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Top five signs of a bad real estate agent

cdr108

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#1
the following article from the G&M (taken from Investopedia) might be of interest to some who've asked about good and bad RE agents ...


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/glob...ns-of-a-bad-real-estate-agent/article1708486/

There are other factors to consider, beyond how quickly the agent sells your home

Tara Struyk
Investopedia.com

If your home is listed for sale and it just won't sell, it may not be your real estate agent's fault. However, there are many ways to gauge if your agent is doing a good job. Here we look at some of the top signs of a bad real estate agent. (For more on real estate agents and whether you need one, read both sides of the argument: 5 Reasons Why You Still Need A Real Estate Agent and Why You Don't Need A Real Estate Agent.)

1. Lack of Communication

If you haven't heard from your real estate agent in a few weeks, it's time to find a new one. Even if no one has called for a showing of your home, or your agent hasn't found any homes that meet your requirements as a buyer, he or she should be touching base with you regularly to keep you up to date on the work that has been done on your behalf. After all, there's no doubt you're thinking about your home transaction almost daily - as an agent acting on your behalf, shouldn't your real estate agent be keeping you in mind?

2. Lack of Leadership

If your real estate agent agrees with you on every point, this is the sign of someone who's eager to please - not someone who's committed to doing the best possible job at representing your interests in the real estate market. When it comes to pricing a home for sale, insist that your agent produce the research that was used to arrive at that price. An agent who asks you what you think your home is worth and lists it for that price is a sign of trouble.

Your real estate agent is supposed to be an expert, so look for one who can take the lead and provide you with well-reasoned advice. That said, your agent should also be acting on your behalf, and must take your final word in the end. (For related reading, check out 10 Tips For Getting A Fair Price On A Home.)

3. Unused Resources

Many real estate agents will use all of the tools at their disposal to market your home to the public and help you find a new one that meets your needs. Some, however, will do next to nothing and rely on other real estate agents to market your home to their clients. Expect your real estate agent to take good photos and descriptions of your home if it's for sale, and list it anywhere that may draw more interest to it, including putting the listing onto real estate websites, into local newspapers and even distributing flyers to homes in the area. Sure, your home might sell without this extra effort, but is that really the kind of person to whom you want to pay a commission?

4.Too Much Pressure

While you should seek out a real estate agent who is knowledgeable enough to have an educated opinion and confident enough to (respectfully) voice it, if you feel your agent pushing you in any particular direction, this should send up a red flag. Particularly when you're buying a home, there is no real reason why an agent should want you to buy any particular home over another. If you get the feeling this isn't the case, you could be being steered toward homes listed by your agent or your agent's brokerage, which can produce additional commissions for your agent. (Learn more in Finding A Good Real Estate Agent.)

Most state laws force real estate agents to reveal this conflict of interest to buyers, but if you feel your agent isn't being entirely open, beware. Your real estate agent's job is to act in your best interest and ensure that you're happy with the outcome of your real estate transaction. If you think your agent is preoccupied with his or her own interests, it's time to find another one.

5. Lack of Follow-Up

Whether you're buying or selling, many real estate agents think their job ends on the home's possession date. This is the day upon which the transaction is considered complete, and the real estate agent is paid. An agent who calls beyond this date to address any follow-up questions you might have and ensure that you're happy with his or her work is going above and beyond what is required and showing a commitment to customer service. After all, at this point your agent's commission check has already been signed, so this level of care is a great sign of an agent who is willing to do what it takes to make you happy and keep your business in the future.

The Bottom Line

As in every line of work, there are great real estate agents and there are terrible ones. However, in a tough real estate market like this one, you might have to gauge their performance on more than just a speedy transaction, which for home sellers, may be all but impossible. (For more tips, check out Do You Need A Real Estate Agent?)
 

Observer Walt

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#2
If your real estate agent agrees with you on every point, this is the sign of someone who's eager to please - not someone who's committed to doing the best possible job at representing your interests in the real estate market. When it comes to pricing a home for sale, insist that your agent produce the research that was used to arrive at that price. An agent who asks you what you think your home is worth and lists it for that price is a sign of trouble.

