Real estate agents battle misconceptions all the time, but the reality is that the majority of agents are reliable and ethical professionals who work hard to please their clients. However, even the most adept of agents can experience conflict with home sellers at some point.
Knowing the most common reasons behind vendor and agent clashes is helpful when it comes to picking a real estate agent. And the most common disputes might not be what you expect…
Number 1: Security
Security is a huge issue for home sellers and usually tops the list of homeowner concerns. Whether or not a seller is living in the property, valuable possessions may remain inside the home. If security is compromised during a sale, a real estate agent may be held responsible, which naturally can cause friction between a vendor and an agent.
It’s often the little things that can cause homeowner and agent rifts, like lost home keys, forgetting to set security alarms, or even neglecting to lock doors. It’s no surprise that security issues like this can cause concern for vendors who want to protect the security and privacy of their property, which is often their biggest financial asset.
As a homeowner, if security is important the first move is to communicate this to your agent before engaging their service. Take steps to make sure that you provide an agent with a spare set of keys, so doors can always be locked. For extra measure you can recommend that an agent attach your key to his or her own key ring.
Number 2: Extra costs
Sometimes, a real estate agent may ask for an additional fee to be paid for advertising and marketing costs when selling a property. This fee can reach in lieu of $5,000, a considerable amount that is often forgotten when a house is successfully sold. Disputes occur when vendors agree to pay these added costs even if a property doesn’t sell.
As a home seller you should always question your agent thoroughly about what commission and fees are included in the contract of sale. If you aren’t confident in paying advertising and marketing fees for an unsuccessful sale, communicate this with your agent before signing a contract. If this is a big concern for you, then compare a number of real estate agents until you find the one that offers a payment structure that suits you.
Number 3: Authority sales contracts
When you sell a house and engage the help of an agent, you will probably enter one of several types of sales contracts. If you enter an ‘authority sales contract’ you sign a legal and binding document to give the rights to just one real estate agent to sell your house. This kind of contract can implode if a relationship with an agent goes sour. When a vendor isn’t happy with an agent’s performance, this can lead to disputes which can last for the duration of a contract, usually around two to three months.
If you feel that you no longer want to use an authority contract, list the points that you feel your agent can improve on and communicate them with the agent, or if necessary, the agency. Ask what can be done to review and improve the selling or marketing strategy. If this still isn’t working, review the guidelines of your contract, or ask your agent to be released from the contract.
Number 4: Care of house
Vendors want to keep a house looking ship-shape when they are selling, whether or not they are still living there. When sellers find their homes dirty after home inspections; floors are left muddy with footprints or walls are scuffed and marked after home inspections, arguments with agents start to arise.
Inform your agent of any untidiness or disarray that has been left behind in your property. If there is significant mess, then asking for a cleaning service isn’t completely left of the field. Take pictures to show your agent as they might be unaware of some mess that has been left behind, or it could be that an agent needs to keep an eye out during home inspections for disruptive home viewers.
Number 5: Over-estimating the sale price
Home sellers often display a strong sense of pride when it comes to how much their property is worth; blinded with emotion they may expect a higher selling price than is being offered. While a selling price below seller expectations can be due to a number of factors, including timing in the property market or a defunct selling strategy, a seller can be quick to blame an agent. This is the case particularly if an agent has promised that a property would be able to sell for a certain price.
Talk to your agent about the selling strategy. Ask if there is anything that can change, and why the property isn’t selling for a price that you both agreed was possible. An agent should be actionable and suggest a new selling or marketing strategy. Alternatively, get a fair estimation of your property price by asking for second, third or even fourth opinions from other agents. It could be that your property is worth less than you thought, the market has cooled down in your area, or maybe, it’s time to change agents.
Avoid disputes with agents
The best way to avoid disputes with real estate agents is comparing a wide range of local experts before committing to a contract. Ask agents the right questions and take the time to weigh up different agent fees, selling methods and marketing strategies before jumping into a contract. LocalAgentFinder is an impartial online service dedicated to helping homeowners find real estate agents in their area. Compare local agents in your area in a matter of minutes. Get started now!