Does your skin get itchy when you talk to an agent? Do they keep showing you houses you’d never be interested in? Trust those instincts and watch out for these telltale signs you’re working with the wrong person.

They make a bad first impression

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“When it comes to real estate agents, the first impression is always telling,” . “If an agent doesn’t pick up the phone the first time you call them, that’s an automatic thumbs down. They’ve already shown themselves to be unreliable, and in an often time-sensitive situation like buying a house, you need them to be there when you need them most” explains Adham Sbeih, the CEO of Socotra Capital, a California-based real estate firm

They don’t get to know you

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Your agent doesn’t need to know your favorite sushi dish, but they should have a general idea of who you are and what your interests are in regards to home buying. For example, you want a safe home near schools or you want to be in an up and coming neighborhood rich with city life. “An agent should be wholeheartedly invested in their client’s buying or selling experience,” shares Dawn Perry, Sr. Vice President of Marketing for ERA Real Estat. “Any agent who doesn’t want to know more about you and your general interests may not be your best bet”, shares Dawn Perry, Sr. Vice President of Marketing for ERA Real Estate

They don’t listen to your needs and wants

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“I would say in the most basic sense that you know you’re working with the wrong realtor when their focus of conversation with a client is not based on the client’s wants and needs but is focused more on the agent’s resumé or a specific home,” It is a good idea to make a list of your non-negotiable wants and needs in a home to keep you and your agent focused says Michael Watson, an Antelope Valley, California-based realtor

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They don’t think outside the box

Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of Beautiful New House.
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A little creativity is required from a real estate agent. “Whether you’re a buyer or seller, there’s a huge advantage to thinking outside of the box,” says Ed Reynolds of Denver-based Atlas Real Estate Group. “Understanding when to reduce a purchase price or waive contingencies as a buyer is crucial to getting your offer accepted.“

They don’t have experience in your price range

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If you’re looking to purchase a $2 million dollar house, don’t work with an agent that primarily sells $200,000 condos,” warns Denver real estate broker Ed Reynolds. “The agent needs to be experienced at buying and selling homes in your price range.” Reynolds explains that one way to do that is to tell the agent, “I am looking for a $500,000 home, how many houses in that price point did you buy or sell this year?”

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They aren’t responsive

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Does your agent keep missing your call? It could be time to move on. “One of the most important characteristics of a great real estate agent is someone that is very responsive by phone, text, or email,” says real estate marketer, Jennifer Poston. “In hot markets, great houses go quickly and when something comes up that you want to see, you need someone that is going to be near their phone to make the appointment or has a showing assistant that can help you when they are not available.”

They aren’t proactive

Building Inspector Looking At New Property
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Even if this isn’t your first home purchase or sale, your agent should be proactive in keeping you on course. “A good agent will be sure you don’t miss out on opportunities due to lack of preparation,” says New York City real estate broker Brenda Di Bari. She also believes that agents should be diligent in making sure your financing is pre-approved and that you have a home inspector lined up.

Don’t choose family or friends

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“The biggest mistake people make is going with a realtor who is a friend or relative,” says Sissy Lappin, a real estate agent and founder of Listing Door, a tool that helps individuals sell their home. “Your home is a big investment, it should not be a training program for your cousin who was laid off from their job and started a new career.” Even if your friend or family member is an experienced agent, you might feel more comfortable bossing around someone you don’t know on a personal level.

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They can’t answer your questions

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“Bad agents seem to never be able to answer your questions,” shares agent and investor, Tony Idem Jr., from Sell Your DFW House Quickly. Signs of an unknowledgeable agent are that he or she deflects questions, says they will get back to you, or make up an answer. “Look for a consistent pattern of not having answers or not getting the answers they’ve promised you,” Idem continues. “If it persists, that agent has to go.

They don’t add valuable perspective

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“You know you need a new real estate agent when the current one doesn’t expand your perspective,” shares Jeff Miller, a Maryland-based real estate agent and owner of AE Home Group. Miller says that the purpose of an agent is to add value and a fresh perspective for a client. “Using their experience, these agents should be advising buyers on how they can modify the home to meet all their needs. It’s the realtor’s job to make sure that the buyer doesn’t overlook a home when the negative drawback is easily overcome with a creative idea.”

They don’t know the area

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“A good real estate agent is well-versed on the positive attributes of the homes they list and the neighborhoods they serve,” says Citi Habitats’ President, Gary Malin. “An agent should be able to talk to potential buyers about the best nearby shops, restaurants, and grocery stores.” If the agent lives and resides in the community, even better. There are many experts in real estate, but an expert in your specific area will help you obtain your dream home.

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They want you to overpay

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It’s no secret that agents make a decent commission on the sale of a home. An agent should not be motivated by the size of the commission, but instead what is best for their client. “If your agent is pushing you to spend more than you’re comfortable with, find a new agent,” advises Phoenix-based realtor, Jen Nelson.

They don’t know how to sell your type of home

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There are so many different home types, and all can vary drastically, from a listing style to a targeted buyer. “Certain types of sales require specific and nuanced skills,” explains Earl White, the co-founder of House Heroes, a home buying service in Florida. “Luxury property requires advanced video and staging.


By Ashley Eneriz, Readers Digest 

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