How to know if your Real Estate Agent is doing a good job.
-Your Inspector Guy’s Perspective –
I’ve observed and worked closely with thousands of real estate agents. I’ve become somewhat familiar with real estate agent motivations, how and why they do what they do and why there can be unnecessary obstacles to what should be a smooth business relationship. Frankly, there is a very wide range of performance and level of dedication to our mutual clients. As many of my customers usually have only dealt with a handful of real estate agents, I’ve developed some pointers that may help you get the most out of your relationship with your real estate agent. Understand it’s not a one way street, I’ve included some pointers on how to be a good client also. Sometimes real estate agents are faced with unreasonable demands that cannot be met.
Real estate agents make huge investments in both time and money to achieve the credentials required in their industry. In my opinion a good agent is worth and earn every penny, and by the same token a not so good agent may cost you.
Is your real estate agent a salesperson or a real estate agent?
In my humble opinion, real estate agents should not be in “sales”. Of course there may be differences depending on whether you are buying or selling, however my experience is that the good agents put the client first. Sales goals, brokerage revenue goals, sales awards etc. should be low on their personal list. A client oriented agent is almost always a successful agent. In almost all cases I’ve seen, client first agents are also successful within their industry and, more importantly, in my opinion, are more satisfied with their work and have much higher job satisfaction. It shows.
Good agents give you the personal attention you deserve.
I’ve come to believe that the real estate agents job is very personal. Make sure to have a conversation with your agent to make sure they understand your goals and desires whether buying or selling, and then hold them to task. That means you have to make sure you understand your own desires and goals and have to be honest with your agent when your goals or desires change or evolve.
Be careful with agents that are members of large teams or that employ assistants or large staffs. Nothing wrong with that if your agent remains engaged with you. If your agent disappears after you sign the contract with the details handed off to others you may end up missing the personal attention needed in this overly complicated endeavor of buying or selling a home. Be extra diligent in making sure your interests are being served and the attention to detail is still there.
It not personal. It’s business.
Good agents help you keep your emotions in check. Really good agents keep emotions from all parties in check. Let them help you. They’ve seen many houses and worked with many clients. Most agents truly want to help you achieve your goals. Listen to them if they are gently suggesting, for example, that your decisions or choices may be contrary with your goals that were laid out in the beginning.
Is your agent meeting sales goals or are they meeting your needs?
Typically real estate agents work for a real estate broker or brokerages. Some are large national brands, some are small local shops and some are individual. It may not be apparent to the once in a decade customer, but it has become very clear to me that brokerages have characteristics that indicate where the client is falls in their business plan. Some brokerages are no more than clearing houses to move as many properties as possible. Agents in those brokerages may be more interested in positioning themselves for revenue awards within their very insular industry than serving their customers.
What can you do to protect yourself? Ask your agent what was the topic of the last three broker sponsored training sessions they attended. If all three were sales oriented (which they will be) it may be worth your time to search for another agent (and brokerage). I don’t see a lot of brokerages that conduct technical or professional training with the goal of best serving the client. To be fair, some brokerages depend on real estate associations to provide technical training. However it is a large commitment on the agents to cover both broker and association requirements.
Visit the agent’s office. The brokerage will celebrate what they think is important by what they display. What are those awards, trophies and plaques actually for? Same with the agent’s area. Multi-million dollar producer? What exactly does that mean and how did they get it? It usually means they produced a lot of revenue for the broker.
Does your agent have the resources to put you first?
Make sure your agent has the fortitude and resources to weather the possibility that the ‘deal’ doesn’t go through. If the agent is overly anxious about getting the commission then their work will be affected. It’s human nature. Real estate is a tough business, it very tough for the new agent, for example, that depends on the commission to put food on the table. As painful as this advice is to real estate agents, the good agents can afford to do a good job in your interests. If they cannot afford to lose your business, or the deal, then they can’t afford to be a real estate agent.
You need a buyer’s agent.
Buyers – engage a buyer’s agent. It’s not debatable. Regardless if you are a real estate professional yourself. Regardless your background, knowledge, experience in home buying, real estate transaction or your other life experiences. Again, I realize this will very unpopular with many agents that strive to get ‘both sides’ of a transaction, but buyers that depend on the seller’s agent is making a mistake. Regardless of the seller’s agent’s assurance of fairness, we’re all human. I’ve seen many agents handle ‘both sides’ for my client. There has not been a single time where I thought the client wouldn’t be better off with their own agent. Even though I liked the selling agent and that they were doing a good job overall. It’s just that it’s an impossible situation. Don’t fall for it.
