9 Warning Signs Of A Bad Real Estate Agent

November 8, 2022

Your real estate agent may not be to blame if your house sits on the market for months without any offers as it’s quite difficult to predict when home sales will be weak. That said, there are several indicators that point to whether you’ve got a competent agent or not. 

When looking to buy a house, having a bad agent as your guide is a huge liability. A bad realtor may lead to missed opportunities or a sale price outside of your range and a home that is not what you had in mind. They might also have poor negotiation skills that lead to the loss of your dream home. All of these outcomes can be avoided if you know how to spot a terrible real estate agent, and it's essential to do so since there's a lot on the line for anyone buying or selling a home.

Avoid putting yourself in contract with a local agent who isn't getting the job done or isn't working in your best interests by learning to recognize the warning signs of a bad realtor. 

Are you looking for a real estate professional to help with your house hunt? Here are nine red flags that indicate you haven't settled on the best one and steps to take if you decide to look elsewhere.

They Have Short Attention Spans

Poor recall and focus are warning signs that can cost you dearly in the long run. If you tell your buyer's agent about a home you're interested in and they claim they'll get in touch with the seller's agent immediately to acquire further information, but they never do, you have a real issue on your hands. Your realtor may be too preoccupied, or otherwise might not be taking you as seriously as they should. If you're a first-time buyer in the market for a $350,000 starter house, you could feel neglected by an agent who often deals with $5 million properties.

While the agent intends to learn about your needs and objectives, you also don't want them to multitask. You deserve a realtor’s complete focus since it's your money at stake. Anyone who closes transactions is likely to be hardworking, but it might also mean they prioritize their financial gain above their clients' satisfaction.

You may not get the respect you deserve from that agent, or the paperwork may be completed inaccurately and hurriedly. Even if a realtor's hectic schedule isn't always indicative of bad character, it is nevertheless a warning sign of an agent to look out for.

They Don't Listen Closely

A lack of enthusiasm for one's work is a telltale symptom of a bad realtor. The worst kind of showing is with an agent standing by the door and not saying a word as you stroll through the property.

A great agent will inquire about your preferences regarding location, budget, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms to determine what kind of home will be ideal for you. They will give you an honest assessment of how well each home they recommend meets your needs before and during visits. They'll know the fundamentals of each building and can even have some interesting anecdotes about the place.

If you have been clear about your expectations in a house – say, a newer home no more than your budget of $400,000, no further than 20 miles from work – yet your realtor keeps recommending properties that are entirely outside your expectations, they are likely not listening to you. Don’t entertain fixer-uppers 40 minutes outside the boundaries of where you want to live, $90,000 over budget. A good realtorwill be able to honestly tell you if your expectations are reasonable and help you hone in on those properties that fit your needs. 

If the realtor asks you only a few or no questions at all to help you decide if a home is a suitable match for your requirements, then it's clear that they're not interested in finding you a home. Avoid agents who are only interested in moving on to the next client.

See if you can view a house without a realtor here.

They Are Inexperienced

In the world of real estate, experience is crucial. A full-time, seasoned agent is preferable to a greenhorn because of the lower risk of problems. When your money is at stake, working with a new real estate agent who is learning on the job is not ideal.

An inexperienced agent, for instance, can fumble the negotiating process or fail to remember to check off a crucial legal need for the acquisition. But just because an agent has been in the business for a long time doesn't mean they've had experience in your field.

Top real estate agents will gladly accompany you on a neighborhood tour and provide detailed responses to your inquiries as you go through each property. Whether or not they know the answer to your query right now, they should be able to find out by consulting with the seller's agent or looking elsewhere. They understand the market, have connections, and can make thoughtful recommendations that positively impact your search or sale.

They Are Not Good At Communicating

A professional agent will constantly update you with the latest listings or the current status of the sale, depending on your position as the buyer or seller. This is especially important in a competitive market where homes are selling rapidly. You should be in contact daily if you are looking to close soon. A failure to communicate is the most glaring sign of a bad realtor. They won't respond when you need them to, leading to frustrating delays in closing and other missed chances.

A competent agent will come back to you within two business days, and a stellar one will have a team ready to take care of your issues right away if they arise outside of business hours. A poor agent does not respond quickly enough, doesn't use your chosen means of contact (e.g., emailing or texting), and whose poor communication style leaves room for missteps and misrepresentation.

