I have been selling homes full-time for over 21 years. I don't know everything, but I can offer a few lessons from my career which may help you as a home buyer or seller:
First, a good Realtor has access to a variety of lenders. Agents truly want you to qualify for a mortgage (or bring cash, if you can, of course). If you are not able to get qualified after speaking with a couple of lenders, switching agents won't magically improve your financial situation. Saving more money and working on your credit will.
A good Realtor will tell you the truth about your situation, whether you are buying or selling. If it's not the right time to buy, or if you have been essentially priced out of the local market barring access to additional resources, a good agent will not waste your time or mislead you.
The same is true when you're selling a home. Professional agents will give you the "straight scoop" about your home's market value. If you are looking to sell and you choose to speak to multiple agents, it's hard to stay objective when one of them tells you a much higher price than the data will actually support. I have seen this firsthand several times this year alone, with listings I chose not to take, and with a couple I didn't get.
I think it's a mistake to overprice your home, so I don't just tell my clients what they want to hear, unless it happens to be the truth.
This business is challenging, no doubt. It can be lucrative, but it's not as easy as the general public probably thinks. In real estate, it's possible to do everything right and still collect zero income. Interestingly, it's also possible to do things incorrectly and still make big money. I see it frequently.
Integrity in business is in short supply, and it's not always easy to maintain, especially when it involves hurting someone's dream. We strive to be upfront and honest even when it means losing sales. I have talked a few clients out of making big mistakes with purchases recently. Relationships are more important than any individual sale.
I would love the opportunity to help with any Austin, Texas real estate needs you may have. Feel free to contact me anytime.