Your real estate agent is supposed to be an expert, so look for one who can take the lead and provide you with well-reasoned advice.
Absolutely excellent advice! I see too many properties listed at unrealistic prices, usually because the owner insisted and the agent did not have the strength of character to argue against that. A good agent won't go along with that.
 

neuhaus

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#3
Real estate is like any business, and unfortunately I think half of the agents out there are incompetant and don't deserve to be in their profession. Granted there are lots of real estate agents who are doing this on the side or part time, which unfortunately is making other agents look bad. Many are greedy or unrealistic and are there to make their commission rather than looking out for their clients.

A great real estate agent should on top of things all the time (knowing the latest news and developments, returning calls right away, etc.), have some knowledge in design, construction, zoning/building codes (I have heard of agents lying or making ill assumptions on what can be done to a property), have a good business sense (what sells, what features makes a good return, etc.), be well connected, and most important of all: have passion in what they do. This is not a profession for passive personalities/attitudes.
Look at how much they have sold, check out their references, see how many repeat clients they have, and having a great rapport is important.
 

lionel

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#4
Not only the sign of a bad agent, but also a stupid one:

When buying my place, the realtor I dealt with made mistakes and did very little work to earn their commission - I would argue I did more work chasing up lawyers and rectifying their mistakes. I digress from the main point - when the deal was signed, I didn't hear from them again. I've heard better realtors get their clients a housewarming gift, perhaps some flowers, even a card. I got nothing - not a phone call, not even an email. They took their commission and ran - never to be heard from again.

The upshot? They "moved" me into a 600sqft 1 bedroom suite. How many people stay in a place that size for more than a handful of years before upsizing? Here I am, 3 years later, looking to sell, and looking for someone to sell it for me.

Would I consider that realtor now? Never.
Would I consider them if they had spent 10-15 minutes of their precious time on customer service? Probably.

Expensive oversight.
 
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nhincompoop

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#5
Not only the sign of a bad agent, but also a stupid one:

When buying my place, the realtor I dealt with made mistakes and did very little work to earn their commission - I would argue I did more work chasing up lawyers and rectifying their mistakes. I digress from the main point - when the deal was signed, I didn't hear from them again. I've heard better realtors get their clients a housewarming gift, perhaps some flowers, even a card. I got nothing - not a phone call, not even an email. They took their commission and ran - never to be heard from again.

The upshot? They "moved" me into a 600sqft 1 bedroom suite. How many people stay in a place that size for more than a handful of years before upsizing? Here I am, 3 years later, looking to sell, and looking for someone to sell it for me.

Would I consider that realtor now? Never.
Would I consider them if they had spent 10-15 minutes of their precious time on customer service? Probably.

Expensive oversight.
Excellent points. Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience though.
 
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#6
Some agents are horrible!

An agent you should definitely stay away from if you live in the Toronto area is Bill Thom who works for Remax. He is a crook that will not only waste your time but also steal your money! Some agents like him only spend money on advertisements of putting their pictures in different newspapers and billboards to make their faces known but know nothing about their job. One thing we learned is that time doesn't always gain you experience. Anyhow Bill Thom is a big NO!
 

cdr108

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#7
An agent you should definitely stay away from if you live in the Toronto area is Bill Thom who works for Remax. He is a crook that will not only waste your time but also steal your money! Some agents like him only spend money on advertisements of putting their pictures in different newspapers and billboards to make their faces known but know nothing about their job. One thing we learned is that time doesn't always gain you experience. Anyhow Bill Thom is a big NO!
can you elaborate? if he's done something improper you should make a formal complaint with TREB and CREA, and provide details.

if you don't act, then he continues to do the same thing over and over to other people.
 

