What is a reasonable expectation from an agent?

22 Replies

Hey everyone!

I am shopping around in Dallas for a Duplex (recently made a couple offers) and have been very actively searching out deals, analyzing them, and sending them to my agent. My issue lately unfortunately seems to be with my agent. We have been working together for 1.5 months or so and have made offers on two properties. When we first started working together he was great. Literally everything I could ask for in an agent. Responsive, knowledgeable, motivated, and a super nice guy! Unfortunately there has been a large change in just about all of that recently. After the first two weeks or so it became much harder to get a response from him. He has taken 2-3 multi-day vacations (he said he would be working while on the road) during which several deals I told him I was very interested in slipped away without us even having the chance to submit an offer. I emailed him about both several times but he could never seem to find the time to email back or return a text within a 12-24 hour period or to even give me a quick phone call like I asked. Now even while he's not on vacation it's hard to communicate with him and a response within 10 hours is rare. My frustration is not with not being able to close on a property but rather the fact that In a competitive market like Dallas I can't seem to even get my agent to communicate with me. I'm not asking for him to respond within 10 minutes all day everyday or even within an hour. But I feel like the one response a day or two if I'm lucky is a little bit ridiculous especially in a highly competitive market. If he does respond it's a quickly put together CMA that couldn't have taken more than 5 minutes.

It’s unfortunate because he started out so strong and I genuinely do like the guy. He is part of a reputable team in Dallas and my question to the BP community is:

What is reasonable expect from an agent?

Am I asking too much?

What can I be doing better in this situation?

Thanks!

No, you're absolutely NOT asking too much.  You need to do whats best for you, and this is business..  Find an agent that will meet your needs..  

I go above and beyond for my clients, and NEVER ever do they have to wait even 12 hours for a response..  I feel for what I get paid, that the least I can do, is provide timely service and put you in the best position to accomplish your goals..

@Account Closed

First, I don't think you are asking too much at all. Response time is critical and hopefully he is answering and getting back to you as soon as he can. Hopefully, he can meet what you are looking for and continue to help you out- His goal should be to help you find what you are looking for , an in a competitive market- he needs to be on the ball 

@Miles Mills this is pretty common. Agents often times start out great and then fall off a cliff with communicating. I’ve had it happen to me. Not a whole lot you can do about it.

@Miles Mills you are absolutely not asking too much! unfortunately this is a problem with agents. i have agents that dont even respond when i, a fellow agent, let them know my client would like to submit an offer or set up a showing. im sure many start off great and then become terrible due to them thinking they already locked in your business. sometimes it doesnt work and whether you like them or not, at the end of the day you have time and money at stake too. stand firm and let them know of your concerns and see if they can come to terms. if not (make sure you didnt sign anything binding) and ask for a mutual release and find an agent that can provide you with the duties.

@Miles Mills im not sure what that might be. i would think an agency disclosure but those are nonbinding and were required to ask you to sign. either way, double check it and take a stance with your agent. sometimes we have to let people know our time and money is important and we wont be pushed over (this will also let the agent know youre willing to give them a second chance). good luck to you and i hope you find the perfect property!

It kinda depends on What your questions are too, that aren’t getting timely responses.  Some buyers want to ask a ton of miniscule, unimportant prior to an offer, questions....just food for thought.

I just placed an offer with an agent Fri for the first time since 1998. It was an REO and she is a full-time buyer only agent. She was very good. We met one day and got a complicated offer submitted the next. Here are some things she did:

Showed my contractor buddy and I the home right away after emailing me the liability waiver to sign even more right away. Brought with her and provided me a folder of the full listing and other docs.

Gave us space and time to just view and evaluate the house and grounds but was available for questions.  Some may need a detailed tour.

Told us how long it's been listed and if any offers had been presented to the bank yet.

Provided ARV comps via e-mail within an hour of the showing.

Drafted the offer with a 2 sentence email from me.  Verified first a couple items in the listing like hard earnest money and 0 days to inspect.  She crossed out those to give us refundable EM and a 7 day right to inspect after contacting the bank asset mgr. 

Told me how best to show proof of funds (cash deal) as to not get it kicked back.  

Was completely available and focused on us as we got everything together, signed and submitted. Digital docs.  Time was of the essence.

What I didn't do-- drag her around for  months on end looking at property while asking random questions whenever I felt like.  You may not be doing that,  but we have to consider an agents time and getting fatigued.   May be time for a new agent though if you are losing deals due to apathy.  Hang in there!

You need to talk to the agent. You both might not be a great fit. How much was the duplex 200k, 100k? Sometimes while agents have a lull that might have full energy on small ball deals but as soon as something larger comes along the interest shifts to that.

Maybe the agent felt like if they put intensive energy for 2 to 4 weeks an offer would get accepted and a closing would happen eventually. When months went by they lost interest.

