When Should You Fire Your Real Estate Agent?
Lately several couples I know have been trying to purchase real estate, and it seems that none of them are too happy with their real estate agents. Some of them have been working with their agents for months without any positive outcome. The fact is that some of these poorly performing agents should have been fired long ago. Here are some signs that you should fire your real estate agent.
1. You know the agent is being unethical.
One person reported that his agent sent multiple buyers to the same houses, and subtlely encouraged the buyers to bid against each other. This agent is basically pitting his own clients against each other and that is not in the interest of any of the clients. If you suspect your agent of being unethical then it is probably best to cut off that relationship because these agents could bring you more trouble down the road.
2. The agent seems to have no basic knowledge of the local real estate market.
A good buyer's agent should know the general condition and trends of the real estate market he or she works in and provide some advice to buyers as to how much money to offer on a house. One person I know was extremely upset when she bid on a home that she later found out to be quite a bit more expensive than comparable homes. She blamed this on the agent for not offering any pricing advice when she asked how much should be offered. The offer was withdrawn, but the agent's lack of knowledge became pretty apparent.
3. The agent does not listen to you.
This is a pretty common complaint I hear about. Basically, the real estate agent shows homes to clients that do not meet the clients' requirements. The most common problem is that the agents show people homes outside the price ranges they have agreed upon. There are also requirements like school district or home size that the bad agents seem to ignore. Basically these agents seem to completely forget what the clients want. If this is happening to you then you should definitely confront your agent about it, and if he or she insists on showing you homes $200,000 above your budget then maybe it should be time to say goodbye.
4. The agent is difficult to get in touch with.
A good and eager agent is usually reachable by the client and replies to emails and phone calls even if they are busy. If you cannot find your agent for days on end, then maybe he or she does not really want to work with you and it is time to move on.
5. The agent displays general incompetence.
In several instances I have heard people complain about how many mistakes their agents made. For example, an agent could not spell one particular client's name correctly in emails, and then the same mistake was carried onto offers. If you see constant incompetence on the part of the agent then it is probably in your interest to hire someone new. A real estate transaction is a big deal for most people, and you cannot afford to have someone who makes mistakes as a habit.
In general, you should probably part ways with your real estate agent if it feels like you are both wasting your time. It does not do you or the agent any good if you are all running around for months without achieving your goal of closing on a home. When you are ready to fire the agent, you should check if you signed any representation contracts and if you have any financial or legal obligations to keep him or her. Usually there is some kind of Buyer's Broker Agreement with some set terms. It is possible that you have to let such agreements expire before looking for a new agent. A good real estate agent should save you time and money and make your home buying process go as smoothly as possible, but a bad agent will cause additional stress and anxiety. Of course, to avoid some of these problems you should screen your realtor carefully before hiring him or her and read any agreements you sign.
Have you had to fire a real estate agent? What was your reasoning?