I've been shopping for a real estate agent lately and the process has been rather discouraging. Ideally, I want to find an agent who offers a rebate, meaning that they pass on some of their commission to the buyer (me) in exchange for having to do less work (I look at listings online and tell them what houses I want to see).
I initially emailed about ten agents who offered a 20% commission - not amazing because I understand that it is possible to get as much as 50%, but these were people whose names and profiles I could find easily online. I sent each of them emails saying that I was interested in short sales and foreclosures and that I had a limited budget (hence the interest in short sales and foreclosures).
Of the ten agents I originally contacted, about seven responded with response times ranging from a couple of hours to three days. Five of them sent thoughtful responses which gave me some very helpful information. I replied to two of those agents and then heard . . . nothing. Meanwhile, I missed a weekend of touring houses and they missed out on getting a new client because the number one quality I listed that I wanted in an agent is responsiveness. So it's back to the drawing board.
Two more bad agent experiences of note: one day while out driving around, I noticed that one of the homes I was most interested was open. It was a Saturday and there was no open house sign, but there was a flag out front and there were several people inside. I walked up and was greeted by an agent who asked if I had an agent. I said no and he then refused to let me enter! Wouldn't any good agent use this as an opportunity to introduce himself and try to get my business? Instead he told me to call the listing agent, which is about the worst way I can think of to see a home since the listing agent has zero interest in looking out for the buyer's best interests.
Then, I went to the website of another agent, which was listed on a for sale sign. I registered as "Jane Doe" because I always do that until I want to make a commitment to working with someone. It turned out that his site offered the same MLS info that you can find on any other popular real estate website so it didn't serve me any purpose. But he actually had the gall to email me to say "please don't use my website." So that guy won't be getting my business, either, and I will feel really hesitant to purchase any home that he is the listing agent on since he is apparently has such a chip on his shoulder.
I'm not sure what the story is with these unresponsive and even rude agents who apparently have no interest in getting new business. If several thousand potential dollars walked through my door or my inbox, I would do everything I could within reason to close the deal!
Currently, my backup plan is to go with an agent who is a friend of the family. I haven't met him and he doesn't offer a commission rebate, but he's helped my family complete two transactions successfully. My only hesitation about going this route is that what worked for someone else won't necessarily suit my needs and the commission rebate would be awfully helpful since I will most likely be purchasing a fixer upper that will require things like new flooring, central air conditioning, and more.
Photo by Svadilfari
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