In this article, you’re going to learn how a professional Realtor conducts their business. This includes being held to a higher standard, daily responsibilities, and a fiduciary duty to their clients. Unfortunately, there’s another group of agents out there I like to call – The Bad Realtor. We’re going to focus a lot on them. It’s important you know how to spot a bad agent when you see one.

What are we talking about anyway?

Are you planning to hire a real estate agent to help you buy or sell a property? If the answer is yes then you’re making the right decision reading this article. Real estate agents play a crucial role in the real estate industry. As experts in the field of buying and selling residential homes, they understand the local market better than any other person and can help you get the best deal. Period.


A real estate agent can help you get your dream property or starter home in your preferred neighborhood and at the best price. They will help you inspect the properties systems and negotiate favorable requests for repairs, credits, and or a price reduction. They will also be neighborhood experts who can navigate you through your new part of the city.

Home sellers

A skilled Listing Agent can help you prepare, position and market your house correctly. The goal should be making sure every set of eyes balls looking to buy are on your property. This way, you’ll be sure to have multiple offers ramping up the price in a bidding war.

Your agent will then have to make sure they protect your money while going through the inspection process. A talented Realtor will be knowledgeable about property systems like the roof, electrical, plumbing, foundation, termite, retrofitting, and sewer line – they’ll know what costs are real and what is inflated.

Whether you’re in the market to buy a home or considering options of selling, it’s smart to do your homework. Hire a top local real estate agent who is an expert working on both the seller side and the buyer’s side.

The Bad Realtor will be unfamiliar with the local market

A local Realtor is supposed to be a neighborhood expert where you want to live or own a home. Period. The agent needs to know everything happening within the local market. For instance, if a house was sold last week within the neighborhood, the agent should be aware of it. They should be able to tell you the inside scoop – what agents were involved in the transaction and what happened to get the deal done.

Test the waters a bit. If the agent doesn’t know the listing agent or can’t give you specific information about the house or isn’t familiar with the local schools or landmarks, then it’s clear you’re speaking with The Bad Realtor and should run.

The Bad Realtor works part-time

If your agent is an attorney, or an accountant, or CPA, or burger flipper but also is a licensed real estate agent showing homes on the weekends, your agents one of The Bad Realtors. There is a reason why 10% of Realtors do 90% of the business. One in four people has a real estate licensed in California. The average real estate agent in California does zero transactions a year. That’s scary! Don’t fall for these common traps:

  • Your friend has a real estate license and will give you money back at the close of escrow
  • My mother-in-law has a current real estate license to help family and friends
  • Our cousin has a real estate license out of state but will help us

The unreliable list goes on and on. There is absolutely no way a part-time agent will successfully help save you money or get top dollar for your home. The market changes too fast. Your agent needs to be working 7 days a week with their head in the game to be effective for you.

Sneaky Realtors are bad news

The Bad Realtor is a ghost online

Reputable real estate agents have positive reviews and ratings online. If you realize that you are having a big problem locating the Realtor, their past client reviews, active listings or past closed sale, or their professional website you may be in the clutches of The Bad Realtor.

In today’s technology and information revolution, it’s nearly impossible for experts in a given field to be ghosts online. Either their business style is antiquated, they’re weekend warriors, or they’re rookies. Either way, you’ll be much better served to venture out to find a local real estate expert. A simple Google search or search should give you plenty of qualified candidates. Isn’t the internet awesome?

The Bad Realtor is a discount agent

The old saying, “you get what you pay for,” is very true when you’re hiring a Realtor or real estate broker. Everyone is looking for a discount and to keep money in their pocket. Buying a home or selling a home is one of those areas you don’t want to go cheap. Would you look for the cheapest surgeon if you needed heart surgery? Of course, you wouldn’t! Buying or selling a home is financial heart surgery.

Most professional real estate agents have a standard listing fee ranging between 5-7% which is shared with the buyers Realtor. You’re free to negotiate the listing agent’s fee – these commission service fees are negotiable.

Be very skeptical of the discount agent offering to sell your home for a low or flat fee. More than likely they’re most interested in collecting the nominal fee and if your property sells itself without much effort from the agent it’s considered a bonus in the agent’s eyes.

The Realtor to watch out for

The Bad Realtor will give away your money

The bad agent won’t instantly turn into a skilled negotiation expert once you’re in escrow to sell or buy a home. Just as The bad Realtor will give their own money away by taking a discount listing selling your house, they’ll use the same negotiation skills when your money is on the table. During the inspections and request for repairs, the agent will encourage you to close escrow as quickly as possible just as they did to get the listing from you.

The same is true if you’re using a bad Realtor to buy a home. They may be successful at finding a house you fall in love with, but once you’re in escrow they will fail at helping you save money. What about the property systems? The roof and plumbing have serviceable life spans, did you know that? Do you think the bad Realtor knows that? The bad Realtor wants to get through the transaction as quickly as possible and move on before you realize they’re a fraud. And you can rest assured a weak Realtor won’t be helpful to the appraiser or during underwriting when your loan has outstanding conditions which need attention.

In conclusion

The real estate agent that you pick will determine your overall experience when buying or selling a property. By following the above-mentioned tips, you will be able to avoid hiring Realtors who don’t have an honest understanding of the industry. Instead, you’ll be on the right track to hiring a top producing Realtor who will assist you on the buying side to save money and on the seller side to keep every dollar in your pocket.

Other helpful articles we like:

How to pick a real estate agent – Picking a Realtor is one of the most important tasks when you are selling a home. Make sure you conduct a series of interviews with multiple Real Estate agents.

Why it matters what real estate agent you hire – This post discusses why you should take the time to interview more than one agent to help you buy or sell a home.

Top Interview Questions To Ask When Hiring a Top Realtor®  – If you are buying or selling your home it is critical to your success to be asking the right questions when hiring a professional agent.

You Hire the Wrong Realtor? It’s not uncommon for sellers and buyers to hire the wrong Realtor, but a majority have no clue. Here are 8 ways to determine if you hired a bad agent.

Choose your realtor carefully – In this article, you will find 5 valuable pieces of information to help you choose the perfect real estate agent.

How to sell your house without paying for updates

The Shelhamer Real Estate Group | Realpro Eastside is a real estate brokerage working with home buyers and sellers on the Eastside of Los Angeles including, Highland Park, El Sereno, Mount Washington, South Pasadena, Glassell Park, Eagle Rock, Echo Park, Silverlake, Los Feliz, and the Hollywood Hills East.

David Clark - 805.280.1425​

I’m David Clark, a Californian, real estate advisor REALTOR®, and writer for the Shelhamer Real Estate Group located in Northeast Los Angeles California, the fastest growing real estate market in Los Angeles County. Connect with me for further information about this article, and to add and optimize the value in your property. Look for me on Instagram: @sellingnortheastla

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Mls Disclaimer:

Based on information from the / Association of REALTORS® (alternatively, from the /MLS) as of [date the AOR/MLS data was obtained]. All data, including all measurements and calculations of area, is obtained from various sources and has not been, and will not be, verified by broker or MLS. All information should be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. Properties may or may not be listed by the office/agent presenting the information


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Glenn Shelhamer is a licensed real estate broker DRE: 01950995 in the state of California and abides by equal housing opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. To reach The Shelhamer Real Estate Group’s office manage please call (310) 913-9477.

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