Your agent must know the contract. Cold.
Your agent should intimately know the real estate contract that they ask you to sign. There should be no hesitation, no equivocation or unanswered questions when it comes to the contract as it is a legally binding document for you. You should feel comfortable signing it.
Most important to me is the inspection period and inspection clauses. Sometimes I’m the only one in the room that understands that part of the contract. The interpretation of that section can have serious consequence on a timely closing and your long term satisfaction. I see lots of unnecessary complications due to misunderstandings of that area of the contract.
Your agent must understand the inspection process.
Agents know the home inspection process and will work with your choice of inspector to make the most of the process. Houses, especially occupied, must be prepared for inspection. Utilities must be on and safe access must be provided to all systems and areas of the home. Agents from both sides of the process must coordinate to make sure the property is prepared for inspection. Otherwise the inspection cannot be as thorough as it could be. Make sure your agent is actively involved in preparing the property for inspection to protect your interest.
The good real estate agent from a good brokerage will work with you to interpret the home inspection results. Reactionary, defensive or rash responses to inspection results should tell you something. Remember, it’s your inspection and information. It should be interpreted in your interests based on your desires and goals. Inspection results only have meaning when you give them meaning- it’s all about you, not the ‘deal’. I’ve developed a Pavlovian reaction when I see some brokerages on my inspection order form. Sometimes I can anticipate the inspection results will be challenged, questioned and minimized to support the ‘deal’ instead of supporting the client.
Make sure your agent is protecting your interest. How is the inspection and inspection report handled? Remember, the inspection is for you. The results are intended for you to make decisions about how the condition of the property fits in with your goals and desires. The best agents make sure you are the first to review the results and see to it that you are in sole control of inspection results until you are ready to discuss the results with other parties (see How to Make the Most of Your Home Inspection).
Negotiated repairs must be done by knowledgeable professions, licensed when required.
Inspection reports should not be viewed as ‘fix it’ lists (unless, of course that’s what your inspector produced which means of course you need another inspector). It should not be handed over with a comment to the seller to ‘fix this’. It should not be passed off to a staff member or assistant to take care of. The inspection report should be thoroughly reviewed by you and your agent, in private, to determine what actions you want to take. Your agent should not be satisfied until you are provided with all the documents that show repairs were done correctly and to your satisfaction.
Good agents know how to write and read a real estate listing.
Good agents know and understand the listing process, regardless of buying or selling. Sometimes I am privy to the listing prior to my inspection. There has been occasions that I have had to check the address of the property I’m inspecting as it bears no resemblance to the listing. I realize this comment will be very unpopular, but many times the listing speaks volumes about the listing agent and sellers. A good buyer’s agent can use their expertise to read between the lines to your advantage. As an aside, photos should highlight and define the house and property, not the seller’s personal property. Just saying.
Agents should analyze the property for needed inspections.
There may be many inspections required for your particular transaction. Many agents will “let the inspector” handle inspection requirements. Deferring decisions about inspection requirements until the day of your home inspection is not a good idea. The problem is that often we have no idea of the inspection requirements of the buyer’s financing, insurance or title requirements. Good agents will coordinate all requirements with all parties well ahead of time so there are no surprises on the day of the inspection, or more importantly, on the day of closing. If your agent is scrambling to fulfill requirements in the days before closing it means the job wasn’t done. It’s that simple.
- Darrel is knowledgeable, professional, thorough, and extremely helpful. I am just moving to Boynton Beach and have run into a lot of things I didn't know about buying a house in Florida. Darrell knew what I needed and gave a fair price. Since the inspection I've probably had a million questions about various things and Darrell has gone above and beyond to not only answer my questions but recommend people to get estimates from. He has responded to every question, most of the time immediately. I would recommend them to anyone and will use them again!
-Peggy Parrish via Google
- Darrel Abbey is by far and without a doubt the best home inspector I have ever encountered. He is extremely thorough and generally a pleasure to be around. Darrel showed up early and went above and beyond to assist me outside of the direct inspection with his local knowledge. His inspection report was detailed, easy to read, and very clearly deciphered between major and minor issues. Additionally, his equipment is top of the line, and something you won't have the benefit of with all inspectors, and still his prices are extremely competitive. I'm thrilled I was referred to him.
