Myths & Truths When Selecting & Using A REALTOR®
MYTH- Length in business equals experience.
TRUTH- Some agents have had their licenses active for decades, but only sell a few houses a year. Be sure to ask how many houses they have sold in the past year. The markets and methods change dramatically and quickly, and you need someone who has experience in today’s market.
MYTH- Bigger is better.
TRUTH- Be sure to ask your agent if you will be dealing with them in the future, an assistant, or a member of their team. You have every right to know who you will be working with. Make sure they aren’t too busy to service you properly!
MYTH- It’s a great idea to hire REALTOR® who is a family member or close friend.
TRUTH- Buying or selling a property is no easy feat. You deserve the agent that will do the best job. Think very carefully and do your research before you make your decision. You may just save risking a personal relationship or your finances.
MYTH- All agents must complete the same educational requirements- so they all have the same knowledge.
TRUTH- Guess what? Real estate schools apprises you of the laws, goes through the contracts, and primes a potential agent to pass the exam, but does not in any way prepare them for the “real world” of real estate that lies ahead. After an agent embarks on their first deal, they learn this pretty quickly! It is only through working in the field day in and day out that gives them the experience and knowledge that is so valuable for their clients.
MYTH- It doesn’t matter if my REALTOR® is a part time or full time agent.
TRUTH- It matters. Someone that is working another job or splitting their time in another city may not be available certain days or times- and as fate would have it, more often than not it will be when you really need them. You also want someone who is fully committed and immersed in the business. Buying or selling property is a huge financial decision- you deserve someone who is 110% in the game with you.
MYTH- It doesn’t matter that other agents don’t respect my agent.
TRUTH- Again, it matters. Agents that never return phone calls or emails, are rude on the phone or in person, inconvenience other agent’s clients selfishly and lack a general degree of common courtesy to their colleagues are not people other agents go out of their way to work with. Yes, your agent can be a “shark” in the negotiations, but still have a reputation for being a courteous and ethical person to work with. One is not mutually exclusive from the other!
MYTH- Using the listing agent on a house is perfectly fine and a super idea.
TRUTH- Did you know that if you use the listing agent to make an offer on a property that they are NOT working on your behalf? WHOA- STOP! Unless you are 100 percent confident that you don’t need advice on pricing or negotiation- GET AN AGENT OF YOUR OWN!!! The listing agent will have to pay a portion of his/her commission to your agent instead of pocketing it all for themselves, oh darn! You do not have to pay a penny to work with your own agent- the buyer’s agent commission has already been built into the listing agreement.
MYTH- My agent told me that I really did not need a home inspection- he or she told me that the house is great.
TRUTH- Another big WHOA-STOP!!!!! Is your agent a licensed home inspector? And even if they are- are they insane and risky enough to take on that kind of liability? If they are that lackadaisical and risky with their own liability, do you think they can look after you properly? Get a home inspection- and if the deal falls through, think about sacking your agent and finding a new one next time.
MYTH- My agent is really pressuring me to use their lender/inspector/pest company/roof guy even though I told them I have one I trust. I guess I should do what my agent says- I don’t want to rock the boat and maybe they do know best.
TRUTH- Unless your agent can give you a specific reason why they don’t think you should work with your chosen professional (example- “I have worked with lender ABC and he/she does not return emails and has not been able to close on time in 3 out of 4 deals) you should be able to use who you trust and have had good experiences with. There are sometimes valid reasons that an agent does not want to use a particular vendor like the example above, but to pressure you into only using theirs is a huge red flag. You should be offered a few suggestions- and they should be just that- suggestions. If they pursue it after you decline- maybe it is time to find a new agent to represent you.