Picking a Real Estate Agent? Watch Out For These 5 Red Flags

Picking a Real Estate Agent? Watch Out For These 5 Red Flags (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

Whether you're buying or selling a home, picking the right real estate is one of the most essential parts of the entire process. Your real estate agent is the one who holds the highest negotiating power in your transaction, and can make or break your ability to buy or sell a property at the price you're looking to get. 

But how can you tell if your real estate agent is the right fit for you - or, more importantly, that he or she is really up to the huge, important job ahead? Here are five red flags to watch out for when selecting your agent:

1. The agent suggests you list your home at a notable higher price than others

When selling your home, you should get listing presentations from more than one prospective agent before making your decision. These agents will all look at the same data (including homes that have sold in the area and how long they took to sell), so all agents should come up with relatively similar figures to one another.

If your agent comes up with something much higher than the others, this should be an automatic red flag. Pricing a home too high at the beginning of your transaction often spells trouble down the line - your home takes longer to sell, and will ultimately sell for less. Agents are sometimes blindly optimistic in hopes of making you happy (today, not down the road when it doesn't sell), and getting the job.

2. The agent doesn't know how to help you prepare for success

Some agents believe their job is to put a sign in the ground, put your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and hope for the best. Other agents will provide you advice on preparing your home for the market, preparing your mindset for the move, building the right selling team around you to ensure you cross the finish line with some gas in the tank. Which of these types of agents would you prefer?

It's important to find a real estate agent who understands and is willing to advise and inform so that you may make the best decisions for yourself.  

3. The agent claims to real estate "on the side" or "part time"

Agents who are not active and competitive in the real estate market on a day-to-day basis will likely be a drag on your process. An agent without the time to commit fully to real estate may not be that much more honed in on the process, market trends, or negotiation techniques than you are!

As a buyer, you want an agent who can immediately jump on new listings and show you new properties, while directing you to appropriate neighborhoods, thanks to an extensive working knowledge of the present market. Those who only practice real estate occasionally will rarely have this insider knowledge.

As a seller, you want an agent who is always available to show your home to buyers, and do so in a knowledgeable and articulate way. They will also be able to show the home with a good knowledge of the surrounding area and its market conditions. 

4. The agent doesn't extensively know your neighborhood

It may seem like we're harping on the importance of understanding market conditions and trends, but it's important to realize that this is a particularly important attribute to Chicago-area real estate, where the value of a home can change drastically not only from neighborhood to neighborhood, but from block to block.

You'll want an agent who knows these ins and outs without any hesitation, in order to best interpret the price at which you should list your home, or, for buyers, the price your dream home may really cost in your desired area.

5. The agent doesn't typically deal with your type of property

There are countless types of listings here in Chicago - from huge single family homes to two-flats, from condominiums to undeveloped investment properties.

When you're buying or selling, it is in your best interest to work with an agent who understands traditional rules and regulations on the specific types of property you're dealing with, as they will always come with their own unique sets of challenges and expectations. 

5. The agent doesn't typically work with buyers in your price range

There are certain agents that choose to specialize in specific price ranges. If you are looking for a starter home of $200,000 or under, an agent who typically deals with $10 million luxury listings will be unlikely to give you the time and attention your transaction deserves. It's important to find a real estate agent who understands and is willing to work with your needs and within your limits

That's where the Real Group team comes in! Need help finding an agent, or some other referral? We'd be happy to work with you! Our team knows all of the many ins and outs to buying and selling in Chicagoland, so don't hesitate to send us any questions you may have about your search. 

Are you thinking about selling your home?

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