How do I test the honesty of a real estate professional?

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Buying or selling a home is especially difficult when dealing with an incompetent or disloyal real estate agent. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not out to knock realtors.

I’m the first to admit that many agents are excellent and worth their weight in gold. However, most real estate agents fall into one of three categories: good, average or poor. Then, there is that worrying small percentage of agents who are downright incompetent. Every industry is inflicted with this type of person and I suspect the real estate industry has more than its fair share of incompetent agents.

The truth is; a good and a bad agent have one thing in common – their job is to be a “deal-maker.” But, be warned – some real estate agents will try all sorts of tricks to stitch up a deal. This is fine so long as they are not “stitching up” the buyer or the seller. There’s nothing wrong with enthusiasm to pull a deal together – it is to be applauded. However, a good agent needs to stay professional and ethical at all times throughout the process.

Unfortunately, most homeowners are reasonably inexperienced when it comes to buying or selling a property. They rely greatly on the “perceived” ability of the agent they are dealing with. In reality, most homeowners are “fair game” for a disloyal, dishonest, or incompetent agent!

In any negotiation, WIN – WIN deals are the best. But, sometimes when buying or selling a house, things happen to help just one party… the buyer, the seller or possibly just the real estate agent. Therein lies the danger. Who is the real estate agent really working for? Where do his or her true loyalties lie? With the seller, the buyer or themselves?

These 7 questions will help you decide who the agent is really working for. Visit any open home and test these questions out on an agent. Good or bad, the answers will show something about that agent and his or her ability and true loyalties. If the real estate agent betrays the seller, they will betray you as well. If they defend the seller, it’s likely they will defend you too. Ask the real estate agent these 7 questions:

1. How much will the seller take? You may learn the bottom price that the seller will accept.

2. How much do you think the home will sell for? You may discover that the agent has an opinion less than the asking price.

3. When does the seller need to move out? The agent may reveal an urgent deadline. This could be an advantage in negotiating a lower price.

4. Why is the homeowner selling? The agents may reveal a confidential reason for selling.

5. How long has the property been on the market? The agent may reveal if, or why, the property has been difficult to sell.

6. Who priced the property? The agent may be quick to deny any involvement and in some cases may blame the seller for being greedy.

7. What other homes are there in competition to this property? This is particularly useful information, so long as the agent gives you an honest answer. Ask the agent to show you some of these competing properties.

These questions are simple and not hard to ask. However, failing to ask these types of questions can put a buyer (or seller) at the mercy of a disloyal, dishonest, or incompetent agent. Buying or selling a home is a big investment for most people; so it is well worth the effort to select an agent you can trust and have confidence in.


Notice: This website contains general information about possible legal and financial matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal or financial advice from your attorney, accountant or other professional legal services provider. If you have any specific questions about any legal and financial matter you should consult your attorney, accountant or other professional legal services provider.