Whether you use a buyer broker or a seller broker, the first objective of that broker or agent is to assist you in finding a property that’s suitable and affordable.
A broker or agent is doing a good job if he or she listens closely to your wants and needs and asks you thoughtful follow-up questions that prompt further explanation. Whether or not the agent is doing a good job becomes more apparent once you start seeing some homes. Do the homes you’re being shown match up with what you’ve told the broker you want and need? Do they match up with the priorities on your wish and reality lists? If your broker is totally off the mark, then he or she might not have been paying attention. Or perhaps you didn’t communicate effectively and honestly with your broker.
Here are some clues to help you know if your broker is competent.
Do you feel the broker is paying attention to you? Or does his or her attention wane when you are speaking? Does the agent ask you a lot of questions? Has the real estate agent ever asked you why you’re looking for a four-bedroom home or one that has an exercise studio? By asking, the agent may be able to better understand your motivations. If you’ve worked with the agent several times and all the properties you’ve been shown were not even close matches to what you had hoped to find, you might have a problem. If you’re working with a buyer broker and the seller suddenly seems to know your every move during the negotiation, your agent might be spilling the beans and breaking his or her fiduciary duty to you, the buyer. If your broker never returns your phone calls, that’s a clear signal that he or she is not being conscientious.
If you decide that your agent hasn’t done a good job, or has mistreated you in any way, don’t hesitate to file a complaint with the agent’s managing broker. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the managing broker, feel free to file a complaint with the state agency that regulates real estate professionals. In any case, unless you have signed a buyer brokerage exclusivity agreement, you can always find another broker. And if you can’t break your exclusivity agreement, it is for a limited duration, and no one can make you work with someone you don’t like. Simply wait out the expiration of the contract.