Home Buying in 60626>Question Details

Elody, Home Buyer in 60626

This is an etiquette question: My husband and I are considering making an offer a property in Rogers Park. We've been working loosely with an

Asked by Elody, 60626 Tue Mar 9, 2010

agent for since last summer. This agent has arranged a few showings for us and hooked us up with an internet search. I'd say we've used about 8 hours of the agents time. The more we work with this agent, though, the more we feel the agent is not able to meet our needs. How do we divorce the agent? And how in the world do we find a good buyer's agent? It is important to me to find an agent who is going to be honest (even opinionated) about the true value of the properties we are considering. So much of what we see in RP still seems quite overvalued. .

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Answers

34
Elody,

Only one respondent here answered with some caution about your
involvement in your home search. She mentioned value. Market value
is the amount the market will pay for a given property regardless of what
I would like to pay. I hope I can assume your agent has been up front with you about values. Agents are typically very people oriented. If you are sending mixed signals, the agent may be confused about what to show / what you want. Are you proactive and attentive to looking through the listings your agent sends and asking for value opinions about the ones that strike your fancy?

Clicking is often a matter of regular communication. You must have clicked with your agent in the beginning.
If you haven't gone out to get a new agent already, I think you should give your agent a call and ask him/her
to write up this offer. If this doesn't work, and you don't establish good communication, it's time to inform
your agent that you won't be needing his/her services any longer.

Best of Luck,

Marita
Assoc Broker/ Realtor
Indianapolis area
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
That agent may be fantastic - but, if YOU don't have confidence, end of story.
Your time and money are too valuable to compromise and you need to feel 100% comfortable in who is representing you.
Your new agent can make the call for you to let the other agent know you're working with someone else. Not a huge deal. However, if you end up buying something he/she showed you, he may have earned a commission - that's only fair! Take your time in finding a good agent.
If you have more questions, feel free to call.
Best wishes!
Ruth Wasiukiewicz, Broker, CRS, SRES
Chicago's Finest Residential Brokerage, Inc.
773.269-0307
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
If you are considering making an offer, and this agent showed you the property, then at least for THIS particular property, you really need to go through THIS agent. It's not so much an etiquette issue as it is a "procuring cause" issue. Perhaps you are not aware, but real estate agents work 100% on commission. If this agent introduced you to the property and you end up making an offer with ANOTHER agent, now you've put BOTH agents at risk for the commission dollars. They will have to go through an arbitration hearing and it could easily take a year for one of them to get paid.

If you really don't feel comfortable with this agent, then my recommendation would be to call their managing broker - the person that owns the office. In essence, the agent's "boss". Explain the situation to him/her and say you would like to make an offer on this property, but you don't want to work through this agent to do so. They will be happy to help you and make you feel comfortable. And THEY can then tell the agent the bad news - that you no longer wish to work with him. It's easier for an agent to hear it from their managing broker than from the client.

As far as finding another agent to work with - for FUTURE dealings! - while interviewing several before committing to one is a good idea - it is time consuming. You may want to narrow the list to 2-3 by asking for referrals from your friends and co-workers. Who did they work with and were they happy with them? Another strategy may be to visit open houses in the area. Nothing like the old face-to-face. And you kill 2 birds with one stone: you can sceen likely candidates to work with and screen likely properties too.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
Elody,

If you feel that you and your agent are not a fit than good conscience should guide you to part ways in a professional and ethical manner. Good agents understand that, and it's a part of any business cycle. You could send them a thank you and dinner certificate in appreciation of their time, if you are so inclined.

Regarding buyer's agents, I'll leave that one alone. Plenty here will jump all over it....

Ross
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
Did you sign a buyer's agreement with this agent? If not, just be honest with him. Tell him exactly waht you typed here. It's not personal at all, it's just business. Good luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 26, 2012
It is unfortunate that you find yourself with an agent that is not serving your needs. I would recommend that you make a clean break and cut ties with the agent by communicating with him or her directly stating your desire to end your relationship. Finding a good agent should not be a difficult task, Start by asking friends, family and co-workers for their recommendations. Interview agents and ask them for references. Remember, you always have the right to end a relationship and make clear to any agent that you hire what you expect up front.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 26, 2012
Do you have an exclusive buyer contract with them? If you don't, then you can try and politely express your opinions and see how he/she reacts. Or you can just say that you are putting the search on hold indefinitely. Then in the meantime you can research someone who specializes in what you are looking for. Before you go out on showings, a good agent should be sitting down with you to go over needs for your search. And if you are unsure of what area you want to be in, then he/she should be pulling market data from various areas to see which one will work best for you.

