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Is Your Real Estate Agent Sabotaging Your Home Sale?

Is your agent earning their real estate commission or lying down on the job?
5 telltale signs your agent may be hindering the sale of your home.

It sounds like a scene right out of a comedy. Your real estate agent claims they’ve been showing your home day and night, only you find out they’ve actually been lounging around by your pool during those so-called open houses. It may sound extreme, but what if your agent is actually sabotaging your home sale?

Although it may not be intentional, some agents might be causing your home for sale in San Antonio, TX, to sit on the market without even knowing it. “There are signs that an agent could be sabotaging your home sale, and the signs are [there] almost before you even sign the listing,” says Bruce Ailion, an Atlanta, GA-based real estate agent with RE/MAX Town and Country.

Here’s a look at how your real estate agent could be holding up your sale process.

Your agent takes a low commission (or does not offer a competitive commission to buyer’s agents) 

Sure, that low commission sounds like a good deal to you. But the reality is, a lower paycheck for the agents involved in a sale may completely dissuade buyer’s agents from ever showing your home to their clients. “The prevailing commission in most markets is 6%, which is divided 50/50 between the seller’s and buyer’s agents,” explains Ailion. “If your agent lists the property with only a 5% commission and offers the buyer’s agent 2 or 2.5% rather than the typical 3%, the buyer’s agent will be reluctant to show the home and will discourage buyers from making an offer on a low-commission home.”

Your agent is MIA

It may not happen until after you’ve signed a 90-day exclusivity contract with your agent, but if your real estate agent doesn’t respond promptly to your phone calls, texts, emails, or other lines of communication even before you sign with them, that should be a red flag. “Real estate agents stand to make money on your impending transaction, and there is no reason they shouldn’t have an open line of communication at all times,” says real estate investor Than Merrill, CEO of FortuneBuilders. “If your real estate agent isn’t eager to return your calls or texts, there is a good chance they don’t even want to work with you. Conversely, a great agent will answer nearly every call and return those they miss as soon as they can.”

Your agent is a people pleaser

As in, they tell you your home is worth way more than it really is. “Occasionally, you will find an agent that lies about your home’s market value in order to get the listing,” says Ailion. But although that inflated price tag may sound good at first, it’s important to be realistic. If an agent overprices your home, you may miss out on a huge chunk of potential buyers. “Once that has happened, it is often difficult to own up to the lie or error and get the property priced where it will sell,” Ailion says. If you do drop the price to a realistic number, buyers may see that as an act of desperation (and may even further lowball you).

Adds Merrill: “If your agent suggests selling at a price that is higher than the local market dictates, it may be a sign that they’re not working with your best interest in mind. All real estate agents work with the same data, and if yours suggests selling at a price that is substantially higher than what others recommend, it may be time to move on to another agent.”

Your agent has had minimal showings

Today’s real estate market is thriving. So if your agent isn’t showing your home constantly, consider that fair warning. “If they are showing your home to fewer people than you feel it deserves, they may not be trying to sell it at all,” says Merrill. “Any respected real estate agent will have a list of interested buyers before the home even hits the market. Their reputation alone should entice people to view the property. Therefore, if you don’t think they are showing the home to enough people, it is fair to assume they aren’t giving it their best effort.”

Your agent has no marketing plan

Real estate is a business, and your real estate agent should be trying to win you over as their client, which means they should have a marketing plan laid out for selling your home before you sign a contract. “I typically do not schedule any open houses as an agent. I view them as a waste of time. That is a technique for the past,” explains Marco Romero, a real estate agent with Icon Realty in San Antonio, TX. “Now, marketing can be done on the Internet. However, a mark of a bad real estate agent is when they do not lay out a marketing plan with the seller prior to the listing. At this point, this is where I tell potential sellers I am not going to do open houses, why, and what I will do instead.”

Have you suspected a real estate agent of not giving their all to your home sale? Share your experiences and tips in the comments!