How do you know your agent is doing the right thing, giving you the best advice, and has your best intentions at heart? You don't.
Good thing we're here to help with 10 things realtors don’t want you to know:
1. Your home isn’t worth as much as you think
While some realtors would readily refuse an overpriced listing – simply because it’s more than the market can bear – others aren’t so choosy and will let the property sit on the market for too long.
Lesson: First, don’t have unrealistic expectations. Second, don’t trust a realtor that encourages an unrealistic price (ie. way above market value).
2. That they haven't sold anything in a while
Realtors who have suffered the blow of the collapse of the housing market might not tell you that they haven’t been making many sales for the past few years, which means they’re just desperate to get you as a client and the commission you’ll provide them. This also means that they might not be too focused on getting you the best deal, but instead focused on getting a sale on the board.
Tip: Look into the realtors history or even politely ask him or her about their last sale.
3. Their commission isn’t set in stone
The standard for a full-service listing is a 6% fee – split 50/50 between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s.
Yes, the commission is always negotiable but haggling for the realtor’s pay might affect how much they are willing to work for you so tread lightly.
4. Anything about the neighborhood that might discourage you from buying
A good realtor shouldn't just point out all the nice things that are in plain sight (ie. supermarkets, schools, parks) but everything else beneath the surface – the good, the bad, and everything in between.
Key issues such as the noise factor, safety concerns, dismal views on particular season of the year, and even the number of foreclosures in the area – these are just some of the things a good realtor should also point out and a bad agent might conceal.
5. Another agent can make you more money
Dishonest realtors overprice a home but let it sit on the market for too long. On the other hand, they may undercut the price to make a quick sale and run off with the commission right away.
A good realtor has the seller’s best interest at heart. They do not only ensure the property’s correct price listing but also provide a detailed marketing plan to assure the seller that the property will be sold to their advantage.
Another good thing they can do is going out of their way to ensure the seller pays a lower transfer tax while the buyer pays for a lower property tax. This can happen when, for example, some appliances, furniture or other personal property are removed from the home’s total price.
6. They're using your house to sell myself
Ask your realtor first how long their recent listing stayed on the market before closing the deal, and compare that to the history of the neighborhood. You can also request information about the number of other sellers they currently represent.
This will give you an idea whether they are really keen on helping you get a great deal for your property or simply using you to generate business for themselves.
7. They can’t always win a bidding war
A good realtor is someone who has been around the block and is not afraid to go to battle head on. Multiple offers aren’t the issue but the quality of the offer is. If a realtor isn’t a skilled negotiator, it won’t improve the odds of your property being sold for the price you will be happy about.
8. You might never get the chance to buy your dream house
Realtors who lack real concern for buyers intentionally keep their ‘dream houses’ off of the MLS (multiple listing service). But it is a no-win situation for both parties. The best thing to do is try to sell the house in the shortest possible time for the highest value it can get.
9. Young buyers don’t want your old house
Most buyers today prefer homes in a generally nice and safe neighborhood with great facilities and modern amenities.
But even if your home doesn’t live up to that particular expectation, a good realtor will advise you to make relatively affordable touch-ups and quick renovations so it can be priced well and sold within a reasonable timeline.
10. They'd like to dump you as a client
If you treat your realtor as your BFF/therapist who you think should be on call 24/7, you’ll be in danger of being dumped as a client. Not unless you offer more than the standard commission you have agreed in the first place.
Be clear about the boundaries and standards set by your realtor and if these also work to your advantage, stick to it. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself being passed on from one realtor to another.