They Don't Provide You With Any Advice Or Guidance

If you want to find the right house or sell yours to the right buyer, your agent should teach you how to do it. You may expect them to share some of the knowledge they have gained about properties with you, including the ins and outs of the buying process or some practical marketing skills or marketing plans for selling. When you first meet with them, a great real estate agent will inquire further about your preferences in a home. They will help you identify dealbreakers in a purchase, as well as talk you down if your hopes are way too high. 

In addition to guidance on the search process, a seasoned real estate agent should warn you about any shortcomings of the houses they show you. The same is true for the selling process; a competent realtor should be able to confidently walk you through pricing structure, marketing plans, offers, and timelines. Don’t settle for someone that doesn’t serve as your advocate and teacher.

If you get the sense that the agent doesn’t know what they are talking about or isn’t actively engaged with the process, you may be dealing with a bad agent. 

They Are Way Too Pushy

Even though you should look for a real estate agent who knows enough to have an informed opinion and can communicate it properly, you should be wary of anybody who seems to be trying to firmly steer you on a particular path. There's no real incentive for a realtor to recommend one house over another, especially when you're the one doing the transaction. However, if you get this impression, your agent may try to guide you toward properties listed by themselves or their firm to earn more money. In addition to constantly contacting you, a pushy agent tends to sugar-coat situations. Their focus is on closing a deal quickly, and not on being a good partner.

Agents are required by law in most states to inform home buyers of this potential conflict of interest, but if you get the impression that your agent isn't being completely forthright, tread carefully. The role of your agent is to look out for your interests and make sure the deal goes as smoothly as possible for you. Agents that seem too focused on themselves should be replaced.

They Don't Fight For You

Although some agents are experienced and knowledgeable, they may also be languid or sluggish. An agent that is driven to work hard and go above and beyond for you is what you desire.

The easiest approach to determine if an agent is diligent or lazy is to read reviews or get references from previous clients. You can tell a lot about an agent by looking at the other listings they currently have up for sale and judging them on how thorough and high-quality they are. If an agent is trying to sell your house and they are skimping on the listing, run the other way. It’s also possible to see how hard they are working by taking note of the other signs above. If they are communicating with you regularly, researching homes, talking with other agents, answering your questions, getting to know you and your family, and sending offers same day with fierce deadlines, they are working hard for you. Even if they are not a match in personality to you, they may be the best person for the job. 

They Are Impatient Or Easily Flustered

Some real estate agents can come off as harsh, haughty, impatient, or overbearing. How much you can put up with a lousy attitude depends on you. As long as the agent can complete the task successfully, their personality flaws may be overlooked. A poor attitude, however, is a red flag that the agent isn't professional or isn't really interested in assisting you but rather in making a quick buck. 

Watch out for someone that is quick to anger, or quick to get emotional – you want a realtor that is resilient and that can handle loss. You also want someone that can reach within their network and work with other agents to get the job done. 

They Lack Professionalism

Your agent should dress professionally and be on time for showings. This sets a good tone both for all parties involved. While it's understandable that even agents have bad days, a pattern of showing up late for appointments and sloppy attire is not only unprofessional but also indicative of underlying problems. While you never want to judge someone, this may be a sign that your agent is overwhelmed, lacks organization, and could be struggling with maintaining the level of responsibility required of them.

It's A Part Time Gig

While we can respect people needing a side hustle, you should avoid part-time agents. Timing is critical in the real estate market, and you don't want to miss out on a dream home because your agent doesn't get back to you in time. A full-time agent will likely have more drive and ensure that they maintain good professional relationships. A strong web of connections can help you wind deals before they are listed and mean a better team as you move through financing and inspection. These connections can save you thousands of dollars.

What To Do If Your Real Estate Agent Is Bad?

Don't be afraid to express your displeasure if you find out you've chosen a subpar realtor. Sometimes the realtor will be nice enough to release you from the contract you've agreed to. 

A great step is to contact the real estate firm and respectfully offer that you are afraid that your agent is not the right fit. Avoid personal insults and instead rely on reasonable feedback, such as “our needs are not being met” or “the communication is unreliable.” It is worthwhile to maintain this level of decency to avoid bad blood and facing repercussions for ending your contract. 

Always keep in mind that there are many excellent realtors available to assist those buying a home or selling a home and a good fit for you. Don't allow a terrible real estate transaction to discourage you from dealing with a realtor in the future.


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