There is a plus side to the housing market being in a decline, and that would be the limited amount of bad agents out there. This is a great benefit if you are in the market to buy or sell a home, because chances are you will find a more reliable, up-to-date realtor. In the past a lot of agents did a lot of their work from their offices, but now they really do need to be out in the field in order to be successful. With that information though, you do still need to be careful in choosing your agent.
There is still the part time agent that is out there just to make a sale a few times a year for some extra cash. The cashier at the local grocery may take advantage of a not so up-to-date client in order to make some extra money. Even an utility worker in your town may try to pass himself off as a full-time realtor. In cases like this, they are more hurting their clients than helping them.
The market has undergone a massive upheaval and you can not do business the same way as five years ago. In Big Bear, bank owned properties make up 10% of the inventory and 40% of the sales. If your realtor is not proficient in dealing with REO’s, Short Sales, etc, you are asking for trouble.
Here is a perfect example from my last escrow transaction. I had some clients that made an offer on a property that was out of our area. We of course held up our part of the bargain, and then sat back and waited to hear that the escrow was opened. In the last twenty sales I have had in the last year or so, there is almost always a complication with the bank opening escrow in a timely manner.
To make a long story short, after weeks of no response to my pressings, the bank finally admitted to me that they had accidentally filed the paperwork with the wrong office. And to add insult, they suggested that we could still be liable for the delay. I turned it all around, but some people are just gone terrible with details. I think I am getting too old for this business!
Had I not known what I have learned from all my experience with REO’s, this could have gone really bad for my client. Less-experienced realtors are dangerous in these types of situations. So protect yourself and only work with someone who works in realty full time.