US News and World Report lists 6 warning signs. I could list 7-20 for them but the first six should suffice in weeding out plenty of those who hurt the profession. Sign number one is also my pet peeve:
If the communication isn’t there, the relationship won’t work. So if your agent doesn’t return your phone calls in a timely fashion or disappears without warning for weeks at a time, you should probably find someone else. Some real estate agents will block out a single window of time—say, between 4 and 5 p.m.—in which to return all of their phone calls for that day, says Jay Thompson of Thompson’s Realty in Arizona. “I’ve never really understood that,” Thompson says. “That’s not necessarily good if your seller or buyer wants to talk to you at 8 o’clock in the morning—they end up waiting a whole day.”
Sometimes the call later in the day can’t be avoided. That said, I have been waiting days to hear from the other side on deals I have going right now. Days.
The most common excuse I get once we finally catch up is that they don’t have anything new. That don’t hold water. Sometimes the update is there is no update. So you take 30 seconds and say “nothing new. I’ll keep you posted if that changes.” In this age of text messaging, no communication is inexcusable. The great thing about texting is that you do not have to be held hostage in a protracted conversation.
We chose this profession, so, inconvenient as it may be, an 8pm phone call is part of the deal. Not only that, most agents in this market simply do not have the volume of pending business to claim they are too busy. US News was right to put this at the top of the list.
I added my own hypothetical #7 to the list in the comment section:
Very good list. My personal suggestion for a hypothetical number 7 is the carrier pigeon agent. This is a “professional” who shuttles messages between their woefully underadvised client and the other side in negotiations, without ever actually coaching their client as to the absurdity of their demands. They could work for the buyer who thinks that everything should be discounted 30%, or represent the seller whose house (with the harvest yellow, formica-laden 1978 kitchen) is overpriced by $100,000. In either case they display a remarkable lack of backbone in coaching with their own client.