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Buying a home can seem like a daunting process; from researching neighborhoods and communities to drawing up contracts, to negotiations and financing. Many buyers choose to hire a real estate agent to help them through the process. Deciding on whom to trust with your money and your future home is no small task. It can feel overwhelming trying to find the right realtor for you. In some cases, you’ll hit the jackpot and find an agent who is friendly, knowledgeable, competent and professional. And sometimes you won’t. If your real estate agent isn’t cutting it, it’s time to cut them loose. It’s important to remember that real estate agents are people too, and they’re bound to have an off day or make a mistake. But if you notice any of these red flags, it might be time to find someone else to represent you.

Poor Communication Skills

Being a real estate agent is the perfect job for a “people-person.” It involves excellent listening skills and the ability to communicate effectively. Real estate is a quick moving business. Things are changing all the time. Your agent should respond to calls or emails promptly (within 12-24 hours.) Buying a home is a process that involves a lot of time and money, and if you and your agent can’t communicate efficiently, it could end up costing you more of both. These days, most agents have instant access to their emails and messages on their phones. It’s not unrealistic to expect some response to your question within 1-2 hours.

A good way to avoid this problem is stating your expectations up front. Find out your agent’s preferred method of communication and make yours known as well. Specifically lay out what your communication expectations are. It’s time to give your agent the boot if poor communication becomes a habit.

They’re Not Giving You What You Want

Maybe you’ve explicitly told your agent you need a pet-friendly apartment and they keep showing you residences that aren’t. Perhaps you’ve made it clear that your growing family needs five bedrooms and everything he/she has been showing you has three. Real estate agents know that buying a home means compromise. They know that sometimes your dream home doesn’t have all of the things you think it needs. But there are also deal breakers in every circumstance.

An agent who is oblivious to or ignoring your requirements may not be a good match. Make sure your requirements for a home are realistic. Real estate agents’ aren’t miracle workers. In a situation where your agent still can’t present you with acceptable options, it could be another sign that your agent isn’t a good fit.

They Don’t Know The Market

The whole reason you hired an agent is that you want to work with someone who knows more about the market than you do. If your questions seem to overwhelm them, or they’re always giving you the wrong information, they may not be of much help. These questions should be easy for an agent to answer:

  • How long have you been a buyer’s agent for?
  • Do you practice buyer’s agency full time or part-time?
  • How many homes have you bought or sold in this area?
  • What it your strategy to meet my needs?
  • If I choose to work with your lender, how would you two work together?
  • How many clients are you representing right now?
  • What certification or secondary education have you completed?
  • What can you tell me about this neighborhood?

And not, they may not have the expertise or experience needed to find the deal you’re looking for.

You Just Don’t Get Along

Sometimes you just won’t click with the agent you’ve chosen to represent you. Whether you have conflicting communication styles or you just can’ t ever seem to agree. Butting heads is a major reason why buyers say ‘bye-bye” to their agent. Maybe your agent is too laid back, or you feel that he/she is easily distracted. Maybe he/she lacks a character trait that is important to you. You’re putting a lot of time and money into this person to help you find a home. It’s too much time and money to work with someone you can’t stand. If it doesn’t feel like a good match, it’s okay to cut ties and find someone else who you think fits your personality better.

How To Say Goodbye

It’s important to remember though, that firing your agent involves detailed steps. You can’t just tell them to get lost and find someone you like better. Firing an agent is not like firing an employee. Once you’ve already signed a contract, breaking up with your agent can be quite a task. Some contracts include termination fees that you’ll be responsible for paying if you end the contract.

If you can’t legally get out of it, you’ll have to find a way to part ways with your agent on amicable terms. Otherwise, you’ll have to stick with your realtor and try not to rack up any more costs associated with the listing.

When you are getting close to the end of your contract, you could let the contract expire at which point you’d be free to hire someone else. Additionally, some buyer’s agents do not bind you to a contract, in such a case you are free to walk away at any time.

The Take-Away

Your realtor should make your home buying experience as stress-free as possible. They should make you feel informed about each step of the way. They should make you feel confident in their ability to find you the house you’re looking for. You’re the buyer, you’re the customer, and you’re in charge. If your agent is consistently making any of these warning signs a habit, it may be time to part ways.

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