Only licensed real estate agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors can officially call themselves Realtors, and the association requires members to abide by a code of ethics when handling real estate transactions. However, a bad Realtor isn’t necessarily unethical. A Realtor can be bad simply by not putting much effort into promoting a home you want to sell, or finding the type of home you want to buy.
You probably have a bad Realtor if you don’t hear from him for several weeks. A Realtor who doesn't keep in touch with you isn't paying enough attention to your concerns. Your Realtor should be suggesting what to do if your home is for sale and buyers aren't showing interest. If you want to buy a home, a Realtor should be searching for properties you might like and scheduling times for you to see those properties. Your Realtor also should return your calls in a timely manner.
Lack of Guidance
A bad Realtor offers clients little, or no, guidance. A Realtor should provide expert advice based on research and knowledge of the local real estate market. For example, expect a Realtor to suggest a listing price for your home that's based on recent sales of homes in your area that are similar to yours. Avoid a Realtor who's willing to price your property solely based on what you and a co-owner think it's worth. Homeowners sometimes have unrealistic expectations concerning the value of their home due to sentimental ties and the desire to sell for a high price.
Realtors usually have connections with home inspectors and other professionals in their industry. However, beware of an agent who insists you only work with a particular company. In such cases, the Realtor may only be focusing on receiving a referral fee instead of providing good service for you. In any case, expect a Realtor to use several tactics to get you a deal when you're buying or selling a home. A good agent, for example, will include clear photos and a detailed description of your home with a property listing to attract buyers.
Does the Realtor listen to you? If not, look for one who does. Your Realtor should show a sincere interest in your housing needs and listen to how you want to fulfill those needs. For instance, a Realtor should ask about a couple's home-buying budget and seek to stay within that budget. A good Realtor will have suggestions on reworking your plans if your expectations and budget don’t fit the housing market where you intend to buy or sell a home.
Frances Burks has more than 15 years experience in writing positions, including work as a news analyst for executive briefings and as an Associated Press journalist. Burks has banking and business development experience, and she has written numerous articles on consumer issues and home improvement. Burks holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Michigan.