Choosing a Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

How To Choose The Right Real Estate Agent To Sell Your Home

When you have decided it’s time to sell your home, your choice of real estate agent could be more important than you realize. 

If you hire a real estate agent who doesn’t represent your interests as well as they should, there could be serious negative consequences. Your home could sit on the market for far longer, causing you more stress, and finally selling for less than it should.

But there are things you can do to avoid the common pitfalls you could stumble into when hiring a real estate agent. We take a look at the steps you should take before you choose the right real estate agent. 

What Should You Avoid?

When you are looking for a real estate agent to represent your interests, you should avoid those agents who have a record of representing both the buyer and the seller.

A dual agency agreement can allow the same Realtor to represent both sides of the transaction, but there are inevitable conflicts of interest. The agent may offer a lower commission since they are paid twice, but it is still unlikely to be in your best interests to agree to this arrangement.

This agreement could dissuade your agent from marketing your home as well as it should be. This way they are more likely to find a buyer themselves and get twice the commission if they don’t already have a buyer’s agent.

This can result in your home selling for less than it really should, potentially losing you many thousands of dollars. Agents that are more interested in their commission than finding the right buyer for your home should be avoided.

These dual-agency agreements are not legal in some states, but if you do live in a state where it’s legal, you should be wary.

Comparing Top Real Estate Agents Online

It has never been easier to find the information online to help you choose the right listing agent. Some simple online searches will help you avoid making a costly mistake when looking for an agent.

Client Reviews

You should be able to easily find customer feedback about real estate agents in your area. Search for the agent’s name to find their website, review pages, social media content, and property listings. This will also show you how and whether they are good at marketing themselves and listings online.

The feedback you find about the listing agent can tell you a lot. The more positive reviews the better, but also look for patterns in the feedback.

Do multiple reviews mention how well the agent communicated, negotiated, or responded when required? You might find negative comments about these attributes even in generally positive reviews, possibly indicating potential problems.

While this type of research can take some time, it is important to understand the service you will be getting before you sign a contract with an agent.

Recent Listings

Look for listings from the agent for the past few years. This will show you the agent’s experience and how familiar they are with selling homes in your area. You may discover that your preferred agent doesn’t have experience selling in your price range near where you live.

The agent might be more familiar with selling homes in a different price range to yours. Even if they are fairly familiar with the area, selling a home in a different price range could be more of a challenge to them. It might be better to find the right real estate agent who is more experienced in selling comparable homes.

When you find current listings, check the days on market. This should give some indication of how good they are at finding a buyer when compared to other agents in the same area.

Highlighted Agents

On some websites like Zillow, you might find highlighted or premium real estate agents. While you might assume that these agents will be a better choice, that might not be the case. Typically any agent can pay to have themselves highlighted on these websites and it doesn’t mean that they are the right agent to sell a house or any better because of it.

Warning Signs to Look For in a Listing Agent

When you are choosing a real estate agent, you need to be aware of the potential warning signs. 

A Lack of Experience

Even if the agent has sold some homes in your area, it is better to use an agent with more experience. You should look for an agent who sells multiple homes every month in your area. They will have a tried and tested marketing strategy and system that works well. Their experience and marketing budget should help you find a buyer quickly, whereas a less experienced agent will not have these resources.

Bad Marketing

When researching a listing agent online, pay attention to their marketing efforts. Are the homes they list well staged and photographed? Are there listings promoted on social media?

If the listing agent isn’t marketing well for their current clients, it should be a red flag for you.

Bill Gassett of Maximum Real Estate Exposure shared the following excellent advice.

Market Knowledge

Perhaps you find an agent that has great customer feedback, but if they don’t have a good track record of selling in your area they may lack the necessary local knowledge. They won’t have the connections or understanding of the particular local real estate market conditions, which could lead to your home selling for less. 

Difficult Negotiations

Negotiation is an important skill to have when you are an agent. If you hire an agent without these necessary skills, it might not only be the price that isn’t as good as it should be.

Many aspects of the purchase contract can be negotiated, and if your agent isn’t good at this you will lose out. It might mean you don’t get the timeline you want, or find yourself paying extra costs to keep the sale on track.


Your agent should never lie to you or omit information that you should know.

Perhaps you believe your home is worth a certain value that isn’t realistic. A bad agent might agree to list the home for more than they know it will sell for. Though it seems like you are getting what you want if this happens, it could mean your home is left sitting in the listings until you agree to drop the price to attract a buyer.

You need to have trust in your agent and their advice during the sales process. If something doesn’t feel right and it seems they aren’t being completely honest with you, go with your instincts.

You should also avoid an agent that tries to push you into making a decision quickly. An agent who is too focused on what they want may try to pressure you so they get what they want. This may well be at the expense of what you need when selling your home. 

Interviewing Local Real Estate Agents

When you have found some agents that you think you can work with, you should interview them. While some home sellers consider this an unnecessary step, avoiding this could be something you regret later.

Many home sellers pick the first agent they meet, but if you interview a few different agents, you will better understand the right choice. You might find more differences between agents than you imagined, and it will help you find the best qualified Realtor to sell your house.

