Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Avoid Working with an Imposter REALTOR®!

No, I’m not suggesting that your agent has forged their real estate credentials…let me explain. Years ago I was out at Maplewood Mall in the upstairs food court eating lunch with my sons and teenaged niece (she’s a 30 something now so it was awhile back). As we shared our fast food fare, an attractive middle-aged woman dressed in very trendy clothing passed by but she was simply trying to hard to appear youthful. My niece mumbled under her breath, “Imposter Mom”. I had never heard such a thing but found it rather funny. Especially when the gal was well out of earshot, my niece emphatically added, “Imposter Grandma’s are the worst!”

My niece explained to me that an “imposter mom” was someone her mom’s age who impersonated a teenager in dress, hairstyle, make up etc. It’s a 40-something who steals her daughter’s latest issue of Seventeen Magazine and tries to be cool. It really doesn’t work. I thought it was hilarious and begged my niece to let me know if I ever was to cross that line.

So this conversation came to mind recently as I hear from people regarding working with real estate agents that are somewhat lacking in the professional department. These agents appear to be REALTORS®. They have real estate licenses, business cards and most even have that handy dandy key that opens those fancy electronic Supra lockboxes. But something is missing and it will come to light soon after the buyer or seller signs the contract. They discover their agent isn’t working full time in real estate. Some don’t want to pay the fees to get access to the electronic lockboxes. Some just don’t work enough to understand how to write a contract clearly as the forms change annually.

I have had the opportunity to work on the other side of a few deals with these imposters. There was the contract with a teacher who only planned to sell in the summer but took listings all year round anyway. Another deal was with a daycare owner who could only return calls after 6 or at naptime. And then there was the agent who worked full time retail who was impossible to get a hold of because of a constantly changing schedule. There are also agents who call or cancel appointments of properties with secure Supra lockboxes because they do not own an electronic key and cannot get into a listing.

As a cooperative agent, it is frustrating to work with an imposter real estate agent, but as a client, it could be down right infuriating! When a buyer signs a listing agreement or contract for buyer’s representation, it is important to ask a few questions regarding how much time and effort your REALTOR® will be putting into your sale or purchase. Finding a home or buyer for your home will take time and hard work on the part of your agent. Your REALTOR® should make the process easier from the time you sign your contract to closing day.

  • How long have you been licensed to sell real estate?
  • How many homes have you sold this past year? In your career?
  • What percentage of your business comes from past client referrals?
  • Are you a real estate agent or a REALTOR®?
  • Do you work full time in real estate?
  • Do you work individually or as part of a team? If part of a team, are do all team members have similar expertise and quality of service?
  • How many clients, buyers and sellers, do you currently represent?

Did you know? Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and abides by their code of ethics.

Finding the right real estate agent to work with means you will have to take the time to weed out the imposters. See I can overlook the bad styling of an imposter grandma, in fact sometimes they can provide a good chuckle. But in my mind, an imposter REALTOR® is the worst! Buying and selling a home is too important to be represented by someone who is less than 100% a professional.

Copyright 2012 Teri Eckholm