Top 12 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Your Real Estate Agent

Common Mistakes Made By Sellers

The process can seem daunting when you’re ready to sell your home. You want to find the right real estate agent in Toongabbie who will help you get the best price for your home and make the process as smooth as possible. But with so many agents out there, how can you be sure you’re making the right choice?

Here are the top 10 mistakes to avoid when hiring a real estate agent:

MISTAKE 1 – Choos­ing An Agent Purely on What They Tell you is Your Property’s Highest Poten­tial Selling Price.

Home sellers make two of the biggest mis­takes when choos­ing an agent by basing their decision on the following:

A) An agent who gives the highest POTENTIAL price for their home

B) An agent who charges the low­est com­mis­sion

When you’re ready to sell your property, choosing an agent who will give you an accurate estimate of your home’s highest potential selling price is essential. Some agents may inflate their estimates to get your business (this is called buying the listing), but this can cost you money in the long run. A good agent will give you a realistic assessment of your home’s value and help you price it accordingly.

Remem­ber how­ever, that what we are look­ing at here is how to hire an out­stand­ingly com­pet­ent agent. Those two cri­teria have abso­lutely no bear­ing on hir­ing a good agent. This is an expens­ive mis­take that home sellers repeatedly make during the selling process. Quite nat­ur­ally, as a home seller, you want the highest pos­sible price for your home. The tempta­tion to advert­ise your prop­erty at your DREAM price to avoid under­sell­ing it might seem like the per­fect answer, but it isn’t. 

Make sure they show you a comparative market analysis (C.M.A.). A CMA is a report that compares your home’s value to similar properties in the area. This report is essential in helping you price your home correctly. For example, if you overprice your home, it could sit on the market for months without selling. On the other hand, if you underprice it, you could end up leaving money on the table.

The best way to ensure you’re pricing your home correctly is to work with an experienced agent who can provide a C.M.A, which shows market trends and recent sales with graphs.

MISTAKE 2 – Allow­ing your EMOTION to dic­tate the advert­ised selling price (The BIGGEST mis­take you can make!)

As a homeowner, one of the worst things you can do is allow your emotions to dictate the advertised selling price of a property. This is a huge mistake and will almost always result in the property being sold for less than it’s worth and added stress sitting on the market for an unknown amount of time.

The reason for this is simple: when you’re emotional about a property, you’re not thinking clearly. You may be attached to the property for personal reasons or desperate to sell it quickly. Either way, this clouded thinking will result in you advertising the property at a lower price than it’s actually worth.

So, how do you avoid this mistake? It’s actually quite simple: take a step back, and look at the property objectively. Forget about your emotional attachment to it, and think about what someone else would be willing to pay for it. This is the property’s true market value and is what you should be advertising it at.

Remember, your advertised price is not the final price you will sell for; it’s all up to a highly skilled negotiator to get you the best price on the best terms!

An agent will have accel­erated access to data on com­pa­ra­ble sales (even ones where they sold off the market that you would not know about normally) in your neighbourhood and can give you an accu­rate pic­ture of what sim­i- lar homes are selling for. They will also be able to advertise and market your home effectively to potential buyers and use their pre-qualified “hot buyers” list, helping you to get the best possible price for your property.

The buyer who makes you an offer is the only per­son whose opin­ion counts for any­thing and will establish what they are willing to pay for your home.

MISTAKE 3 – Choos­ing An Agent-Based On Com­mis­sion

So remem­ber this before fall­ing for the tempta­tion of hir­ing the cheapest agent. Real estate agents, just like other pro­fes­sion­als, are vastly dif­fer­ent. 20% of real estate agents do 80% of the work. Gen­er­ally speak­ing, it’s bet­ter to go with an agent from a com­pany with an excellent track record and who can nego­ti­ate extremely well. This way, you stand a bet­ter chance of gain­ing greater expos­ure to more poten­tial buy­ers and a bet­ter price on good terms.

There are two common types of commission structures: fixed rate and variable rate. A fixed-rate commission means that the agent’s fee is set at a certain percentage, regardless of the final sale price. A variable rate commission means the agent’s fee will vary depending on the final sale price.

