We recently closed a couple of transactions beyond the point of frustration – not because the buyer or seller was bad, but because the agent on the other side was so awful!  No matter how many times we have this conversation with potential clients, we can’t stress enough how choosing an agent is one of the most critical pieces to every successful Real Estate transaction!  (By the way, the photos here are actual Real Estate Agent head shots.  I think many of them speak for themselves!)

If your mother insists you use Uncle Fred (who somehow managed to get his license this week despite needing “R” and “L” on each of his shoes) because she feels “obligated”, do not do it!   You may have to skip the next family reunion but it’s less uncomfortable than going to Uncle Fred’s funeral when he fucks up your deal!

For most of us, buying a home is an emotional experience – selling is usually financial.  It’s really that simple.  It’s imperative you understand your agent is your advocate; your partner and they should be yours and yours alone – somebody who has your back every step of the way!  (This also happens to be the reason, I’ve not fan of agents representing both buyer and  seller in the same transaction.   Seriously, how can they be totally impartial?)

Agents make or break every deal and trust me; the latter happens more often than you’d think!  Doing a little work up front, though, will save headaches and heartaches later.   Our recent nightmares were with an agent who’s first sale was a lovely houseboat to Noah and the other (without going into great detail) an agent who’s greed cost her buyer tens of thousands not to mention an assistant who could have easily found herself in court for dispensing legal advice.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, here are a few considerations to help find someone who just might save your hot little fanny:

1)  Does the agent work full-time or part-time?  If you’re buying a home, in a hot market, you need someone who knows about hot properties the second appear.  If you’re selling, you want someone with a finger on the pulse at all times, who networks with other top agents and who is available to show your property to prospective buyers to help get it sold.

I have nothing against newer agents – seriously, I don’t!  We’ve all been there!  My issue is with “agents” who’ve been around a while and are still hawking men’s cologne or ladies lingerie at Marshall’s.  My guess is they might not be your best advocate!  Don’t be a dummy – find someone who is fully dedicated to YOU!

 2)  Don’t choose an agent just because you know them – no matter HOW hot they are!  We happen to live in a city where  you can’t swing a cat without hitting a dozen Realtors.  (Notice, I didn’t say GOOD Realtors!)   Just because you are friends with someone doesn’t mean you should hire them to represent you – in fact, it’s often just the opposite if you want to maintain a friendship.   And since agent commission is usually paid by the seller, dare to be picky!  After all, as a buyer, it’s usually costing you nothing and as a seller, it could be costing you EVERYTHING!

 3)  Work with someone who knows your market and knows how to maximize it to your benefit.  Are you in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market?  Do you know?  Does your agent know?  Like this guy, you better pray they do, because it makes a difference!

Years ago – during the economic downturn – a seller would literally give anything to make a deal happen.  You want my husband?  Take him (please!).  You want my great-great-grandmother’s piss-pot?  It’s yours!  My Bentley?  Yours!!!

Today, many areas are in a seller’s market.  “Oh, you were serious about wanting indoor plumbing?  Hmmm…let’s see if we can make that happen!  Bottom line…it matters your partner know the market and is an skilled negotiator!

4)  Don’t list your house with an agent just because they say they will list it for the most money or with someone who will take a reduced commission.   Hmmm… “Let me “mullet” over.”

The price you will eventually get when selling your home is based on what the buyers are willing to pay.  Plain and simple.  Not what you want.  Not what you need.  Not what your neighbor got.  But, what the buyers are willing to pay for your home.  This is why an agent must have their finger on the market pulse and needs to be up front with you – not just telling you what you want to hear, but what you NEED to hear.  That also need to be schooled in pricing appropriately, because overpriced homes very seldom sell! A lender will not loan more money than a home is worth and any cash buyer with any smarts at all should be wise enough to say, “Show me the comps!”

And as to reduced commissions…think about it for a second!  If an agent is that willing to easily give up their own money just to list your house, how committed do you really think they are to protecting YOUR money?   Remember, they are  to be your advocates, to be your partners and to be your professionals.

5)  There is also a reason why every brokerage carries Errors and Omissions Insurance.  In fact, many, many Real Estate court cases happen every day directly as a result of agents not knowing what they’re doing or are not up front about doing it.  (In some circles, that’s called ethics and I could tell you stories!)

So, to sum it all up, please, please, PUHLEESE take the time to find a professional and don’t simply trust what might be the biggest financial transaction you may ever make to some idiot without doing a little homework.  It can and very well may cost you thousands of dollars.  It can and very well may delay the sale and/or close of your home.  It can and very well may even land you in court.  But hey….in the end, it’s your call.


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