So, you're thinking of hiring a real estate agent. It's a great idea in theory! Want more articles like this? Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox Sign up for free Working with an agent should be an efficient way to find deals and put property under contract, allowing you to direct more of your time and energy to other aspects of your business. The trouble is, many real estate agents aren’t so great and unfortunately even fewer are good at working with investors – you’re not the traditional customer. Choosing the wrong agent hurts. It can be a waste of time and money, not to mention frustrating. Luckily, it’s possible to spot the signs of those who are subpar and spare yourself the stress of working with them. Just be on the lookout for these seven characteristics of a BAD agent. Learn to Recognize the Warning Signs Protect yourself, your time and your money. Don’t work with a bad real estate agent! Beware of these seven red flags. They’ll help you quickly identify agents to avoid. 1. A bad real estate agent doesn’t ask you what your goals or plans are. Anyone can get paperwork signed from you right away. A good agent wants to make sure they’re a good fit to work with you and believe they can help you accomplish your goals. Bad agents are just looking for anyone with a pulse. If your agent is asking questions about what you’re looking to accomplish, don’t bother looking any deeper. 2. A bad agent is not concerned with a lifelong relationship. Good real estate agents know businesses are built on lifelong referrals. If the agent you’re speaking with doesn’t seem interested in forming any kind of lasting alliance, they’re probably seeing you as nothing more than a possible paycheck. Your agent shouldn’t be proposing marriage, but if they aren’t trying to get a feel for your personality and character, don’t invest any more in them. Related: How to Find an Investor-Friendly Real Estate Agent 3. A bad agent doesn’t do much business. Yes, this matters. The best agents get referred the most and do the most business. Feeling sorry for an agent who isn’t producing and giving them your business because they need it isn’t helping them. It’s just stupid. It’s well known in the industry that many licensed agents should not be working, especially not with clients. Giving someone business out of pity prolongs a period of time before they realize for themselves that they’re in the wrong industry. Don’t let pity make your decision. 4. A bad agent doesn’t speak the language of real estate. If your agent doesn’t understand how loans, escrows, or offers work, it usually means they don’t care much for their profession. Even the stupidest person can get a deal to close. Trust me. If your agent hasn’t been learning along the way, it means they are apathetic, and you should be avoiding them. 5. A bad agent reduces their commission. Sorry, guys. This one is sad but true. If your agent’s biggest value to you is they are the cheapest, that’s a problem. Going with a buyer’s agent because they refund their commission is consciously choosing to shop at the flea market to save money. It’s fine to do, but know what you’re agreeing to. This goes for agents who want to sell your property, as well. If an agent can’t negotiate their own commission, why on earth would you trust them to negotiate your money, which they’ll care about even less? Related: The New Investor’s Guide to Hiring a Real Estate Agent 6. A bad agent is always asking you what you want to do. You hire your agent because they’re more experienced than you are. If your agent is constantly asking for your advice, that’s not a good sign. Seeking your feedback for affirmation is fine, but if your agent is letting you make all the decisions, that’s a red flag. Run away—because they don’t know what they’re doing. 7. A bad agent bad mouths other agents. This one is a seriously big indicator that you should not work with someone. If the only thing of value that your agent can provide is gossip or negative information about their competition, it shows they’re insecure and not likely to be very good. If the agent says too many negative things about other agents, avoid them. Again, protecting your time is important. Learning to recognize the warning signs of a bad agent will save you a lot of time and money in the end. The less time you spend working with the wrong people, the more time you can spend looking for the right ones! Have you had any bad experiences working with a real estate agent? Were there warning signs? Share your thoughts in a comment below.