There are many wonderful REALTORS® out there who work hard for their clients and help them with every detail of their transaction, but this type of service isn't always guaranteed.
Unfortunately among the mix there could also be some uninspired agents, and they can cause their clients frustration, stress and disappointment. I know it sounds a bit strange reading these words on a real estate agent's blog, but I feel that this isn't a closely guarded industry secret.
Are you in a situation where you are thinking about leaving your REALTOR® for a different one? There are a lot of reasons why people consider doing this same thing, and some of the most common are listed below. Read through them to see how you might relate, but also use them as guidance for hiring the right agent in the future.
The Agent Doesn't Give a Good First Impression
First impressions are important, especially in the world of real estate. Agents have to be friendly, confident and experienced in order to win the trust of their clients. If you've met with an agent and didn't have a good impression of them right away, just imagine the impression that other people will have. This could impede chances of you selling your home, but it could also mean not being able to find one to purchase either.
Another aspect of first impressions is related to the image that the agent has on their website. Do they stage homes so they look more appealing to potential buyers? Do they take the time to make their website user-friendly to visitors? When an agent doesn't put effort into making their real estate website to easily search homes, this should be considered another red flag. Buyers generally start with online searches to find homes, and if they have a bad impression of a REALTOR'S® website, they likely won't bother to call them for a home they are interested in.
The Agent is a "Smooth Talker"
Agents who tell their clients what they want to hear can spell trouble from the very start. This won't only cause the client stress and frustration, but can also mean a lot of money and time wasted. That's why it's so important to find an agent who is up front, honest and reliable. Nobody in this field should tell you "yes" to everything that you ask, and they should be forthright with details about contracts and transactions as well. Even if someone is nice that doesn't mean they are honest, which is why it's crucial to pay close attention to what they are really saying.
Unethical business practices carry serious consequences for the agent, but also for the client. This is why it's so important for anyone who feels uneasy about their agent to leave right away. Some of the biggest signs of dishonesty include:
- Trying to talk you out of what you want
- Telling you only what you want to hear
- Contracts that are poorly written
- Making false claims that can't be backed up
When clients leave their real estate agent due to dishonesty, it can leave them with a bad impression of professionals in this field. However, this shouldn't be something to expect with every person in real estate. There are many reputable agents out there who you'll be able to trust and work closely with. Don't be afraid to ask questions and to really get to know the agent you're interviewing before you actually hire them.
The Agent is Unprofessional
The right attitude is crucial for real estate agents to have because they are working with the public throughout most of their careers. They should be professional, pulled together, friendly and organized so they give off the right impression to everyone they come in contact with. This doesn't only give the client confidence with hiring them, but it gives others the assurance that they are working with a serious professional. Trust is a big part of the relationship between the client and the agent, and that can easily be broken when a bad attitude shows its face.
Most people will generally leave their agent immediately when they are clearly not as professional as they should be. Constantly showing up late, forgetting appointments, acting unfriendly and having a bad attitude are all red flags for clients from the very start. These things show that the agent could lose their cool when working with a difficult buyer, or even that they may miss an opportunity to sell. Clients need to have peace of mind that their agent is cool, calm, collected and up for the job at all times.
The Agent Doesn't Listen
Real estate agents are there to give their clients advice, but they are also there to listen. This ensures they can give the best customer service possible and meet the expectations that the customer has set.
For example, they should ask you up-front what your expectations are, whether that means moving to a nicer neighbourhood or selling your home within a few weeks. Through those questions they should be able to get to know you better and address any concerns that you might have. Your agent will also be able to assess your wants and give you an idea of whether or not they are realistic.
It's reasonable for clients to expect that their agent will listen to them, get to know them and give them realistic advice. After all, real estate is very personal because of the impact it can have on finances, whether it's with buying or selling. When attentive service doesn't happen, the majority of clients will start looking elsewhere for help with real estate. They'll look for a good agent who knows that listening is the key to providing memorable and effective service to their client.
