6 Things to Avoid Doing When Working With a Real Estate Agent

6 things that annoy real estate agents 

1. Lying about your budget, needs, and other factors

2. Looking at the same home without making an offer

3. Calling and emailing too much 

4. Forgetting that you’re in charge

5. Refusing to compromise

6. Working with another agent


In this article:

If you have a healthy human brain, it’s impossible not to ask from time to time, “Am I being annoying?” That’s not because you have a tendency to be annoying, of course, but because collaboration with people isn’t always easy and you’re considerate enough to entertain the possibility that you’re part of the problem. 

In real estate, this happens often. You want the best deal possible on what may be the largest financial decision of your life. Your agent is working with a number of people to get that deal for you. It’s natural to be impatient and to want instant answers and gratification. But real estate rarely works that way — so, as a healthy person, you should always know the answer to “Am I annoying my Realtor or real estate agent?”

Collaboration with your agent is key in any real estate transaction because they could be your greatest asset — or detriment. In this guide, we’ll advise you on some things not to do when working with a real estate agent so you can have a seamless experience and get the best deal possible.

What to avoid when working with a real estate agent

1. Lying about your budget, needs, and other factors

It’s a good rule of thumb that if you want to have a good relationship with somebody, you shouldn’t lie to them. That applies to your working relationship with your real estate agent.

You might want a $2 million home, but you can’t always get what you want. That means you have to be open and honest about your budget with your real estate agent. If they’re making offers on your behalf that you can’t actually afford, that’s going to damage the relationship and make it harder to buy a home. You may be the buyer, but your real estate agent still has to pitch sellers and other Realtors on your offers. You don’t want to make them look like liars by misrepresenting your financial situation.

Additionally, if you haven’t been pre-approved for your mortgage, you shouldn’t be looking at properties yet. For real estate agents, time is money and it’s a waste of their time to show you homes when you still haven’t gone through the first step of the home buying process. Do your homework first to find out if you’re pre-approved for a mortgage, then start seeing listings.

2. Looking at the same home without making an offer

In the year 2021, the vast majority of people don’t have to rely on just their memory to recall what a home looks like. Take pictures and videos when you see a home and make measurements if you really like it to get an idea of how your stuff will fit. Going back with your agent over and over again to confirm small details or remind yourself what the counters are made of — all without committing to an offer — is a great way to waste their time and annoy them.

3. Calling and emailing too much

The home buying process is nerve-wracking and when some people get nervous, they follow up a lot. While it’s understandable, try to remember that your agent is likely working with more homebuyers than just you. Yes, Realtors often do work on weekends, but they have a lot going on and may not be able to cater to every request or give you minute-by-minute updates on your offer.

A good relationship is built on trust and that means trusting that your agent is showing you the best properties in your price range and doing their due diligence to make sure sellers consider your offer. Still, you do need communication so try to establish a routine and discuss it with your real estate agent. Decide how often you want to be updated. Your agent will have their own communication preferences but if you lay out your hopes and/or expectations early in the process, it can avoid headaches for everyone. Just because many Realtors work on weekends doesn’t mean you should constantly call or text.

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4. Forgetting that you’re in charge

You hired the real estate agent, and that makes you the employer and primary decision maker. This is your home you’re looking for, after all. An agent is a conduit, not a mind reader, so you have to be clear about what you want. What neighborhoods will you consider? What is the top end of your budget? How big of a property do you want? Do you need a deck?

Your agent can’t make these decisions for you and when you can provide as much detail as possible about your wants and needs, it helps them do their job. Just saying, “I can afford $500,000 so just show me anything in that range” is not helpful.

5. Refusing to compromise

The real estate market is often very competitive. Don’t go into the home buying process expecting to get one over on somebody and secure an incredible deal. If you do, you might never find a home and you’ll scare off every Realtor in town.

Making insultingly low offers not only shows you’re not serious about a house, but it’s also a signal to your Realtor that you don’t really value their time. They get paid on commission and if you’re just using them to fish for anyone who will accept an offer well-below asking price, they’re not incentivized to work for you.

In a competitive market, you have to be willing to bring your offer up or make sacrifices to make your offer stand out. That could mean agreeing to pay for certain needed repairs or contributing to the cost of a new roof. If you agreed to a compromise, don’t try to wiggle out of it after inspection because it will make you and your agent look bad.

6. Working with another agent

You would not be happy if you found out your agent was using your offers to make another client’s offers look better. While real estate agents work with multiple clients at a time, they’re not leveraging those clients against one another. (Unless they’re scummy agents, in which case you would have probably heard about it before you hired them.)

Likewise, you shouldn’t use multiple brokers in the same area or try to cut out your agent by going directly to the seller’s agent. That wastes your agent’s time and makes you look untrustworthy. Many agents know each other and have good working relationships. Trying to circumvent those relationships is likely to backfire.

Not every home buyer-real estate agent relationship works out. Sometimes you just don’t work well together. But if you avoid these common mistakes, you can rest assured the relationship falling apart isn’t your doing.

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