Honesty is very important as well. The reason you are hiring an agent is so that you have someone with an objective opinion. If you want to see a property that doesn't fit your criteria, I am going to ask: "why?" And if we are on a showing and I notice something wrong with the property I will let you know as well. Then we can figure out what your dealbreakers are. There is obviously a lot more an agent can do, so feel free to contact me if you want to know more.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 30, 2012
It is indeed interesting to hear this dillema from the buyer's point of view, and I think we all appreciate your honesty and candidness in asking the question. It is indeed nice and courteous of you to ask how to handle the situation.

I think the first thing you need to ask yourself is: What is it that isn't jiving up with us, or makes me feel that my agent and I are a good match?

If that answer ends up being anything that you feel you can politely but directly address with your agent, then I would say ethically, that should be your first course of action. If possible, just try to have a very open and honest (but not hurtful) conversation about what you want, need, and expect form your agent. And then, see if you feel you can get that from this agent who's been working for you so far.

If that can't be done, or you don't get the desired results you want and need after that, then it's time to move on. But be sure to let your agent know how, when, and why you made that decision. If you feel you owe them anything for their time, you can certainly pay them whatever you want to, as a consultant, or perhaps just get them a small gift, if you feel that will keep you from burning any bridges, or help you sleep better at night. (We can tell you're kind-hearted moral person for having brought this dilemma up on Trulia, and asking for advice...)

We, collectively, as agents, appreciate our clients' loyalty, so give your agent another chance if possible, and if that doen't work, then give one of us a call.

Best of luck in your home search!

Sincerely,

Matt Diehl

773-710-8818 (call/text)
Web Reference: http://mattdiehlrealtor.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 28, 2012
The fact that you are asking the question tells me that you feel some sort of obligation to this agent. And I commend you for having the character to ask the question.

A few of the things you said raise a red flag for me.

What do you mean by a few showings?
Do you have reason to believe the agent is not being "honest"?
If what you are looking at is over valued, it is not the agents fault.

If you have been open and honest with your agent in giving him/her the criteria of what you require and where and the price range, then he/she should be showing you those homes. And when you say, "...hooked us up with an internet search...", do you mean auto email directly from your agent? Or do you mean that he/she gave you a website to do your own search.

If it is the later of the two, I would say you need to find a new agent.

If, on the other hand, you are referring to an auto email, then I'd like to explain what goes into that.

First, your agent will meet with you and take lots of information down. Then he/she will go to the computer and input your information and do a comprehensive search for you. Then he/she will set you up so that everything that meets your criteria will automatically come to you the minute it is listed in MLS.

This is usually about 8-10 hours of work combined.

Next, when you find the homes you want to look at, your agent will have to look them up, map them out, contact the selling agent and wait for reply, ask questions, clarify information and set up the appointments.

Depending on the number of houses, this could take several hours, not to mention their printing costs.

Next, the agent will meet you and/or drive you to those homes and even if you are a "quick looker"- and the homes aren't located a half hour from each other and you have five homes to look at, the estimated time would be somewhere around 3-5 hours.

Next, the agent goes back to their office and has to contact the listing agent of all of those homes and give a showing report (provided they are a good agent) - approximately a half hour or so.

Finally, I'm willing to be that this agent has also corresponded with you many times via telephone or email - let's say another hour conservatively.

Add 'em up? Approximately 15-17 hours and I am figuring these numbers on the conservative side.

Most buyers have no idea the time involved in setting up even one showing. It's not their fault. They would have no way of knowing that unless we wine to our customers, which a good agent would never do!

So..............depending on how you answered my questions, you might want to give some thought to whether or not you owe your agent anything. And as previously stated, be careful of procuring cause.

Linda
Web Reference: http://www.lindacefalu.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 7, 2010
Hi Elody,

I hate to say it, but unless you have an exclusive buyer/broker agreement you are under no obligation. Taking "customers" out & not taking them to the end is an inherent part of our business. If you're not happy with the agent move on and find another one that suits your needs. Don't continue to waste each others time.

Our job is to have your best interest as a priority. If you don't feel your previous agent provided you with that much due diligence then you are right to find another buyers agent.

