So many people have told me horror stories about the real estate agent that they worked with. I’ve heard it all like, “My agent just disappeared after I signed a contract. They wouldn’t return any of my calls, texts or emails. The only person I talked to was their assistant. They didn’t even show up to closing!” Another one, “The agent I hired to sell my house put up a sign, a lockbox, emailed me an MLS sheet of my house listed but they never gave me any updates on what was going on. I didn’t get any reports or updates about the responses to their marketing efforts or changes that we should make. It was very frustrating. I know my house wasn’t a big expensive house but I expected a little more engagement. They didn’t even do the open house. They had some other agent host it. This was not what I signed up for.”
We have to remember that there are always two sides to every story so we can’t just label these agents as being horrible but we have to realize that people have expectations to how they “think” the process should go. Unfortunately, most popular areas have an overwhelmingly high percentage of “active” realtors servicing the area, so finding the right person to work with might be a bit stressful. Here are some secrets to finding the right real estate agent for you!
Interview – It’s not always about the commission and who has the lowest price to offer you. It’s about the quality of service and a marketing plan that you feel comfortable with to sell your home. Working with a real estate broker is like hiring an advertising agency, you want to go with someone you feel comfortable with and understands what your expectations of your relationship with them during the process. It doesn’t matter if the broker only charges 1% if you can never get them on the phone and they’re a poor communicator. Sometimes the saying, you get what you pay for, is true.
Name Matters– Not necessarily. Real Estate agents are independent contractors, so just because they have their license with a big name brokerage doesn’t mean that their marketing services will meet your expectations. This is why it’s important to ask questions like: What exactly does your marketing consists of? How often will I get updates? Is there a review period that if we are not seeing results with your current plan that it can be replaced with other marketing incentives? Will I be working with you or will someone else be responsible for coordinating the sale of my home?
Specialities and Niches – Not every realtor is the same. Some real estate agents have strengths or specialize in certain things or niches. For example, a real estate agent who has served in the military might have deep ties with the veteran and active duty members within their community. They might be extremely knowledgeable of working with clients using the VA loan and know the ins and outs of it.
This could be very beneficial for a seller to list their home with the agent because they probably have a lot of potential buyers within their network that could sell their home in a timely fashion. Working with an agent who is known for having a lot of listings may or may not be the best thing for a seller. Sometimes working with a real estate agent who is focused on first time home buyers might be able to get your home sold in record time because they concentrate on surrounding themselves with people who are in the market to purchase which is your desired end result.
Keep Your Mouth Shut – If you’ve ever watched a show about women getting married or have gone through the process, you’ve noticed that EVERYONE has something to say about how you should do it or what NOT to do. The same thing happens when you tell your friends and family members that you want to buy or sell your home. People come out of the woodwork telling you some crazy horror story about a bad experience that they had. I suggest that you don’t tell a lot of people or anyone until AFTER you close. If you need to discuss the process with anyone, I suggest a trusted mentor or a financial advisor. Real Estate agents are held to a Code of Ethics and all illegal activity should be reported to the state’s department for professional licensing.
Get It In Writing – You can minimize any confusion or lack of performance by having a copy of the listing presentation that details the services you will receive from that broker and their brokerage. This will help keep everyone on the same page of is expected and the order it should happen in. If you’re a buyer, your agent should have a buyer’s representation agreement. This will help you understand your agent’s role and responsibility in your home search.
Go With Your Gut – Real Estate Agents are people too. Most real estate agents have gotten into the industry because they love helping people so their intent is genuine. Unfortunately, in life, not everyone can get along with other people’s personality. As we mentioned it’s vital to interview the agent but you also need to go with your gut. I’ve learned in life that if I have a bad feeling in my gut about something or someone, nine times out of ten, it’s usually correct. The same thing goes for hiring a real estate agent. You’ll be working with this person on a close level so you need to make sure you feel comfortable, confident and safe with this person. Your real estate agent will be assisting you with contracts, possibly making recommendations to real estate service providers such as home inspectors, and coordinating with the other agent and the lenders to the close of your home. It’s important to be open and honest with your real estate agent and be confident that they are working on your behalf.
Remember, real estate agents are here to help you find the best home for you, within your approved priced range in the area you desire. Real Estate agents are not contractors, attornies, title companies and we can not talk directly to the client. Real Estate agents can only act as liaisons to protect both the buyer and seller. In return, we receive a commission check for our service at and only after you close on your home.
All real estate costs and credits have to be in writing and agreed upon by both the buyer and seller, there’s very little chance a realtor can add any additional fees without anyone noticing. In some states, the buyer is required to have a real estate attorney to be an additional layer to the agreed upon expenses and credits. The
buyers and sellers are also protected by the mortgage company which hires a third party appraisal source to make sure the property is worth the purchase price. The title company makes sure that there are no liens or other people claiming to own the property before it’s transferred to the new owner. The mortgage company also has to be compliant with “TRID” mortgage laws that state the buyer has 3 business days to review the numbers and sign off on it before closing.
Dishonest people are in EVERY industry. Thankfully with all the checks and balances put in place along with the clients doing their part to keep agreements in writing, the home buying and selling process can be a good experience for everyone involved.
Written By: Shena Omotola, Dream Home Specialist & Broker Owner of Skyward Realty – Skyward Realty services Chicago, Suburbs, and Northwest Indiana
P.S. Feel free to email me any questions. I’m always here to help. Shena@SkywardRealty.com