The other day while sitting in a closing with one of our agents, the wife of the seller asked when the title company moved in to their newly built building. Her husband, who owns a cement company, replied, “They moved in right after they didn’t use me for the concrete work.” I laughed probably harder than I should have. That response was awesome!
How nice would it be when someone says to me, “When did the Johnson’s put their house on the market?” to reply with, “Right after they didn’t ask me to list it for them.” Or “Did you hear that Mary just bought a house?” and I say, “Yeah, I heard that right after she didn’t use me as her agent.”
I’m not saying that I expect everyone to use me for their real estate needs. I realize that a lot of people know multiple Realtors. So it isn’t that someone chose someone else to work with, it’s more about who they chose to work with.
Who did these people use to help them with their biggest investment to date? And how did they choose that agent? So many times when people talk to me about real estate, they tell me about all the problems they had with their agent. Or they tell me about the issues with the transaction. Or how they feel they were misinformed about something. All I can do is shake my head.
In fact, during the course of the year, I shake my head a lot. There are top tier, middle tier, and bottom tier workers in every single profession. And when I’m talking about tiers, I’m not talking about how much money they make. I’m talking about integrity, honesty and work ethic.
We have our top tier Realtors where they are a joy to do business with. They are on top of the paperwork, deadlines, arising issues, etc. Communication is great, and above all else, you know you are being treated honestly and fairly throughout the entire transaction.
The middle tier agents are those that are honest and helpful, but probably a little unorganized, new to the business, or play rough at times when negotiating. You know that when you are entering into a transaction with the middle tier agents, things will be fine, but you will need to stay on top of things, initiate the communication, and expect that although the job will get done, it may not be smooth. Overall, the experience is fine, just not as enjoyable.
And then there is the bottom tier. The dreaded bottom tier. These are the agents that give everyone else a bad reputation. These are the agents that when your buyer says they want to see a house that is listed with this agent, you want to use every excuse in the book to not show it for fear they will, heaven forbid, want to put an offer on it.
As a consumer, how do you know if you are choosing a bottom tier agent? How do you know if you are putting your transaction at risk simply because agents can’t stand your agent? How do you know that your agent is the butt of every joke at all the local conferences?
Let me help you with that.
Ask your friends if they’ve ever heard anything about your agent. Ask the local real estate association if there are any ethic complaints on file for your agent. And then ask your neighbors, church members, school teachers, family members, colleagues, anyone you can think of who they liked as a Realtor.
And then, research.
Look online to see how the agent’s listings are presented to the world. Are there pictures? How many? Were they taken with a cell phone from the car window, or did they use an actual camera or professional photographer? Did they use a lot of pictures or just a couple? How is their description of the house?
Is it detailed? Grammatically correct? Or is it boring and hum-drum? Is there even a description to begin with? The internet is the number one source for buyers to find houses. Is your agent putting your home’s best foot forward?
If not, you may have landed yourself a bottom-tier agent. If you did, you need to end the relationship as quickly as you can. You need to rise above the bottom if you want to come out on top in real estate. Move on, and most importantly, move up.