused when explaining transaction details or contracts will naturally make buyers and sellers feel uncomfortable.
Doesn’t Have the Client’s Best Interest at Heart
There are times when a buyer or seller may feel their agent isn’t prioritizing them throughout the process. Clients can sense their wants and needs are not being thoroughly listened to and therefore not represented. The perception can be that the agent is more interested in serving their own interests, such as timeframe or a commission check after closing. It is, unfortunately, a bit too common to hear agents described as pushy or for clients to feel like a recommendation is in the agent's best interest rather than a buyer or seller's.
In any real estate transaction, your agent must always thoughtfully listen to your desires and concerns and prioritize what is in your best interest. No matter how long it takes to find the right buyer for your house or for you to fall in love with your next home, your experience matters. An agent obsessed with creating joy for their clients will always put your interests first.
Doesn’t Take Marketing Seriously
Many sellers are concerned that their agent will simply “post and hope,” meaning the agent will list your home on the MLS and sit back, hoping for potential buyers to reach out. A talented agent will actively market your home. Your agent should use marketing channels best fit for your property, including social media, email campaigns, and more, all with beautiful, professional photography. Some agents (like us!) may even have an in-house marketer to expand their efforts to raise awareness about your house. Remember, you hired your agent to attract as many potential buyers as possible, so a smart agent will invest in great marketing.
Be sure to ask your agent about their marketing plan for your home. A great real estate agent will know how to best market your property based on its location, price, and top features.
Lack of Professionalism
Finally, your agent should be professional and treat not only you but all of the other parties involved in the transaction with respect. Here some signs of an unprofessional agent:
They Don't Have Many 5-Star Reviews. When interviewing your future agent, you will want to chat about their past transactions and experiences working with clients. They should recall specific details of their previous deals and have testimonials and reviews for you to reference. Not being able to discuss their past success is a sign they haven’t had much.
They're Profit Focused. If your agent is only focused on what they are getting out of working with you (and portraying that to you), they may not be the right agent for you. Your agent should be focused on your needs to ensure a successful transaction.
They're a Part-Time Agent. This agent will make it known that this is merely a second job to them. They tend to seem split between two places at once, which can mean that you either miss out on potential buyers or homes on the market. And once under contract, they may not be able to stay informed on the progress of your transaction. You want someone who is completely dedicated to the profession and you.