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In Canada, the majority of real estate transactions are represented by real estate agents. This indicates that most homebuyers and sellers prefer to have a real estate professional assist them with a home sale or purchase. This is no surprise since buying or selling a house can be a very complicated process.
There is no legal requirement for anyone in a real estate transaction to hire a real estate agent. Majority of consumers, however, prefer to do so. Research shows that homes sold through a real estate agent garner a bigger profit for the sellers, more than enough to compensate for the commission paid. Based on data from the 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) selling price of $185,000 can be sold for as much as $245,000 by a professional realtor.
In addition, selling a house involves a gamut of tasks including home visits, screening potential buyers, entertaining inquiries, home inspections, negotiating, and closing the sale. In between these tasks, various challenges can arise which could require a lot of time and attention.
It really cannot be emphasized enough; a real estate agent can make your life easier as a home seller or buyer!
But a word of caution: some real estate transactions do go sour. It can be for any number of reasons but a highly possible reason can be that the deal was not handled by a good real estate agent.
How do you avoid bad real estate agents and ensure the success of your home deal? Read on and learn about the 7 tell-tale signs that you are working with a bad agent.
Many sellers don’t realize until it is too late that they are dealing with a bad real estate agent to sell their house.
During the process, little signs may appear now and then and nag at you. But you are now locked in a contract with the agent, and you don’t know what to do.
How do you know you have made a mistake?
#1: The selling price is too much or below the average price.
The most common reason that a home fails to sell is the price. It could be too high (and this drives away potential buyers fast) or it is too low. You may think a low price is attractive, but it also puts up a red flag because people start thinking there is something wrong with the property. Either way, having the wrong price can cause your home to languish in the market.
Experienced and qualified real estate agents understand that the price of a home is incredibly important from the start. Even the best marketing strategies can’t sell an over-priced house. There is probably no need to explain what under-pricing does as it obviously isn’t in the best interest of the seller.
There are some real estate agents who will jack up the price and extol the merits of your property just so they can get the listing. Such agents don’t have their client’s best interests at heart and give real estate agents a bad rep.
It is fairly common for home sellers to trust their agent to tell them the best-selling price for their property. Sometimes, other sellers also pressure a real estate agent to overprice their house because they believe their home is worth so much more.
The best real estate agent knows the market and will tell you the fair market price based on the most recent sales data of similar homes in your area. You can try talking to other agents to see if your home is priced correctly.
# 2: Your agent is not savvy with internet marketing.
Let’s face it. Nowadays, people looking for homes to buy start with an internet search.
Any good agent would know how to maximize your property’s visibility to buyers by using proven online platforms. They won’t just list your property in the MLS and start waiting for the phone to ring.
A great real estate agent who is worth his salt will go all out in marketing your property. When choosing an agent, make sure to ask him how he plans to market your home. If he isn’t engaging in internet marketing, you are clearly with the wrong agent.
#3: Your agent has no plan whatsoever.
When you have your monthly coffee with your real estate agent, does he ever talk about his way of differentiating himself?
If his marketing plan is to wait it out, good luck!
Most metropolitan areas have hot markets. How can he make your property interesting and unique?
The idea is to keep trying even when there is no response whatsoever. If your realtor distributes pictures one month, then tries staging your home the next, he is being dynamic. If he waits for the buyers to call him while doing absolutely nothing, well, be prepared for a very long wait.
# 4: Your agent is not using professional-looking photos.
What’s wrong if your real estate agent took snapshots of your house with his smartphone?
Excellent photos are critical when selling a house because they make your property stand out. Photos generate interest among buyers, or the lack of it since photos create the first impression of your house.
Good real estate agents use professional photographers to create high-quality photography to show off your home.
#5: Your agent wants to be a dual agent.
So what’s a dual agent? He wants to represent you, the seller, and be the one to represent the buyer.
This means he gets both commissions.
It isn’t hard to see that there is a conflict of interest here. He may tell you he can save you a lot of money on commission by representing both parties but in the end, he can’t possibly work for your best interest. This type of arrangement does not really benefit a buyer or a seller, only the agent.
Think about it. The goal of your real estate agent is to bring to the table the highest possible offer on your house. This means being open to all other agents out there who has a buyer willing to pay the best price.
If your agent tells you he wants to be a dual agent, you hired a shark.
#6: Your agent’s main marketing effort is open houses.
Holding open houses is a conventional practice among real estate agents for decades but over the years, it has become less and less effective.
When you see people coming to view the house, it seems like it is working. The truth is that most people who come to open houses are random. They come out of curiosity, or to do research, or to meet potential clients for their own businesses. In other words, it doesn’t work for you but for everybody else.
The real estate agent benefits largely from these open houses because he passes out his business card to future customers.
If your agent is busy holding open houses, it’s time to reconsider your options.
#7: Your agent isn’t listening or communicating with you.
Poor communication between you and your agent is a major problem. Throughout the process of selling your house, a good and open communication between the seller and his agent is critical. A good agent understands your anxiety and interest in being updated on the status of the project.
Thus, he will exert effort to inform you of the progress, tell you about any problems and how he is handling the situation, and listen and answer your questions candidly.
If your real estate agent is hard to get hold of, fails to report to you on a regular basis, or doesn’t take your concerns seriously, there are not but’s about it. You can do much better with another real estate agent.
If you have come to realize that you hired a bad agent, it isn’t the end of the world.
Sometimes, you can’t believe the extent of the tricks some realtors will use to sell a home.
It is important to determine your next step so that the sale of your house is not further derailed.
Unfortunately, getting rid of a bad real estate agent may not be as easy as it seems. In principle, a client may cancel or revoke a real estate agreement at any time, “subject to the declarations and conditions” stipulated in the contract.
Here is what you must do to resolve the situation.
Your contract will have a clause regarding the terms under which you can cancel your contract.
A property listing is generally for 3 to 6 months. If it is already almost the end of the contract, you can simply find a better agent and move on. The cancellation must be done professionally and in writing (there is a standard form that you can use.)
A real estate agent would also have a broker who owns the listing. You must contact the broker to inform him of your decision to cancel the agreement. You are free to withdraw the listing at any time (nobody can force you to sell your house) but you cannot re-list your property with another broker if the term has not expired. This means you can’t try to sell it with another broker until the expiry date.
Further, an agency or brokerage could claim remuneration, under the Real Estate Brokerage Act, if the property is sold or exchanged within 180 days following the termination of the agreement. This is called the hold-over period, such as when the original agent has introduced a previous buyer before you fired him and this buyer re-surfaces and eventually buys the house. It can get messy and may even result in legal proceedings.
The agent may balk at canceling the agreement because he doesn’t want to lose a potential commission. On the other hand, his broker may be more amenable and listen to your grievances. The broker is concerned about the agency’s reputation and would be willing to resolve the situation, even recommend changing your real estate agent. If this is fine with you, the brokerage can keep the listing and you can work with another agent.
If all else fails, you may have to wait for the expiration of the contract before starting work with another real estate agent.
After reading this article, you would now better understand the importance of choosing the best real estate agent from the very start. Having an experienced and reliable agent ensures that your property gets the highest potential for selling fast and for the right price.
How do you go about finding the best real estate agent?
Many people rely on referrals from friends or relatives. While there is nothing wrong with this, doing so really limits your options.
It is important to be able to compare and choose the best real estate agent in your area, using solid criteria.
Ask yourself these questions when interviewing real estate agents to avoid problems and ensure the success of your home sale.
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