But before you start talking with agents, you need to consider what things will be most important to you. For instance, how much involvement and say do you want in the marketing process? How would you like the agent to contact you and how frequently? Perhaps you are looking for an agent who will take charge of the process to get the outcome you want. 

Some of the questions you might want to ask could include:

How much experience do you have selling homes in my area?

The agent should have experience selling your type of home in your area. This will show that they understand the local market and should, therefore, be able to find a buyer faster.

What is your plan to market my home?

Asking this question will show you how much effort the agent will put into finding a buyer, and give you some indication of how successful they will be. When you interview multiple agents you may find that they don’t approach marketing the same way.

For instance, some Realtors like using an open house to market homes. However, this is a strategy that rarely works and is often used by the agent to market themselves and their business more than your home. There are also potential dangers when you invite unaccompanied strangers to tour your home.

Do you vet potential buyers?

If the agent doesn’t vet potential buyers there is a greater chance that the sale will fall through and the home return to the market. This often happens when the buyer is unable to finance the purchase.

The agent may require a preapproval letter or even contact the buyer’s lender to check they are approved. They might even say that they will find out the buyer’s debt-to-income ratio, something that will show whether they qualify for the loan they need to buy your home.

How should I prepare my home to sell?

The impression your home gives to potential buyers can be vitally important. It can affect how quickly you find a buyer and how much you sell the property for.

While there are many changes you can make and things you can do to your home to improve the appearance, some will be a lot more beneficial than others. Some things are also more cost-effective, and your agent should be able to offer many suggestions that cost nothing or almost nothing. 

They might suggest decluttering your home, focusing your attention on certain rooms, or perhaps repainting your front door. The advice they offer will show just how experienced and knowledgeable they are.

How much do you charge?

When the sale closes you have to pay the closing costs. A large part of the closing costs is the agent’s real estate commission, so this could be an important part of your decision-making. You can use it when comparing agents, though it isn’t necessarily always the best option to go for the cheapest commission.

Agents with low commissions might not do as much or try as hard to find a buyer. If they charge less commission, they will have less to spend on marketing your home, and they may not be as focused on negotiating the best price when they do find a buyer.

You can also try asking if they will lower their commission. Though you might want them to agree to a lower commission, this isn’t necessarily the best answer.

It is better to find an agent who justifies why they are worth the commission they charge. This indicates that they believe their service is worth paying for and should mean they will try harder and put in more effort to find a buyer.

But if they simply agree to a reduction straight away, without trying to defend their position, perhaps they won’t put in the effort to defend your interests either. 

You should also ask what is included in the price and if you can cancel the contract early.

The agent’s listing agreement is normally an exclusive contract that could last up to six months. If you aren’t happy with the performance of the Realtor, you won’t be able to do anything about it until the contract runs out unless you’re allowed to cancel. 

Ask for references

Ideally, you would want to see references before you hire an agent. Though if you have read a lot of customer feedback perhaps it isn’t necessary, but otherwise, you should ask for recent references.

How much should my home be listed for?

Though you might like hearing your home is worth more than you thought, choosing the agent suggesting the highest list price isn’t a good idea. It might mean that they don’t really know the market or they are just trying to entice you to sign with them.

To find the correct price to sell your home, the agent should carry out a comparative market analysis. This compares the sales price of similar homes to find the value of yours. If the agent has a wealth of experience selling in the area, they might have a good idea without doing this, however.

If you choose the agent with the highest valuation, you could find that your home sits on the market for far longer with little interest from buyers. If you interview multiple real estate agents, high valuations will stand out.

The Difference Between Realtors and Real Estate Agents

While the terms ‘Realtor’ and ‘real estate agent’ are often used interchangeably, they aren’t the same. A Realtor is a real estate agent, but a real estate agent isn’t necessarily a Realtor.

Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors, meaning they have to operate their businesses to higher standards. They have to follow a code of ethics that regulates the way they treat their clients and other real estate agents. So, when comparing your options, choosing a Realtor over a real estate agent might be better.

Final Thoughts on How to Chose a Realtor to Sell a House

Many homeowners sign up with the first agent they meet with, but some of those will regret that decision. Your home is probably your most valuable asset so the consequences of making a mistake are much more significant to your finances.

If you do some research and put more thought into your choice of Realtor, you could have less stress, find a buyer faster, and sell for the price you want.

How To Choose The Right Real Estate Agent To Sell Your Home

How To Find a Realtor to Sell Your Home

About the author: This article “How to Choose an Agent for Selling Your Home” was written by Luke Skar of As the Social Media Strategist, his role is to provide original content for all of their social media profiles as well as generate new leads from his website.

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Filed under: Real Estate

Luke Skar

Luke Skar is the web developer and content strategist for Currently working for NRL Mortgage which serves 47 states including Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Florida. Guided by his 20-plus years of various mortgage marketing experience, Luke provides top-quality SEO services, effective social media management, and web development and maintenance. Luke’s career in the mortgage industry began back in 2001, as a loan processor. After becoming a loan officer for a number of years, Luke now runs To ensure that all the information he posts is fresh, accurate, and up-to-date, Luke relies on the knowledge which his years of dedication to keeping up with the constant change that the mortgage industry provides.


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