House or apartment hunting can be a fun and exciting prospect. While the qualities you want in your new space may be obvious—like a wood-burning stove, a fenced-in yard or a spacious master bedroom—qualities to look for (or more importantly, avoid) in a real estate agent may not be quite so clear.
Choosing the right real estate agent may be just as important as choosing the right place for the next chapter of your life. To help, 15 members of Forbes Real Estate Council weigh in on the number one quality to avoid in a real estate agent. If you’re scouting prospective agents for your next move, be sure to avoid these types.
Members of Forbes Real Estate Council share characteristics to avoid in real estate agents.
Photos courtesy of the individual members.
1. Too ‘Hungry’
Agents need to tell their clients the truth, even when that truth is difficult to hear. Failure to do that is not representing clients at the highest level of integrity. If they are too “hungry” that they will sell you anything, they are not looking out for the client’s needs. – Michelle Ames, HorsePower Team Texas/Independent Realty
I would avoid the agent who is always in a hurry and doesn’t have time to focus on your needs. A person who is only focused on landing the sale may not be good for a long-term relationship and creating value for the customer. It’s best to know your priorities and choose a broker who matches them. – Chander Mishra, Blue Ocean Capital LLC
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3. Overly Pushy
As real estate professionals, we are entrusted with the honor of guiding our clients through one of the most significant financial transactions of their lives. The last thing anyone needs is a real estate agent who is not acting as a fiduciary but instead bullying their clients into purchasing a property that is not a good fit just to get the commission. – Tara Hotchkis, Compass
I advise my friends and family to work with a true real estate expert. Just because they have a license or they are the sister of your best friend doesn’t mean they have the knowledge or expertise that is needed in today’s very competitive market. It’s not personal; it’s business. In our market, reputation and expertise win the offers. – Lisa Copeland, The Agentcy by Tarek El Moussa by Exp Realty, LLC
5. Poor Communication
Clear communication is the key to a smooth real estate transaction. Answering your phone and emails is 70% of the battle. – Jammie Jelks, JelksMBA
6. Inattentive To Your Needs
You want a real estate agent you trust and feel comfortable working with. While experience is always important, personal chemistry is critical to a successful and ongoing professional relationship. Avoid an agent who makes you uncomfortable or isn’t attentive to both your financial and emotional needs. If your agent isn’t meeting those needs, find new representation. – Megan Micco, Compass
7. Misaligned Values
Identify and select your agent based on what is important to you. Here are a few questions to get you started: How responsive and communicative was the agent to your inquiry? Do they have any areas of expertise? Did they demonstrate integrity and etiquette? Are they full- or part-time agents? Knowing what values are important to you will help you make your choice. – Michelle Risi, Royal LePage Connect Realty
8. Talks More Than They Listen
Agents shouldn’t talk more than they listen. The old adage, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak” is Rule No. 1 for a top-producing agent. The ability to listen acutely and ask meaningful questions is what builds trust in a relationship. When you make it about ‘you, you, you’—talking too much about yourself and your accomplishments—you turn away potential clients. – Kevin Hawkins, WAV Group, Inc.
9. Lack Of Passion
Some agents treat their business as a hobby and don’t take it with the seriousness it deserves. People looking to buy or sell a home are making a life-changing decision; they don’t have time for someone who is going to treat their transaction as a hobby. This attitude can lead to unresponsiveness, lack of knowledge and poor negotiation in the transaction. – Nick Ron, House Buyers of America
10. Treats You Like A Transaction
Brokers should not put transactions above long-term relationships. Bringing value is how one builds long-term and repeat business with their best clients. A transactional relationship makes the broker replaceable. – Elisa Zhang, EZ Real Estate
11. Follows Personal Motivations
Buying or selling is one of the most significant milestones of one’s life. That’s why it’s crucial to work with agents who place each client’s homeownership goals over personal motivations for closing the deal. Choose professionals who uphold their fiduciary duties of loyalty and care while advocating on your behalf to find the right home or produce the best sales offer. – Amit Haller, Reali
A dishonest scarlet reputation will follow you wherever you go and deservedly so. Real estate is often a large investment for purchasers and dishonesty in the process hurts buyers, the industry and yourself. Be better through education, integrity and honesty. Clients will welcome you with open arms, and I bet you’ll sleep better at night. – Charles Argianas, Argianas & Associates, Inc.
13. Part-Time Agents
Avoid part-time real estate agents. While the barrier to enter the industry is low, it is difficult to survive and thrive as an agent. It takes dedication and volume to stay on top of market trends and other changes. Everybody knows someone who knows an agent. While it’s tempting to go with them, it takes a full-time professional to properly assist in one of the biggest purchases in your life. – Ron Costa, The Eighty Two Group
14. Celebrity Status
A real estate transaction is about the customer—the buyer or seller—not about the real estate agent themselves. Be sure your agent is humble, accessible and professional. ‘Celebrity’ manifests itself not just in delusions of grandeur but in arrogance, short-temperedness, bombastic claims and similar characteristics that often hide incompetence and a lack of actual talent. – Chadwick Ciocci, Chilton & Chadwick
Today’s market is aggressive and fast-paced with a lack of homes for sale. It is mandatory for your realtor to respond quickly and communicate often. Agents who are not available to show homes regularly, answer questions and communicate poorly with other agents will not win bids. The “best” agent may not be best for you. Find an agent who will give you the attention and effort this market requires.. – Ralph DiBugnara, Home Qualified