Here are 9 signs that you may be working with the wrong real estate agent.
#1 They don’t communicate in a timely way.
This is probably the #1 complaint we hear from Buyers and Sellers when they decide to hire BREL: their last agent would regularly go incommunicado or MIA.
Pro Tip: If communication from your agent is important to you (it should be), watch for these telltale signs of responsiveness before you hire an agent:
- How fast did they respond when you first reached out? If it took them two days to respond to a new potential client, it doesn’t bode well for how they treat their active clients.
- Are their cell phone number and email address public? So many Toronto agents are secret agents – you can’t find their cell phone or email address anywhere. Hire the agents that places client service above everything else.
- Do they offer any kind of responsiveness guarantee? At the BREL team, we guarantee a response to our clients within 12 hours. It’s that important to us. Agents who cherish timely communication usually have some way of holding themselves accountable.
#2 They don’t follow-up and follow-through
Many agents have good intentions but fail at following-up and following-through. While they might want to set you up to receive new listings, or send you a sold price or a comparative market analysis or connect you with their mortgage broker, good intentions aren’t enough. If your agent is regularly making commitments and not keeping them, you may have the wrong agent.
#3 They pressure you to sign things you don’t understand or don’t want.
I can’t tell you how many calls I get from people who’ve unwittingly signed something they didn’t understand or didn’t want to sign (not our own clients, obviously). Your agent should be taking you through any paperwork and explaining it in detail before you sign it. They should also be sending you copies of the non-legalese version of the real estate forms if you request them. Electronic signatures have made signing easier – but they haven’t replaced your agent’s obligation to explain what you’re signing. Related: What the Paperwork Means
#4 They don’t keep their promises.
Often, in the excitement of trying to win a buyer or seller’s business, an agent will make promises. Get those promises in writing and hold them to it! If they’ve offered to pay for staging or cleaning or help you with junk removal or offered to discount their commission and then change their mind, it may be time to move on.
#5 They’re just relying on the MLS to sell your home.
If you’re selling your Toronto home, it’s important to realize that a comprehensive online and offline marketing plan is the ONLY way to get top dollar for your home. So many agents just slap it up on the MLS and don’t put any hustle into it. You can read how BREL markets homes here to help you understand what REAL marketing looks like.
#6 They repeatedly steer you to their own listings.
Working with an agent or team that has a lot of listings for sale can be a great thing…who doesn’t love early or exclusive access to a new listing? But if your agent is repeatedly trying only to sell you their listings, it might be a sign of trouble. Click here to read about Why Buying From the Listing Agent Might Be a Mistake.
#7 You hired them because they gave you the highest price, but you aren’t getting any showings.
It’s a common practice with some city REALTORS to over-value a home to win the listing. It’s normal to hope your house is the best on the block and worth more than anyone else’s..but this strategy usually backfires. Once you’ve committed to working with one of these agents, you can expect your home to be on the market for a long time, and you’ll need to reduce your price multiple times until you reach market value. Overpricing a property isn’t in your best interest – you’re just setting yourself up for a long and painful sale, and it’s possible that you’ll end up selling below what you could have sold for if you’d priced right at the beginning.
Truth: Your agent doesn’t decide how much your home is worth – the Buyers decide. If you interview 4 agents and 3 of them provide a similar range of value and one is an outlier and values your home at 10% more, don’t hire the outlier. If you’ve made this mistake already, it’s time for some truth talk with your REALTOR. What will it take to get your home sold?
#8 They’re ready to drive all over Ontario for you.
While Ontario REALTORS are licensed to sell anywhere in Ontario, real estate is local. It’s impossible for an agent to understand prices, market expectations, local customs and behaviours if they aren’t regularly working in a community. If your agent is prepared to go to the ends of the world for you, geographically-speaking, run.
Pro Tip: Don’t use your Toronto agent to buy a cottage up north and don’t use your small-town agent friend to buy or sell in Toronto. Local expertise matters in real estate.
#9 Your agent is a part-time or non-practicing agent.
Would you hire a part-time dentist to perform your root canal? Let a surgeon take out your appendix if she only performs surgery twice a year?
When you’re buying a selling a home, you’ve literally got hundreds of thousands of dollars riding on making the right decision. This is how many homes the average Toronto real estate agent sold in 2018:
Yep, you’re reading that right:
- 20% of Toronto agents sold 0 homes in 2018
- 37% of Toronto agents sold 1-2 homes in 2018
- 79% of Toronto agents sold less than six homes in 2018
Note: These stats don’t include pre-construction sales and do include appraisers and agents who report their sales in their team leader’s name, so they are far from perfect stats. But they do tell a story.
Think you’ve hired the wrong agent to help you buy or sell a home? Start with a frank, honest discussion about your expectations, and if your relationship isn’t working out, talk to your agent’s Broker-of-Record to find out how to terminate your contract.
Disclaimer! Real estate rules prevent me from soliciting other agents’ clients, so please don’t interpret this blog as an attempt to do that. Much of the public doesn’t understand what they can and should expect from their real estate agent – that’s the purpose of this blog.