If Your Real Estate Agent Does These Things, Run the Other Way

A young man and woman speaking with their realtor who's holding a tablet in an open house.

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If you want to buy a home, there's little to lose by working with a real estate agent. While sellers commonly pay real estate agents a commission for orchestrating sales, buyers usually don't pay a fee to work with an agent. It's possible to search for listings yourself, but sometimes, real estate agents are privy to new listings sooner. In today's housing market, with inventory so limited, that could be a major plus.

But if you want to work with a real estate agent to find a home, it's important to choose the right professional. And if your agent does any of these things, it's time to walk away.

1. Shows you homes that don't meet your basic requirements

Given that housing inventory is so low these days, it may be hard to find a home that offers every item on your wish list. But if your real estate agent takes you to see homes that don't meet even your basic needs, it means that person is doing a poor job of listening. And you deserve better.

Say you have several children, so you need a minimum of four bedrooms in any home you buy. If your real estate agent keeps showing you three-bedroom homes, that could be a deal breaker. Similarly, if you want to live on a quiet street, your agent shouldn't be taking you to see homes on a main road. If that's the case, you should probably work with someone else.

2. Completely ignores your budget

Taking on too high a mortgage payment could mean struggling financially, or even losing your home. So if your real estate agent keeps suggesting homes that are way above the top end of your price range, it's time to end that relationship.

Not only might buying too expensive a home wreck your budget, you may not even qualify for the mortgage you need to finance it. Any real estate agent who doesn't realize or care about these things is someone you shouldn't work with.

3. Dismisses your concerns

Some homes are in better shape than others. But if your agent ignores your concerns every time you see a home that's older or more run down, you may have signed up with the wrong professional.

If you visit a home where the floors are clearly uneven or there are water stains on the ceilings and walls, those should serve as major red flags that there are big problems with the property. If your agent tries to sweep them under the rug to make a sale, walk away -- quickly.

When you sell a home, you typically enter into a contract with a real estate agent. But on the buyer's side, there's generally no contract, so you can cut ties with your agent at any time. If you're unhappy with the service you're getting from your agent, you may want to talk through your concerns before walking away. But if your agent fails to remedy those concerns, then you shouldn't hesitate to find an agent who will make buying a home more efficient and less stressful.

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