If your home is listed for sale and it just won’t sell, it may not be your real estate agent’s fault–after all, home sales were down more than 40% in August over the same time last year. However, there are many ways to gauge if your agent is doing a good job.
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 being 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.
3. Unable to Listen: In contrast to #2, your real estate agent should also be able to listen to your wants and needs. The agent and the buyer/seller don’t always have to agree, but in the end they are someone that is acting on your behalf. Your real estate agent is the expert and should be able to take the lead, but they will have to be someone willing to allow you to have the final word in the end.
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. Especially when you’re buying a home, there is no real reason an agent should want you to buy any particular home over another. If you get the feeling you are being steered toward certain homes, make sure you address this and in the end are purchasing what you want.
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 to 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.