That being said, there may be a "procuring cause" issue, which you should address with your new agent. She/he should be made aware of the scenario & she/he will know what to do & how to handle. Procuring cause is when a previous agent showed you the property & you moved forward with the purchase with another agent.

As to where/how do you find a good buyers agent, start with the agents that responded to your concerns right here on Trulia, including myself.

If I can be of further help please feel free to contact me directly. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 7, 2010
we're selling a really nice condo in Rogers Park (one block to the lake, supper solid building w/ lots of $ in reserves, great neighbors and a fantastic floor plan. check out 1317 west greenleaf and call your agent or get a new one! we're motivated to sell :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 7, 2010
I wanted to follow-up with you and see if this issue was resolved?

Mark Malave
Web Reference: http://www.markmalve.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 16, 2010
Answering from a distant state, my opinion is that if your agent is working in this market (FULL time), he/she is more likely in-tune with the market. I would ask to see comparables on the properties that you're inquiring about, either via email or in print. Chances are, your agent does know what the market will support in the way of price--many buyers hear the media emphasizing how poorly the market is doing but, in real estate, markets are hyper local; meaning that specific neighborhoods boast a 25% increase in value right next to one that is down 25%--and, yes, there are areas that are appreciating even in this market!

Market value is the amount that buyers are willing to pay--if you see that others have recently purchased in a particular price range (keyword here is recently), then you can determine whether or not the list price reflects true value in the homes in Rogers Park.

Best of luck to you in your home search!
Web Reference: http://www.SoldByDebe.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 12, 2010
It is really nice of you to ask this question. your agent needs to know what you are looking for and what is important to you. if she is not able to do that you may want to let her know that she is not helping and you are looking for another agent.
Not all the agent are a good match with their client. you need to make sure that you and your agent can communicate clearly with each other and work as a team to make sure to find the best home for you. Some times it takes looking at more than 20 house to find the right one.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
It is important that the agent you are working woth is either functional (productive) or sociable (likeable). If you get one that is both, grab him or her. Stay focused on the mission which is to navigate successfully through a Real Estate transaction. You... the client sets the pace. A good agent will key into your tempo. Communicate and by that I mean deep talk not just superficial stuff. As far as cutting the current one loose, honesty works best for me.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
Hi Sharon,

I think the probable cause that you did not see mention of procuring cause
is that Elody said they were receiving property listings from the agent with
which they have been working loosely since last summer. And though Elody
is considering making an offer, she does not say the listing agent has
shown her the property in question.

I too think Elody may be wishing for further price reductions before she gets serious.

Please, all you shoppers out there, if you are using an agent - use the agent. If you are disenchanted
with that agent let him/her know before going out and procuring another. If you are walking about in
open houses on your own, let the agent there know that you are working with another Realtor.

Best Regards,
Marita
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
Wow! So few agents considered the procuring cause issue here. If you saw this property with that agent than you should have him/her write the offer. It is the ethical thing to do...it has nothing to do with etiquette. You stated that you used 8 hours of the agent's time. Would you work for 8 hours without getting paid? Why did you decide now that the agent is not fulfilling your needs?

Perhaps he/she backed off from providing additional information to you because you did not indicate your readiness to move forward with a purchase. Your last sentence is quite telling about you as a buyer...you believe the properties are still overvalued does that mean you want to wait for the prices to come down more?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
If you truly feel that the agent is not doing their job then you have every right to terminate the relationship. It is no different than any other professional service. Just make sure you do it for the right reason and communicate to the agent what you are thinking. Ask friends and family for agent referrals. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
As stated, we are professionals and hopefully grow from constructive feedback (criticism). Inform the agent. If you have a buyer agency agreement, seek to terminate it. If not, let the agent know you have decided to pursue the services of another Real Estated Professional and let him know why. He should accept it as a professional. If not, you really know you made the right decision.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
Ken, that is very true. I didn't really read everyone else's post, but I'm glad you mentioned that. For safety/legal purposes, it would be good to consider that and to consult the agent and lawyer if need be.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
If this agent took you to view this property I think it is only fair that you allow them to write the offer. It could turn out to be a procuring cause dispute if the agent finds out that you made the offer through another agent. Hairy situation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 10, 2010
Elody,

The etiquette is to let your agent know how you feel and that you have made your decision to terminate your relationship. It is the nature of our business, so I am sure they will understand. If you have a written agreement, then you might want to consult an attorney. Most service agreements have a termination clause, but none of her are qualified to answer legal questions.

