When working with a real estate agent it’s important that you are proactive about it. If you love your agent and you think that he/she is doing a great job then this post is not for you. However, if you feel let down by your real estate agent then there are things you can do about it.
First, speak up!
Say what’s on your mind. If you don’t like the marketing approach the agent is taking or if you don’t like the lack of communication, then say so. If you have questions about staging or financing or anything about the process, then ask.
All too often I hear from home buyers and sellers that their previous agent didn’t tell them this or that, or their previous agent wouldn’t keep them informed, or didn’t help them prepare their home for sale or, or, or……… My first question to them is why didn’t they SAY something about it and if they did and they still didn’t get the response they needed then why didn’t they DO something about it.
The relationship between a real estate agent and a client is just that, a relationship. It’s not like going to the grocery store and doing your weekly shopping, it’s not even like going to a car dealership and buying a car.
The relationship involves time, lots of time and communication, lots of communication.
There’s so much more to a real estate agents job than plopping a sign in the front yard, sticking a few pictures on the MLS and putting a lock box on the door when representing a seller. Equally, there’s so much more to a real estate agents job than emailing a few properties, standing at the front door while showing houses or providing a list of lenders when representing buyers.
Your real estate agent needs to be involved and you do too.
Time needs to be spent working together and communication is key to that.
Secondly, Get it in writing!
Before hiring a real estate agent to work with you when buying or selling a home make sure you get a guarantee of service from that agent IN WRITING.
This guarantee should list the methods of communication, whether it be by phone, text, email or in person.
The frequency of communication whether it be weekly, after showings, day after viewing properties, immediately after conversations with lenders, inspectors, other agents etc.
The response time of the agent whether it be within in an hour, within 24 hours, weekly or whenever the agent feels like it.
What the backup plan is should the agent become unavailable. I’ve attended listing appointments, closings or showed properties that can take two or more hours. I’ve had medical emergencies, lost or stolen phone emergencies, power outages, any of which can result in either the client can’t reach me or I can’t reach the client. The agent should have a backup plan whether it be another form of communication or the contact information for another agent or broker in their office.
Having these guarantees in writing means that you have a level of expectation that matches the level of performance the agent says they will provide.
A good real estate agent will also want guarantees from you the home buyer or seller.
If selling your home, your real estate agent will want a guarantee from you that you will inform them immediately of all material changes in your property, that is, a fire, structural damage, burglary, vacating your property, moving back into your property etc.
Your real estate agent will also want a guarantee from you that you will maintain the home, that is, keep up with yard maintenance, staging, cleanliness and accessibility.
If buying a home, your real estate agent will want a guarantee from you that you will provide all required documentation to your lender in a timely manner, you will keep to scheduled showing appointments, you will immediately let your agent know if there are any significant changes to your current situation, such as job loss, relocation, any financial issues.
Only when both parties in the agency relationship work and communicate with each other can the relationship be successful.
If either party fails to keep up with their written guarantees without any true cause then the relationship should be terminated.
Once these guarantees are in writing and the level of communication, service and requirements are understood by both parties then should either party fail to perform as guaranteed then the relationship should end.
The relationship between real estate agents and clients is a two way street and both sides need to walk it.
Keeping communication lines open, can create a very enjoyable and satisfactory real estate transaction. It can also on many occasions lead to long term friendships………..Many of the friends I have now, started out as clients.
Jody Keating, REALTOR, Broker