The type of commission structure you choose should be based on your individual needs and circumstances. If you are selling in a hot market, where homes are selling quickly and for high prices, then a variable rate commission may be a good option. This way, you will only have to pay more if your home sells for more than you expected. However, if you are selling in a slower market or are still determining what to expect, then a fixed-rate commission may be a better option. This way, you will know exactly how much you will need to pay your agent upfront.

Have A Think About This….

So instead of focus­ing on the com­mis­sion alone, you need to ask your­self can the agent stand apart from the com­pet­i­tion on ser­vice, know­ledge, and nego­ti­ation skills.

MISTAKE 4 – Hir­ing, a real estate agent, based on emo­tion rather than skill

When hiring a real estate agent, it is important to base your decision on skill rather than emotion. For example, an agent with the right skills can navigate the complex world of real estate and help you sell your property. 

Look at their track record. Don’t leave the sale of some­thing as valu­able as your home in the hands of a cheap agent with poor Eng­lish or one with min­imal exper­i­ence.

On the other hand, an agent who is not skilled may end up costing you time and money. While hiring an agent based on your emotional connection to them may be tempting, it is important to remember that this is a business transaction. Hiring an agent based on their skill set will ensure that you get the best possible service.

Hir­ing friends or fam­ily who are real estate agents can be par­tic­u­larly tricky and cre­ate ten­sion in the rela­tion­ship.

MISTAKE 5 – Hir­ing An Agent Who Is Poor At Negotiating

If you’re considering hiring an agent to help with your real estate needs, you may want to reconsider if they need to improve at negotiating. A good agent can help you get the best price for your home, whether you’re buying or selling. They should also be able to negotiate on your behalf if any issues arise during the transaction. 

However, if your agent needs to improve at negotiating, it could cost you money in the long run. So, for example, you may not get the best price for your home, and you may have to deal with more problems. 

Don’t Hire A Slick Sales­per­son; Look for a Good Nego­ti­ator

Hir­ing an agent who is a good nego­ti­ator can eas­ily add up to 10% of the final sale price of your home. If your home is val­ued at $500,000, that can mean get­ting an extra $50,000 on the final sale price just by hir­ing a good nego­ti­ator. Instead, try to find out just how skilled your agent is in nego­ti­ations by cross-examining them on the sub­ject. 

MISTAKE 6 – Choose a real estate agent who is up to date with technological trends

As a homebuyer or seller, you want to ensure you’re working with a real estate agent who is up to date with the latest technology. After all, the real estate industry has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, thanks to the rise of online tools and mobile apps.

Stud­ies show that agents who rely solely on ‘Open Houses’ account for just 2% of total home sales (a sur­vey car­ried out in 2013 by R.E.A. group). You want to hire an agent who is up to speed with the latest and most rel­ev­ant tech­no­logy. 

First, check to see if your agent has an active social media presence. This is an excellent way to gauge their level of engagement with current technology trends. For example, does your agent maintain a blog? Are they active on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn? If so, that’s a good sign.

Next, ask your agent about the technology they use in their work. For example, do they have a CRM (customer relationship management) system? What kind of software do they use for listing properties and managing transactions? The more tech-savvy agents are usually well-versed in using various tools and systems.

Finally, pay attention to how responsive and accessible your agent is. Do they respond quickly to your texts or emails? Are they available 24/7? Good agents are always available when you need them, including being reachable via the latest communication channels.

Many agents under­es­tim­ate the power of video. Agents who neg­lect to use this vital sales tool are cer­tainly lag­ging behind the times. If your agent doesn’t use video, it should alert you that you are bet­ter served look­ing else­where for a more technology-savvy agent. Buy­ers nowadays use Google maps to loc­ate neigh­bor­hood prop­erty that’s up for sale, and they use smartphones to look for homes. The more tech­no­logy and web­sites an agent uses, the higher the chances of meet­ing and enga­ging poten­tial buyers.

MISTAKE 7- Stick­ing to Tra­di­tional Advertising Methods

We are liv­ing in times heavily reliant on technology, and gone are the days when agents relied on simple clas­si­fied ads to sell houses. Nearly all buyers search for properties on the internet – which opens up a wide vari­ety of ways to search for property. This is not to say that agents should com­pletely do away with tra­di­tional advert­ising meth­ods; instead, they should incor­por­ate newer meth­ods such as inter­net list­ings, social media, vir­tual tours, and video, to name a few.