The second part (finding a buyer's agent) is more difficult. I am personally biased, because I find that I am personally a terrific buyer's agent. I love what I do and I am great at negotiating. I also have more knowledge and personal experience in the neighborhood than anyone else (I've lived here since 1973). I also own property and live here (we are on Wayne Ave.). I agree with the others that have posted that it is important to work with someone you are comfortable with working on this important transaction. My web address should give you an indication of my committment to the neighborhood. I am so confident that I am the right buyers agent in RP that I would be happy to give you referances to other listing agents that I have worked with on recent deals. They will tell you that I represent my clients agressively and honestly.

Mark Malave
American Int. Realty
P- 773-435-1605
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
I hate to say it but find an agent who doesn't need your business but wants it because they know they can do a good job.

What do I mean by this? If you have an agent who needs you to close ASAP so they can use the commission to pay their past due electric bill then you're going to get biased opinions and data to support their needs and desires.

You should interview agents they way you would a new doctor or lawyer. Pick some of the best names in the area from signs you see over and over again and come up with a list of questions and see how they all sort themselves out.

Values are also a tricky thing in this market and it takes a good agent who is very comfortable with such data to be able to give you any useful info from it.

Finally, make sure you put your termination in writing so there's no confusion. If you don't make it clear that she's being "fired" for lack of results and ability then she'll have no right to come back in the future and try to sue for a commission that your new agent will have earned.

Scott Newman
Newman Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
Elody,

The last sentence in your question reveals why you've been unsuccessful in actually buying a property, although it has been several months. You are not willing to pay market price.

Your estimation of "overvalued" is probably preventing you from submitting a viable offer.

Although you've seen 8 hours of work from your Realtor, have you added up all of the time behind the scenes when she was searching for properties for you, making appointments, etc.

How many offers have you written?

It's probably not the agent's fault. I would look in the mirror.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
Elody,
As stated by other agents, you should not work with this individual unless you are comfortable with him/her and you feel they are competent to reprresent you.

I would suggest that you call a reputable brokerage and ask for their managing broker. Speak to him/her and tell this person that you'd like to interview a few agents. The managing broker should be able to arrange this. Interview these agents and go with the one you feel can best represent and serve you.

Our managing broker at Baird & Warner Lincoln Park is Bill Stegeman and the office number is 773-697-5555.

Jeff Nobleza
Baird & Warner
773-677-5340
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
Hey Elody,

Although it doesn't sound like you have a lot of time invested in working with your agent, a skilled agent can learn a lot about what you're looking for in eight hours. It may be worth the investment in additional time to see if you can get the agent on the same page as you. One approach you can attempt is to see if a conversation about what you're looking for, when you want to move, and what you can afford helps clear up the situation. Your agent may believe you are casually looking and they are "casually" helping you. Let the agent know that although you've been looking for close to a year, you're much more serious now and want to make sure that they are able to meet your needs.

If this doesn't work, or you're past this point, look for a new agent. One technique is to ask for a referral from this agent, but maybe a clean start would be best. In this way the agent you're working with currently can't influence the perception of your new agent.

Either way, determine as much about your search as you're certain about before you engage a new agent. For example, if you've determined your transportation needs, house size, budget, etc., make sure you lay these out clearly for your agent. Make sure that you're both on the same page, clear and not laying out mixed signals to your agent, or you may find yourself in the same situation.

As far as opinion goes....That's a tough one. It relates to many character trates such as optimism, pessimism, pragmaticism, and so on. I try to keep my opinion out of the already complicated stew of analysis that buyers need to make. After all, after you buy the home, you're agent isn't a partner in the investment and certainly doesn't have to live there. I provide my clients with relevant market data, and help them with perspective when comparing property to property. Roger's Park is definitely feeling some pain right now with respect to foreclosures, but it also has a lot going for it. The foreclosure crisis isn't going to last forever, and if this is what's causing the mess, how will things be when the market stabilizes? What can you get for your money today in another area?

Best of Luck with your search.

Wayne Beals
Realtor
Keller Williams CCG
312-77BEALS
312-772-3257
wbeals@kw.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
Hi Elody,

I would just be honest with your current agent. It sounds like you're being considerate of your agent, just tell him/her the truth. In the end your feedback will hopefully help them going forward.

As far as finding a new buyers agent, you have several that have responded here. I would also encourage you to ask friends, family and co-workers. There are plenty of good agents out there, don't settle until you find one that will meet your needs.