Ric

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#8
can you elaborate? if he's done something improper you should make a formal complaint with TREB and CREA, and provide details.

if you don't act, then he continues to do the same thing over and over to other people.
Actually TREB and CREA would not be the place to send his complaint (not all agents are members of TREB or CREA). He needs to complain directly to RECO (Real Estate Council of Ontario) which governs all agents in the province.

http://www.reco.on.ca/section-buyer/tc-233/spage-complaints.html
 

a.c

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#9
As a uni student who is interested in the prospect of becoming a realtor I find threads like these helpful.

One thing I'm curious about is how real estate agents consistently gain new knowledge about the market. Wether it be reading Globe & Mail articles such as the one posted, to maybe following a realty blog. I'd really like to know the best sources of info you guys use to stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

Ps. Sorry if I brought this thread a little off topic but I cannot post my own threads until I've made some posts. Also any kind of input is appreciated.
 

ISYM

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#10
A.C., reading articles and blogs can keep one in the loop but if I may offer a suggestion - always do your own research utilizing valid sources from the textbooks provided to familiarizing and keep yourself up to date with all the acts and by-laws that impact real estate ownership and contracts and take useful in class courses particularly the legal ones as they will greatly assist you in protecting your clients. Too many REALTORS prefer to fill their required educational updates with banal courses especially when they can be taken via computer.

Pay attention to what is being taught in your initial courses and you'll learn very early on once you hit the field that incorrect information abounds, one person says something out of ignorance and it's regurgitated and parrotted by the masses. Unfortunately the culprits are often veterans who ought to know better. However, do find a veteran to train under so that you can learn the industry processes.

As a uni student who is interested in the prospect of becoming a realtor I find threads like these helpful.

One thing I'm curious about is how real estate agents consistently gain new knowledge about the market. Wether it be reading Globe & Mail articles such as the one posted, to maybe following a realty blog. I'd really like to know the best sources of info you guys use to stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

Ps. Sorry if I brought this thread a little off topic but I cannot post my own threads until I've made some posts. Also any kind of input is appreciated.
 

Admiral Beez

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#11
I always laugh at those "sold in 3 days!" signs, or "sold over asking in 2 days!". Unless you were fleeing into witness protection or otherwise had to evacuate rapidly, such rushed sales are not in the client's interest at all.
 

Ric

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#12
I always laugh at those "sold in 3 days!" signs, or "sold over asking in 2 days!". Unless you were fleeing into witness protection or otherwise had to evacuate rapidly, such rushed sales are not in the client's interest at all.
Totally disagree. If you consider getting the highest price possible to be in the clients best interest then a quick sale is the way to go. The longer a property stays on the market the more "stigma" comes into play. Buyers are less likely to put in a good offer as they will be asking: What's wrong with the property? If it was a great value it would have sold already? I don't want to be the sucker to overpay, etc. All these questions will have a negative impact on eventual selling price (Not to mention the seller will be more desperate at this stage).

Which would you most likely purchase? Property A at $350K and 150 days on the market or property B at the same price but only 4 days on the market (lets assume both properties are exactly the same except for # of days on the market).
 
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ISYM

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#13
Whenever I hear or read such statements I presume it’s based on first hand experience and the following questions always come to mind, I hope you’ll answer them.

1) Where did you find your REALTOR?
2) How many did you interview?
3) Did your choice speak to why you shouldn’t hire a different REALTOR as opposed to why you should hire them?
4) Did you perform due diligence in verifying their claims?
5) Were you swayed by either their commission or list price recommendation?
6) Why would you as seller agree to a "rushed sale?"

I always laugh at those "sold in 3 days!" signs, or "sold over asking in 2 days!". Unless you were fleeing into witness protection or otherwise had to evacuate rapidly, such rushed sales are not in the client's interest at all.
 

metroTO

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#14
In terms of selling agents, just take a good look at their listings or go to their open house.
I am appalled with so many agents who are either completely ignorant or lack any marketing or business skills to properly sell a place.

