5 Warning Signs of a Bad Realtor

Michael Schroeder
Updated December 21, 2015
green siding house
Trusting your gut can go a long way when determining whether or not your Realtor is doing a good job. (Photo by Matt Cowan)

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Buying a home presents plenty of challenges. Before looking at houses, find a trusted lender to pre-approve you for a loan and carefully select a real estate agent who prioritizes your interests.

Watch out for these red flags when hiring:

1. Trust your first impression

If an agent fails to show up on time for an appointment (without any notice), or sounds overwhelmed when you first call, imagine how they might manage negotiations with your home on the line. If they act flustered, rude, or out of sorts, look for a better fit.

Real estate agents who only send you their listings or their companies listings are looking to sell in-house for a bigger commission rather than earnestly trying to find you the right house. Good agents ask questions to get a better sense of your needs, rather than pushing the houses they want to sell.

3. Beware of slow response

Communication is the top complaint clients have with their agents, according to highly rated Realtors. Though it’s not always possible for an agent to respond to an inquiry in an hour, he or she should get back to you within 24 hours. If not, it’s probably time to move on.

4. Avoid inexperienced or part-time agents

Experts advise against hiring an agent who only works part time or one who offers a limited selection of homes from which to choose. Also, beware of hiring friends and family who have limited experience. Be polite, but insist on hiring a professional who works full time.

5. Insist on first-rate representation

Would-be homebuyers who find themselves under contract with a low-performing agent may feel stuck. But if you’re unhappy with an agent’s service, ask to part ways. Reputable Realtors won’t want to continue a sour relationship. If that fails, consider talking to an attorney familiar with local real estate laws to advise whether you can cancel your contract.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on February 1, 2014.

Have you had a bad experience with a Realtor? Tell us about it in the Comments section below.

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