8 Things Your Realtor Doesn’t Tell You

Image via Markus Spiske, Flickr
Image via Markus Spiske, Flickr

Choosing a Realtor based on a gut feeling or a passing referral may leave you working with an individual whose lack of transparency will cost you. Do they have the expertise to know – and share – when there is a complication? Are they trustworthy enough to always be upfront with you? Know what to look out for before you sign that agreement letter. If your Realtor won’t tell you these eight things, it might be time to look for a new one.

Here are 8 Things That Realtor Won’t Tell You:

8. “You’ll Never Find Your Dream House If You Don’t Look Past The Cosmetic.”

The truth is no house starts off perfect. Part of that perfection is making it your own. That’s why when touring open houses it’s imperative to look past the outdated wallpaper, the ugly curtains and furniture, or loud paint colors. Those pieces aren’t permanent; in fact a significant number of them will be leaving along with the current homeowners. Some agents won’t want to step on any toes by being this direct with you, but after the 20th home tour they’re definitely thinking it.

7. “The Commission Rate is Not Fixed.”

Specific commission ranges are specific to different areas of the country and also vary by agent. Sometimes discount brokerages are discounted for a reason, and on the flip side, some realtors might not be as good as their stated commission would have you believe. When you interview prospective agents you’ll get a sense of whether they’re worth their stated commission.

6. “Your House Is Overpriced.”

Some agents may be so anxious to sign you as a client that they’ll tell you anything you want to hear in order to do so – including that your house is valued at the hefty amount you think it should be (and not its actual value). In reality, overpricing your home won’t net you a larger profit. Instead it often means that your house will sit on the market for too long and will need to be reduced in price in order to attract buyers.

5. “Your Decor Is Killing The Sale.”

You’ve spent years decorating your home to your taste – each painting, window dressing, and piece of furniture. You love it. While that is all that matters when you own the home, the act of attracting a buyer should focus on that prospective individual’s tastes. It may be necessary to subtract items from your home, or utilize a few staging pieces to present your home in a neutral decor.

4. “I Know Nothing About Your Neighborhood.”

Why would you want someone who has never been to your destination to act as your tour guide? You wouldn’t do it for a trip to Paris, you certainly shouldn’t do it when it comes to buying the place where you will live every day. Cities are comprised of numerous neighborhoods and unfortunately no agent can be an expert in all of them. Typically agents have a neighborhood sweet spot. Take advantage of a realtor whose neighborhood is where you want to buy – that will ensure you get a qualified guide for your search.

3. “I’d Like To Fire You As A Client.”

At times buyers and sellers can say or do things that slow-down or even derail the sale process. Maybe you aren’t even really a serious buyer at this point but only express that to your agent after several showings. Your agent may wish they had screened you as a client just as you screened them for the job.

2. “You’re Not Bound To Work With Me.”

You may visit one home with an agent in your initial stages of house-hunting. If you’re not happy with that particular agent you’re not bound to see any more homes with them. Unless you’ve signed a buyer’s agreement, or a seller’s agreement if you’re selling your home, you’re not obligated to work with any particular realtor.

1. “I Don’t Do This Very Often.”

An inexperienced agent can be a liability on your way to the closing table. Finding out how experienced your agent truly is will help you determine if they have the expertise and contacts required to help you buy or sell – and in your particular neighborhood. An agent with the right contacts in your neighborhood can be vital; for buyers that means finding homes for you to view before they hit the MLS, and for sellers, it means the ability to find multiple qualified buyers to get your home sold for top dollar.

Author Bio: Marni Epstein-Mervis is a real estate and architecture journalist whose work has been featured in Curbed, Yahoo, Huffington Post, and ArchDaily. Marni is Editor at Agent Ace, a free service empowering homebuyers and sellers with the tools to identify real estate agents in their area with the most expertise.