Working with a real estate agent is similar to a romantic relationship: the introduction, a whirlwind courtship, followed by a commitment. My dear agent, “I do” promise to work with you to search for and buy my beloved new home.
That initial flurry of activity turns into hanging out on the weekends, exploring home after home. The rush of a new project as you work together toward a common goal can bond your partnership even further.
But what happens if the rosy glow disappears from your cheeks and there’s no longer a real estate skip in your step? How do you know when it’s time to think about changing real estate agents? Here are five signs that it might be time to say “it’s not you, it’s me” to your real estate agent.
Missing in action
Whether it’s a personal or business relationship, we all know when we’re getting the brushoff. Text messages aren’t returned quickly. Phone calls get sent to voicemail — and then returned by your agent’s assistant. Your emails seem to disappear down a dark hole, and your request to see a new home on the market is begrudgingly met three days later.
In a cold market, this behavior is simply unacceptable. But when it’s a scorching hot market? Forget it. You’re never going to land your dream home with an agent who treats your business relationship this way. You’ve been sidelined, and it’s time to move on.
High-pressure sales tactics
Rather than a new home, you begin to feel as though you’re shopping for a used car on a discount lot. Each conversation leaves you shaky with anxiety, fearing that every other decent house in the city (and in your price range) is currently under contract and this is your only shot to lock one down.
Regardless of how hot the market is, interactions with your agent should not leave you feeling anxious. Sure, it’s their job to convey accurate market information, but in an honest and straightforward manner.
They’re not listening
You’ve communicated your deal-breaker list to your agent and they consistently show you homes without several of your coveted features. You’re tired of explaining that a second bathroom is not a luxury — it’s essential for your sanity.
When you feel as if you’re wasting time spending Saturday and Sunday afternoons touring homes with an agent who is so clearly missing the mark, it might be time to move on. But before you break the news to your agent, consider asking if there aren’t any homes with your required features in your price range — a problem with an entirely different fix.
They stand you up
After leaving work early and rushing to your agent’s office to sign paperwork, you find their assistant armed with a calendar for an appointment reschedule. Having other clients and commitments is perfectly acceptable, but failing to communicate in advance is not. Their time is not more important than yours.
With that said, life does sometimes get in the way of a carefully planned schedule. If this is an isolated incident, treat it accordingly — if not, you may need to make some changes.
They make decisions for you
You’ve submitted an offer and your agent neglects to ask if you would agree to a longer closing date. Instead, they take it upon themselves to reply for you — and the sellers went with another offer. Regardless of previous conversations, your agent should discuss all contracts and offer details with you in a timely fashion. Full representation does not mean making decisions on your behalf.
As in a romantic relationship, it can be easy to convince yourself you’re overreacting to circumstances by sweeping things under the carpet. Remember, this is an important business relationship and should be given priority. If you’ve communicated openly with your agent and you’re not 100% satisfied, then move on and find an agent who not only meets your needs but also exceeds them.
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