The market is flooded with real estate agents looking to get your business. So how do you determine who to trust and who to kick to the curb? There are certain red flags that may indicate an agent isn't capable of finding your dream home. Here, three real estate professionals sound off on common warning signs.
1. They don't seem genuine.
Your agent should be your teammate and collaborator throughout the entire process. "There needs to be a high level of trust between the buyer and the buyer's agent," says Robbie McLucas, a broker with Town & Mountain Realty in Asheville, North Carolina. "Trust your instincts when evaluating an agent."
If they seem slick and salesy, you may want to steer clear. "Look for an agent that is genuine in their approach and you feel as though they have your best interest as their primary focus," he says. "It's about the relationship, not the sale."
2. They don't stick to your budget.
If you have an agent who continually shows you homes that are higher than your price range, they are not the right agent.
"Speak with your mortgage broker or financial advisor, set the price you feel comfortable with, and relay that to your agent," says Amy Owens, an agent with Keller Williams, based in Montclair, New Jersey. "If you find you're not finding homes in your price range, then regroup. Your agent should ask you if you would like to see a higher price range, not make that decision for you."
3. They're inexperienced in what you're trying to achieve.
Your real estate agent should be an expert in the markets you're looking in, says Kathy Fettke, a real estate investor and co-CEO of Real Worth Network in Malibu, California. For example, if you're trying to buy a home in a very hot neighborhood, then you should only work with agents who've been successful at helping buyers compete in an overheated market. "They will need special skills that involve putting together a very attractive offer that would outshine any others," she adds.
Likewise, if you're looking for an investment property, only work with agents who specialize in investment real estate. "Too many will just guess on details like potential rental income and expenses," she says.
4. They don't have a network
One of the greatest assets an experienced agent brings to the table is a trusted team of lenders, home inspectors, and closing attorneys whom the agent has vetted." A good agent has worked hard to build that team because it increases the likelihood of a successful transaction," says McLucas. If your agent doesn't have a strong Rolodex of professionals, that's a red flag.
5. They value your time.
You don't want an agent who continually passes you off to a co-worker, Owens says. "Your agent should be there for the hunt as much as possible." A good agent should know when to be there for support, but also know when a buyer might need some space. For example, she notes that she doesn't typically attend the entire home inspection (as that's a time for the buyer to spend with the inspector). Instead, she likes to show up at the end and hear the highlights.
6. They're a "yes" person.
Be skeptical if your agent always tells you what you want to hear—and not the truth. "You don't want a 'yes' person," McLucas says. "You want an agent that is going to evaluate the good and bad, and help you see things about the property you may not notice." They should help you analyze all your options and make a confident decision.7. They don't listen to you.
Is your agent listening to you or are they all talk? They should be paying close attention to what really matters to you, whether it's proximity to public transportation or central air in the house. "An agent should be asking you questions more than you asking them questions," Owen says. "If an agent feels like they don't know exactly what you want, they should ask you."