Last Updated: August 27, 2022

How To Work With Your Real Estate Agent

Written By: Barbara L. Pearce
Woman in suit going over a report with a man and woman

Let's assume that you have chosen an agent, for your residential or commercial need, by getting a recommendation from a friend or searching agent websites. You are about to have a first meeting. How should you proceed? What should you ask and tell?

Be Upfront and Honest

First and most importantly, be honest. It goes without saying that you should use your real name, give relevant information up front, and tell the truth about other agents you have been, or may still be, using. If you are looking in more than one location, say that too.

Agents are only paid when they sell or lease property. They do, however, understand that no transaction is foolproof, so they are always aware that they might not be successful in closing in any given instance. Being salespeople, they tend to be optimistic, so that they are often willing to take a shot on something. If, though, they find out along the way that they are being used as a backup, an expert to get information in order to do a private deal, or in some other way that was not disclosed, they won't be happy, and it isn't fair.

If you do want an agent to provide you with expertise or valuation not on the market, say so. You can arrive at a fair accommodation in most cases, and everyone will win. You don't need to lie to get just part of an agent's service, and you should not.

Relocating

When the problem is an uncertain job or move, that's a different story. Many job candidates look when they interview--we call what we do for those people an "area tour". Those come with risks, but we are used to that, and understand. We can help you more if we know what the factors under consideration are, such as another offer in a different region.

Agents can only go by the information they are given

We are required to keep confidential information private. You can tell us what you make, what you have to put down, and what you are hoping to spend, without thinking that we will try to exploit that. In fact, one of the saddest situations we run into is when a buyer states vehemently that he/she will not go over a particular amount, and then is unhappy when the property sells to someone else, for an amount they would have paid. Prequalification will help with this, but trusting your agent helps more. Imagine the medical advice you would get, if you lied about your symptoms!

Treat your agent like a professional.

Be clear in the beginning about how you like to communicate, and when, and understand your agent's preferences as well. Don't assume that they are at your beck and call 24/7--they are human, too, and they have lives of their own (and other clients!). Try not to shoot the messenger, by yelling at the agent who has to give you bad news, and try to be respectful of any advice that he/she might offer. You are both on the same side here, and your agent has valuable experience that can improve your chances of a successful outcome.

When the transaction concludes, think about writing a testimonial. In today's online world, nothing is better than a good review, or a referral to a friend or co-worker. Gratitude goes a long way, but is often in short supply in today's hectic world. You may even need your agent again, to rent or buy in the future, or to ask questions about issues that may arise after the closing. Never burn your bridges, and it's very unlikely that your salesperson agent will.

Much of this advice is common sense, but it never hurts to go into a relationship with clear parameters and goals. Many buyers and sellers become friends with their agents outside of a given sale or lease. They are certainly close companions for the length of that transaction, so make it the best it can be. We thank you in advance!

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Pearce Real Estate is a full-service real estate company for Greater New Haven and Middlesex counties.  Check out the many real estate buying services that we provide, both in-house, as well as through our partners and affiliates.

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