Good luck with everything!

Kelli Johannesen-Logan
atproperties
(773) 255-2691
kelli@chicagofamilyrealtor.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
Well Elody,

To be honest, you do have a right to cancel your relationship. You as the buyers and the agent can mutually agree to end this work relationship. It is understandable and admirable of you to feel as though you may owe some loyalty to the agent (sounds as if he/she really has been sticking in there), but what I would suggest is that you first stand up and voice your opinion to the agent; let him/her know how you feel and what your concerns are, what you'd like to be different about the business relationship and responsibilities. Maybe give it a little more time, but I could understand if you didn't, just because you mentioned that you've been working together since last summer. Also, try to detect whether or not your agent is intentionally finding over-priced properties just to increase his/her ability to make more money off of the sale. You want to be fair to yourself as well.

So far as finding a good buyer's agent: well, experience really is good, it boosts chances of getting timeliness and knowledge out of the agent, but also look at references to find the qualities such as ethics and selflessness, etc. (Sorry, gotta go!) Hope that helps alot.

By the way, I am a buyer's agent and if I can't work with you I'd refer you to someone who can!

Thanks, God bless,

Cheriamor Houston
Keller Williams Gold Coast
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
Elody,

If you don't have a signed agreement with the agent it is as simple as this: save the agent's contact info being sure to have the right phone numbers. Under the name type in the word "poison" so that any time the phone rings with a number associated with this agent the word "poison" will pop up on your screen. Now you know to not answer. I did this with an insurance salesman a few years back and it literally saved me from hours of needless and useless phone time.

Seriously, you and every consumer owe it to yourselves to have the most proficient and professional assistance available. Setting up an internet search doesn't constitute much of anything as the computer is doing all of the work. In a market such as this you need more. Find someone who a) is a local expert, b) has experience negotiating, c) has references from consumers, and d) is somebody whose phone calls you don't want to avoid.

With respect to an agent's capacity of apprising you of value, you may (or may not) find my recent blog post on negotiating several deals in the current market of interest - http://therealestateloungechicago.com/2010/02/20/number-crun…

All the best,

Tom McCarey
The Real Estate Lounge Chicago with @properties
Expertise in Negotiation, Luxury Home Marketing and Buyers' Representation
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
If you just do not want to come out and tell the agent goodbye perhaps just say you changed your plans about buying and will contact him/her if/when you are ready. Don't be shy. After all, you are wasting the agent's time and your own.
I will try not be too self serving, but sometimes you just need to start to work with a few agents until you 'click' with one. My web site has some information about me. I grew up in Evanston, know RP and have been in the business over 20 years. That should help, but there are lots of agents with my experience out there.
Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
Simple, say that you prefer to work with some one who meets your needs. Probably easier said than done because another person hurt on the end of that message or phone call, but I would want all my clients to be that up front with me, instead of wasting my time. If this person is a true professional, they will accept it and move on.

My suggestion would be to interview a few agents. Don't contact some one about a specific property, but over all knowledge of the real estate market and how you get along with them. This is a big decision and you should pick some one who you feel comfortable in helping you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
It's always tough to "divorce" anyone but I think the best way is to just call him and let him know that you are going to move in a different direction and no longer need his services. As far as your new buyers agent, take the time to sit and find out how they go about there day to day business. The relationship between a buyer and the agent should be the same as with a seller and the agent. All the details should be discussed upfront and an agreement should be in writing. Anyone that will jump up and drive you around without a face to face initial consultation is probably not worth their salt. if you have more questions or if you would like to schedule a meeting please give me a call at 312-264-6560 or 312-399-4455. Thanks for your question.

Sincerely,

Ken Baker
SourceOne Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
Be honest with the agent. Not everyone "clicks." She may even be able to refer you a few of her collegues so that you can interview them. Ask your friends and family for recommendations also. Best of luck to you
Web Reference: http://www.harrietmaj.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
Elody,
You can just tell the other agent that you guys are just not a good fit.

If your looking for a good, honest, agent, go out and interview a few. Dont be afraid to call up a bunch and ask them some questions. Have a list of questions ready to go so you are prepared. From here, go with the one you mesh best with.

Wish you the best of luck!

Matt Laricy
Americorp Real Estate
Brokers Associate, e-PRO
mlaricy@americorpre.com
708-250-2696
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
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