3 Reasons to Fire Your Real-Estate Agent Right Now

She (or he) came highly recommended. She answered all your questions correctly. You thought she had the experience, professionalism, and integrity to make your dreams come true.

Now you're second guessing the decision to hire this real-estate agent. Here's how to know that now is the time to fire her.

1. Failure to communicate
You hired this real-estate agent to guide you through the process. She was supposed to not just understand the market but also help YOU understand it. 

If you're buying, she was supposed to point you to houses that you will love. If you're selling, she was supposed to bring in a steady stream of prospective buyers. 

But if after a week or two there are no calls, no emails, no potential homes or sellers, it's probably time to fire your agent. A good agent will keep you up to date on progress. She will help manage your fears and anxiety. She will present you with options.

There are several ways to evaluate communication, all of which are critical. Is the agent being proactive? Is she keeping you in the loop? Does she follow up with you promptly when you have a question? Does she answer the phone consistently or is phone-tag the norm?

So, is it time for a new agent? Ask yourself these questions and you'll know the answer intuitively.

2. A lack of hustle
Real-estate agents are salespeople, and any good salesperson must stay on the hustle.

She took pictures of your home for the company website, but are those pictures portraying your home in the most favorable light? Has she failed to schedule an open house and is instead relying on other agents to market your house to their clients?

When you first described your dream home to the agent, did she get back to you quickly with potential homes? Is she finding good fits as soon as they come on the market? Are you finding homes on the Internet faster than your agent? Is the agent making suggestions to you based on your priorities or is she simply showing you any home that is on the market?

All these signs point to an agent who isn't putting your priorities first, epitomized by a lack of hustle to make you happy. You're the boss. If your agent isn't hustling for you, it's time for her to go.

3. Putting their own interests in front of yours
Real-estate agents only get paid when a house sells, but that doesn't mean they should force you into a purchase or sale that isn't in your best interest. 

If you're buying, the agent should not be showing you homes outside of your financial comfort zone. Despite what you may see on TV, it's not wise to buy above your budget. Agents know this, but they may also put the size of their own commission checks above the long-term financial fitness of your family.

If you're selling and an agent is pressuring you to lower your price or accept a low-ball offer, don't ignore the market data. Most states have laws that require agents to disclose any conflicts of interest, but it's worth digging into the details on your own if something doesn't feel right. If you've done your market research and the home should be worth $200,000, then there is no excuse for an agent recommending accepting a $150,000 offer. 

Real-estate agents are salespeople, but they also have a legal responsibility to provide you with advice in your best interests. If your agent isn't putting you first, it's time to find a new agent.

Hire slow and fire fast
Communication is a skill. For many people it is a learned behavior as much as it is naturally occurring. Taking a step back from the behavior, we can easily isolate the most important trait in your agent: integrity.

Hire an agent with high integrity and communication will take care of itself generally. The ideal agent works hard and with honesty, with no hidden agenda, and with your interests first.

If you hire correctly the first time, then hats off to you. If you didn't, don't worry. You can always try again. An old business management mantra holds true in this case as well: "Hire slow but fire fast."

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Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (8)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2013, at 12:11 AM, carglass wrote:

    Very true but clients also needs to understand that we don't get paid unless they are ready to act, its our job and we can pick up on serious buyers and those just looking.

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2013, at 1:53 AM, AAABBB wrote:

    If you don't establish a dialogue with any person you hire you shouldn't be buying anything much less a home.

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2013, at 2:24 AM, ticleve2 wrote:

    All of this information is helpful but I have a huge problem with giving any real estate agent 6% of the equity in my property.

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2013, at 2:30 AM, dunce1239 wrote:

    i listed a property that had my home and three rentals, but did not read the contract because 6% was the standard commission or so i thought. Later i read the contract and found the commission was 10 %. I went back to the realtor and told him to cancel the deal. He refused so i told him 10 % of nothing was zero, but he forced me to wait the 90 days that was in the contract. This was no problem for me but it sure could be for some people.

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2013, at 11:05 AM, jonbowen6 wrote:

    I'm a real estate broker. I agree with the sentiments of this article.

  • Report this Comment On December 30, 2013, at 3:19 PM, WeRunQuietly wrote:

    Real Estate agents work hard to get you to list and then it is to their advantage to use your property to help sell other units -- they are almost two-faced. The way around this is to have them list for a short time -- certainly no more than 3 months, and possibly less. They don't like that -- too bad for them, you make them work for you by having a short time to sell. As for the 6% they want, tell them 3% or good bye. The 6% is to get 3% when someone else sells your house for them. X%$ that. They want their money -- tell them to sell for the 3%. They get full commission, if they work for you.

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