Choosing a real estate agent is like choosing a mattress – make the wrong selection and you’ll end up with sleepless nights left contemplating all of the money you have lost on this uncomfortable investment.
“If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t force it,” says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. “Selecting a real estate agent is all about finding somebody who you are comfortable around and who you can trust. The easiest way to tell that you have the wrong agent is if they make you feel doubtful or uncomfortable in any way.”
His advice to buyers or sellers who are questioning whether they have the right agent is to do a little research to discover whether their doubts go beyond just a personal dislike. “The internet has made this such an easy thing to do. Simply type the agent’s name with the word “complaints” next to it into a search engine, and you’ll know within minutes if others have experienced similar gripes with the agent under consideration.”
According to Goslett, there are three types of agents buyers and sellers need to avoid at all costs:
1. The “Smoke and Mirrors Artist”
“This sort of agent is a born showman who makes all kinds of lofty promises embellished in exaggerations. After he/she is done with the sales pitch, you’ll believe that your property will be sold within the next hour. Look out for phrases such as ‘instant sale’, ‘double your asking price’ and ‘I’ll be contactable 24/7’. To make sure the agent’s claims are not just wishful thinking, ask to see the evidence that enables them to make these claims. A reputable agent will have done market research and should be able to supply you with facts around their own recent sales in your area. Also, in order to better trust their competence, ask to see their sales track record over the last few years.”
2. The “I know Best” Agent
“These agents are by far the easiest to spot, usually because their ego makes them appear twice as large as they actually are. Arrogant and egotistical, these agents claim to be the best in the business which gives them the right to steamroll over the wants and needs of their clients. Be very weary of these characters because they will end up wasting a lot of your time. They will claim to know what is best for you without even taking the time to find out what you’re looking for, and will try to convince you to look at properties you have no interest in. Good real estate agents ask more questions than make statements. If your agent is more interested in hearing his own advice than in hearing about you, then you really need to start looking for another agent.”
3. The “Ever-Elusive Home Executive”
“The process of buying or selling your home is stressful enough without having to worry about how to contact an absent agent. While it is unreasonable to expect an agent to be instantly contactable at all hours of the day, it is not too self-important to expect that your agent gets back to you within 24 hours. The early stages of the home-buying or selling process is a good indication of how responsive your agent will be. If they are not easily contactable from the start, then you should not waste your time with them.”
“Of course, there are also those agents who are a dreadful combination of all three of these categories. No matter how strong the personality is that you are dealing with, you need to remember that you are still in control of your own real estate transaction. Purchasing and selling a property is a time-consuming process fraught with important financial implications. If you feel that the agent is not doing a good job, then you are fully entitled to trade them in for an agent who you’re more comfortable working with,” Goslett concludes.