Some of the things I have noticed:
- Lack of photos or information: You're trying to sell a place. The more information you give the more interest you will get. Lack of photos and information says the agent is not even making the effort.
- Photos of just the amenity spaces: Too lazy to photograph the unit for sale and think that photographing the professionally designed amenity spaces would be a good substitution, think again.
- Adding a bunch of 8's in the asking price: I've seen this worthless trick done especially on less than desireable properties. Ironically this is done by non-asian agents and Chinese buyers are smart enough not to fall for it.
- Not taking good photos that properly describe the property: Seeing a photo of a sofa and nothing else doesn't tell you anything. Likewise seeing a stove that is twice as wide as it should be is just plain awful. If you can't take good photos, than get a professional to do it for you.
- Not staging, cleaning or tidying up the property: Clutter and filth is a turn off, and why would any self respecting agent would take photos or have an open house when it looks like crap. I have been to an open house where the basement was a self-contained apartment and it was obvious that the tenants didn't want the unit to sell. There were a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, there were left overfood all over the place and small collection of used Q-tips on the bath vanity. A good agent would spend some time to make a open house feel comfortable, welcoming and presentable. Some outstanding agents would even bring fresh flowers and cookies and refreshments to an open house.
- Lying to perspective buyers: I was at an open house at a penthouse in the Charlotte Lofts and I was hearing the agent telling a prospective buyer that the damaged laminate flooring is easy to refinish and better than wood floors. I don't know if he was just plain stupid or scamming their visitors.
- Over exaggerated/deceptive listing comments: I saw a house fronting on Stanley Park which claimed to be extensively renovated and had potential of expansion. It was just a few minor and poorly done improvements over the course of the last 6 years. The house infact looks very dated and was in poor condition (sagging floors, strong mouldy/mildew odours, stairs that were barely to code, etc.) and will probably need a gut job. The house is also on a tight narrow and awkward lot with close neighbors and adding a floor or an extension would be very difficult or might not even allowable.
- Not being available/accessible: I went to see a condo with my agent and there was supposed to be a lock box on the premises but it wasn't there. The agent was located in Mississauga and couldn't be there right away, so my agent and I walked away. What a good way of losing potential sales!
- Not knowing enough on the property or area/neighbourhood: I was surprised to hear some agents who do not know some important information on the unit, such as the official square footage of the unit, how many units in the building, not knowing all of the amenities in the building, the age of the building, etc.
- Not being courteous or attentive at an open house: You're trying to sell a place, at least try to act happy, friendly, and interested. I have been at an open house where an agent sat on the sofa the entire time and didn't even bother to get up to greet and talk to his guests. Again this is a sign that the agent who doesn't care.
 

James

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#15
Some very valid comments in this thread and hopefully good information for realtors out there.

A few things that irk me (which may have already been pointed out in the earlier posts):

  • Spelling mistakes and poor sentence structure. No, I'm not talking about acronyms or short form spelling, I'm talking about completing misspelling a neighborhood (e.g. Anex) or a school (e.g. Morris Cody) or an appliance (e.g. frige). Please proof-read your client's listing before posting it publicly for thousands to see.
  • Poor photos which may include incorrect aspect ratios, people standing in the background, photos that are sideways, etc. I can accept that not all are high-quality professional photos, but at least try to make them look appealing for potential buyers. Turn on some lights, wait 2 seconds for the dog to get out of the shot, move the underwear on the bed, etc.
  • Agents who promote "Top seller 3 years in a row!" or "Gold award 2011" or "Platinum Seller!" or "Ranked #1 in Toronto!". It just screams used car salesman.
  • Agents who list low, have an open house, then re-list at a much higher asking price. Yes, it happens.

In defence of the hard-working realtors out there, these irks are certainly not widespread but they are evident and they do exist. I can certainly attest that clients are not always the easiest to work with either. Sometimes they really don't know what they want and other times their expectations are unrealistically high. It really is a team-effort, not a one-sided arrangement. It's a business relationship that has to work for both the agent and the client.