The Agent Has Another Job
Full time real estate agents are more in-demand than ever, and that's because they generally offer better service than agents who only do this part time. Just like it's been said before: "Part time effort will create partial results, and full time effort will create full results".
When this is someone's career, they are able to dedicate more hours of the day to helping their clients. When agents have another job to do, their attention to their customers is often cut in half, and that could get in the way of efficiently selling or buying. This is a big reason why the majority of clients switch to full time agents soon after they learn theirs has another career they are committed to.
Some real estate agents are able to do this part time without sacrificing great customer service, but this is very rarely the case. Generally their commitment to their other job will get in the way at some point, and their inexperience from not being out on the field all day can mean other potential issues.
And while not everyone will leave their agent because of these reasons specifically, they generally won't hire this person again when they need real estate help in the future.
The Agent Doesn't Respond in a Timely Manner
No client should expect their real estate agent to answer the phone late at night or respond to e-mails immediately, unless they were explicitly told the agent would be there 24/7. Most people should simply expect their agents to respond to them in a timely manner, which generally means a couple of hours at the most. When clients don't get the attention they deserve, like responses to phone calls or e-mails within a reasonable amount of time, that's when they start to think about straying to another agent. This is especially true in situations when a great deal comes on the market and it needs to be acted on immediately. Lack of attention could affect a purchase or sale, meaning significant loss of opportunity to the client.
If your agent hasn't been responding to you in a reasonable amount of time, then it's very easy to see why you'd want to look at other professionals to work with. After all, you likely want to sell or buy as quickly as possible, and you need your agent to help you with the details in order for that to happen. There are others out there who value their clients, and they'll be in contact with you regularly so you always get the attention that you deserve.
The Agent Can't Deal with Unexpected Problems
It would be nice if every transaction in real estate was smooth sailing, but that's very rarely the case. Agents should be continually updating their education so that they can deal with any type of unexpected problem that comes about during different types of transactions.
For example, they should be able to give their client advice on what to do if they don't qualify for the loan that they need. They should also be able to handle problems during the buying or selling process, which could arise when dealing with difficult parties. This is where experience will come into play, but also professionalism and problem solving capabilities.
When an agent is clearly overwhelmed by issues that come up, the client has every right to want to leave them. The agent is the one who is responsible for putting their client at ease, and if they are causing them stress or frustration, then they should work with someone else. The whole reason people hire agents is for help during this process, and they shouldn't be the ones bearing the burdens of surprise problems on their shoulders.
Finding the Right Agent
Have you ever left a real estate agent to go to another one, or are you considering doing so now? It's important that you don't feel bad about this, because you deserve someone who is going to work hard and actually help you. However, before making any rushed decision, I know that everyone always deserves a second a chance. Make sure that who ever you are dealing isn't just having a bad day for a good reason.
Just remember that your expectations should be reasonable, and the agent you work with should be up-front about what you can expect from them. This will ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible and that you avoid any disappointment down the road. There are great REALTORS® out there to help you, and once you find one, you'll be able to rely on them for all of the real estate services you need!
To My Dear Colleagues
If you are a colleague of mine (even if you are located half way across the world) and you have recognized any of the things above that you are guilty of - please do your past and future clients a favour and put their best interests above all.
Raise the bar you've set for yourself and be proud to what you do. After all, being a real estate agent is a highly noble occupation since it's our responsibility to help buyers and sellers to orchestrate one of the biggest decisions of their lives.
I am a licensed member of the Real Estate Council of Alberta since 2005 - proudly representing CIR REALTY, Calgary’s largest real estate brokerage. I enjoy keeping my readers up to date with real estate related information that they can easily understand and use for their own benefit. I welcome feedbacks and comments equally from first-time visitors to my blog, past clients and also from my fellow REALTOR® colleagues. Thanks for stopping by!