August 26, 2023
5 mins

Choosing a Realtor: Being on the Lookout for Red Flags

A woman with glasses holding a key to a buyer's new home
Summary.Choosing a realtor is a pivotal home-buying decision. Realtors of questionable character or intention can be the difference between a good and home purchasing experience. This article discusses how to choose the right realtor. We then explore red...

Choosing a realtor is a key decision when buying or selling a home. A good realtor will guide you through the complicated process, protect your interests, and ensure everything goes smoothly. Reliability and trustworthiness are critical.

However, not all realtors are professionally equal. Being aware of red flags indicating a lack of genuine representation is essential. The following are some common negative characteristics to watch for when evaluating your realtor.

Experts expect the buyer's market to improve in early 2024 because of better interest rates.


How do you choose a realtor?

Choosing a realtor that fits your needs is essential. Your friends and family will undoubtedly have realtors they recommend. But what worked for them during their homebuying experience might not work for you. The vetting process can become very personal.

The most critical factor in choosing a realtor is communication and responsiveness. Especially if you are a first-time homebuyer, you will have questions. Your realtor should be highly responsive and be willing to answer your questions expertly yet respectfully.

Peace of mind is vital during viewing, buying, and closing. Your real estate agent's knowledge of the market must be well-known. You can determine this by searching them online and reading their reviews.

Once you narrow down your list, take the time to interview each realtor. During the interview, assess communication and market knowledge, identify any pushy sales traits or honesty issues, and test their negotiation skills. When ready, sign a formal agreement with your chosen realtor and continue finding a home.

Red flags when choosing a realtor

An illustration of a young couple engaged in the home-buying process

Like many sales-driven industries, real estate has good eggs and bad apples. If you come across an aggressive buying or selling agent, walk away. You do not need the stress of their personality and the association with their likely reputations.

The following are some red flags to watch for when choosing a realtor.

Lack of communication and responsiveness

You're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe even more than a million. Could you imagine the person responsible for transacting that money being unresponsive?

In the world of real estate, there are no unanswered calls or emails. Returned calls are fine, as are slight delays in email responsive times. However, any lack of updates or feedback on property showings or offerings is a major red flag.

Be sure to demand strong communication throughout the buying or selling process politely. You are the agent's customer. They should treat you as such.

Lack of market knowledge and expertise

You would not get specialized surgery from a surgeon outside that specialty. So, it would be best not to buy or sell a home through an agent without expert-level knowledge.

At your first meeting with your agent, they should have accurate and up-to-date market information. They should also understand local neighbourhoods and current property values (called “comparables”).

Any lack of understanding of current real estate trends or regulations is a big “no.”

Pushy or aggressive sales tactics

If you are working with an agent pressuring you to make quick decisions or accept questionable offers, walk away. This also applies to over-promising and under-delivering services.

Many newer agents focus solely on closing the deal rather than meeting client needs. Choose an agent who understands you and your needs. This agent will put much effort into securing the best deal and more favourable terms for you.

Lack of Transparency and Honesty

As with everything in life, dishonesty has no place in real estate transactions. Whether withholding important information about the property or transaction or misrepresenting property features and conditions, honesty is critical.

Agents failing to disclose conflicts of interest or potential deal risk are a liability to you. Do not risk your money on ambiguous deals with shady people.

Inadequate Negotiation Skills

Negotiation is genuinely an art. However, you can also plan and calculate negotiations. When negotiating with someone, your agent should have a plan ready before negotiations.

Failing to advocate effectively for you is a red flag. Settling for unfavourable conditions is a warning. And not defending your interests is a flag. Find another agent to work with.

When is the best time to buy a house in Canada?

The ideal time to purchase a house in Canada relies on the economy, market demand, and mortgage rates. As of July 2023, the Canadian real estate market is stabilizing, except for Calgary, which is experiencing exceptional demand.

Experts expect the buyer's market to improve in early 2024 because of better interest rates. This improvement will likely generate excitement about the country's real estate market growth.

The season can also have some effect on the market. Springtime is exciting, and buyers are looking to close on and move into their new homes before summer. Winter makes moving into a new home difficult, so people prefer to do it in other seasons.

Before purchasing a new home, research and monitor home prices and mortgage rates for at least six months. This approach will give you a good idea of the market's direction.


Choosing the right realtor is essential for a successful and stress-free real estate experience. Consider these warning signs to ensure a successful property transaction and evaluate your realtor's performance.

Remember to communicate your expectations and find a new realtor if you feel they aren't representing your interests well. Having a dependable and honest real estate agent is of utmost importance.

A good agent helps you navigate the complex process, supports your interests, and ensures a smooth transaction. Not all agents are the same; it's essential to know warning signs that could mean they don't support you.

Readers are leaders! We have many more great real estate and homebuying articles on Creditpicks. Learn more about mortgages, interest rates, and Canadian economics by browsing our posts.

Happy house hunting!

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