Agents often make the mistake of looking at annual income. They need to look at per hour instead. If it's per hour you analyze more intently HOW all of your time is spent.

@Steve Vaughan @Wayne Brooks @Joel Owens My questions are usually things along the lines of "Can you send me the Sellers disclosure report?" "Can you send me a CMA for rental comps in the area as well as a CMA for the property itself". I feel like everything I ask for more documentation so I can ask him LESS questions. I don't ask questions like "So how old is the roof...?" Unless for some reason I can't find it on my own. I suppose I would feel differently if I felt like I was dragging him along trying to find "The perfect" property or backing out of deals left and right. But like I said I am literally ready to pull the trigger yesterday if something makes sense...and unfortunately several properties have made sense that I never got a shot at.

Thanks for the insight on how he might be feeling though guys! Sometimes it's tough to see a situation through another persons eyes and have grace for what they have going on. I sent him a long email that hopefully gets us back on track and we can have an awesome and fruitful working relationship moving forward.

@Account Closed - Glad you gave the agent an opportunity to work through it. As an agent, I would be curious to know if you are requesting these documents and CMA before or after you've seen a property? Perhaps you don't have to view them if the information you receive is satisfactory, but with the hot market you're in, you may consider moving forward with offers to get the property under contract and use the Contract to address delivery of Disclosures and for due diligence on the inspections (in a market that hot, part of your due diligence as the investor may be already being familiar with particular properties, areas, and their rent comps/values). This could lead to backing out if negative information comes to light; however, it doesn't seem like you are even getting that opportunity just yet. Most agents move a bit quicker for offers rather than information requests. Whether that is right or wrong is mostly irrelevant, but it often happens to be the truth.

Hope it all works out. Since you've already contacted your agent to hash this out, my comment may be moot anyway, just wanted to offer another perspective.

@Brit Hale Thanks for the response! I am an out of state investor so I am definitely requesting these documents before I have seen the property. I am fortunate in my line of work to fly for free but still a trip down to DFW every single time I want to look at a property is just not realistic. This is also why I request the CMA for rents. I have called several different property managers in the different areas to feel out rents but when I am searching the entire metroplex and the areas surrounding it, rents vary and really the only way for me that I am aware of to accurately get a feel for the rents in that neighborhood is through a quick CMA. I am more than willing (and my agent knows this) to put offers in on properties I have not seen. I do totally agree though I am definitely willing to use the option period to dig deeper. The problem is though, I am often not getting the opportunity to make the offer.

@Nathan Keller Yeah they were close, it's a hot market with multiple offers on every property. I should reiterate I'm not frustrated about the fact I haven't closed on a deal because thats just the way it is, the right one will come. But rather the fact that I can't communicate with my agent. 

@Miles Mills I hear ya. I was just asking because I’ve heard a lot of “put in a lowball offer” talk on BP, which as I’m sure you know, works in some markets, but not competitive ones like the one you’re in. If you had been lowballing, I could see your agent lose confidence in you as a buyer, but if you were competitive, then it’s on him. Sometimes agents get complacent if they think they have a client locked up, and don’t need to work as hard as they did when they first met. If you want to give him a 2nd (3rd? 4th?) chance, let him know he’s slacking. If not, just move on to a more dedicated agent.

We need to be closers...both the agent and the investor.  Have a talk with them and see if you have alignment or not.  Without direct marketing, agents and brokers can make or break your investment goals.

Bootstrapping and trial and error are the norm, particularly in the early years.

Thanks again for your insight everyone. I sent an email to my agent expressing how I felt. He acknowledge the fact that our communication was pretty bad. After our talk he has been awesome and we have submitted another offer just under ask for a duplex. He provided me with his opinion on what we should offer, sent me all the documents needing to be signed and now we are waiting to hear if it is accepted or not. If accepted I will fly down to Dallas in the next couple days, take a look, review the SDN (we are still waiting for the sellers agent to send it), drive the neighborhood and hopefully shortly be the owner of a duplex. Even if it falls through I wont be upset. The point is we moved quickly and did the best we could.

You're asking the wrong question. It's not "Is this too much to ask?", it should be "What does my business need?" 

Your business needs someone who will respond quickly and work with you, otherwise you cannot do well in your competitive market. So that means you need to find an agent who can meet the needs of your business. If that isn't this guy, that doesn't mean he's a bad agent, necessarily...he's just not the one your business needs. 

@Miles Mills. It’s all about communication and setting expectations. Of course there are tire kickers out there but as you’ve stated you have been making offers so he should see the value on your partnership.

I just met someone who has been working with an agent for 5 years before she bought a place- just think about that commitment ( value/hour)!!!

If I can assist in anyway please reach out.

An agent's value to the client is their time and knowledge. If he can't offer either of those to you then it's up to you to find someone who will.

Ethan Shrestha, Real Estate Agent, Portland, ME

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