-Blair Barton via Google
- Very thorough & professional! I signed a contract for my new home purchase on 4/17 and by 4/22 Your Inspector Guy was performing the inspection. He is extremely detail oriented and didn't miss anything! Their price is comparable to what they do and worth every penny!
- Most people in the technical service industry really has a difficult time in explaining or translating what they are doing to individual(s) who don’t work or have an understanding of the same. However, what I respect and appreciate about Jennifer (not to single her out but she was the one conducting the process) was that she take the time in using simple analogies that makes very easy to follow and understood the nature of the work being completed by her. Hence, I am recommending anyone who maybe considering on using this company for any of the many service(s) they provide to right ahead and use them. Thank you.
- These company saved me from buying a home that would've been a nightmare. They found what most inspectors wouldn't. I'm really grateful.
- Daniel Morales
- Your Inspector Guy has recently completed three separate inspections on our properties and each one was first class. Jennifer has amazing knowledge, experience and a tenacious desire to cover every square inch that must be inspected and evaluated. Jennifer located important flaws and issues in the properties in places that other inspectors missed completely. And the reports that we receive from the company are amazingly complete with numerous photos of problem areas and in-depth conversations on what should be done to correct the problems. Those reports are generated by the end of the day of the actual inspection, so we don't have to wait around for any reason. As owners of multiple properties we rely on Your Inspector Guy and their determination to leave no stone unturned to provide us with 100% of the information we need for buying and maintaining a property. As an extra plus, their pricing is reasonable, and the entire process is agreeable and satisfying. We highly recommend Your Inspector Guy.
- Lawrence Bonner
- Guy is an Affiliate of JTHS Association of Realtors as a Home Inspector. My clients have used Guy's services and been completely satisfied. Guy's professionalism helps ME, Help my clients get to the closing table!
Sharon Scott, REALTOR - SSRS at Coldwell Banker Real Estate Jupiter Florida
- Guy has done inspections for several of my clients and they were ALL extremely pleased with his thoroughness attention to detail.
-Thom Montrois, RE/MAX Properties
- I wish I could choose more than 3 best attributes to describe Guy's work. In addition to being reliable, punctual, and extremely personable, his work is impeccable. He is extremely thorough in his home inspections, taking photographs and detailed notes for the client's reference. He is also available for follow-up questions. I feel confident hiring Guy to do my home inspections, knowing that my clients will know exactly what they're buying. And, for my own reference, he is more than happy to explain to me any issues he finds during an inspection, so that I can review the results in detail with my clients.
I fully recommend Guy Hartman and Your Inspector Guy for your home inspection needs, whether you are a homebuyer, seller, or a real estate professional.
-David D'Onofrio, RE/MAX Properties
- I have recommended Guy to my customers repeatedly. They are always very satisfied with his inspection reports and feel that the inspection is complete and thorough. He takes the time to speak with them and answer any questions they may have. He is extremely knowledgable and trustworthy. Sincerely, Kristen
-Kristen Danzig, Realtor Jupiter & Juno Beach
- Simply, Guy is a thorough and knowledgeable home inspector. But what continually impresses me is Guy's ability to convey his findings in layman's terms, which not only educates clients and agents, but more importantly, calms the often anxious homebuyer. He is prompt, polite and a joy to work with. I use Guy on my personal purchases and always recommend him to my real estate clients.
-Katherine Scarim, Island Bridge Realty
- Guy Hartman at Your Inspector Guy Home Inspection Services provides consistent and excellent service in this industry. He has outstanding knowledge in his field and provides the client with an indepth report of the inspection and readily follows up with clients' questions. His assessment of issues which need to be addressed are handled in a professional manner without bias.
- Rosanne Tramonti, Coldwell Banker
- Great at what they do! They are always very honest and professional. And give great advice! Thanks Your Inspector Guy!
- Darrel did a great job in my latest inspection. On time, courteous and patient with my clients many questions ! I definitely recommend them.
-Emel Onur, LEAD Consulting Group
- As first time home buyers we were nervous going into the home inspection. Thank goodness we chose Guy and Darrel. They did a wonderful job and we could not be happier.
- Johnny and Brogan
- I have been using GUY for my inspections for a couple of years and he does an awesome job, my buyers and I have always been pleased.
- David McCallar, Golden Bear Realty