If you are targeting a younger demographic, then digital methods may be more effective as this is where they are most active. However, if you are targeting an older demographic, then traditional methods may be more effective as they are more likely to be familiar with them.

So it is crucial to look at both traditional and modern advertising methods.

Advertising questions to ask your real estate agent:

  • Before hir­ing, ask to see the agent’s digital mar­ket­ing plan (they should have a whole strategy of how they will mar­ket your property using both traditional and modern advertising methods)
  • What mar­ket­ing plat­forms and sales tools will they use to sell your property?
  • Ask the agent if they are advert­ising using major real-estate web­sites, Face­book, Linked-In and Google ad words.

MISTAKE 8 – Hir­ing an Inex­per­i­enced Agent

Hir­ing, an inex­per­i­enced agent, can have ter­rible con­sequences. An inex­per­i­enced agent can give you bad pri­cing advice, per­form inef­fect­ive mar­ket­ing or waste too much time with buy­ers that are not even qual­i­fied prop­erly. 

You want an experienced professional who knows what they’re doing. Ask your potential agent how long they’ve been in business and what kinds of transactions they typically handle. If they don’t seem knowledgeable or confident, keep looking.

You might be sur­prised to find that the com­mis­sion charged by a good agent is not much dif­fer­ent from that charged by a bad agent, so take your time and do some prior research to get your money’s worth.

MISTAKE 9 – Not Getting Everything in Writing

Verbal agreements are not enough when it comes to hiring a real estate agent. It’s important to have everything in writing when you’re selling your home. Make sure you clearly understand the agent’s fees and commission before you sign anything. Getting a copy of the agent’s marketing plan is also a good idea. This will give you an idea of their plan to market your home. If you have any specific requests, be sure to get them in writing. 

Your real estate agent should be able to provide you with a contract that outlines the terms of the sale. If there are any contingencies, such as the buyer getting financing, those should also be spelled out. This way, there are no surprises, and everyone is on the same page. This protects you, the agent, and the buyer if misunderstandings occur.

MISTAKE 10 – Not Knowing Your Rights

As a consumer, you have certain rights when working with a real estate agent. For instance, you have the right to know how much commission they’re being paid and whether they have any financial interests in the property you’re looking at buying or selling. 

Your real estate agent is legally obligated to act in your best interests and must disclose any information that could affect the sale of your home. For example, if the agent knows of a problem with the property that could lower its value, they must tell you about it.

The agent should also keep you updated on any offers made on your home and feedback from potential buyers. In addition, you have the right to accept or reject any offer and should never feel pressured into making a decision.

Before signing on the dotted line, ensure you know what those rights are.

MISTAKE 11 – Not Communicating Your Needs: 

Your real estate agent is there to help you sell your home, but they can only do that if they know your needs. Be sure to communicate your expectations, concerns, and any other relevant information upfront so they can help you in the best way possible. 

MISTAKE 12 – Not Trusting Your Gut: 

In the end, it’s essential to trust your gut when hiring a real estate agent. You know your home better than anyone, and you’ll be the one living there through the entire process. So it’s natural to want to get the most money possible for your home, but working with an agent you don’t fully trust could end up costing you in the long run. 

A good agent will understand your concerns and work with you to get the best price for your home. If you’re uncomfortable with your agent, feel free to look for someone else. Most importantly, you feel confident in their abilities and comfortable with their guidance.

If something feels off or like they’re not being sincere, chances are they’re not the right agent for you. So go with your gut and hire someone else.

Char­ac­ter­ist­ics of a Good Real Estate Agent

Here are some of the char­ac­ter­ist­ics you should see in an excellent real estate agent:

  • Exper­i­ence. Hir­ing, an inex­per­i­enced agent, means that they will end up learn­ing the busi­ness at your expense, so go for an exper­i­enced one.
  • Mar­ket­ing. The inter­net is the key and can make or break your dream price. Make sure they can show you case stud­ies, and they appear on the first page of google (search for your agent’s name and com­pany via Google).
  • Edu­ca­tion. Ask pro­spect­ive agents to fur­nish you with cer­ti­fied cop­ies of their dip­lo­mas, degrees or other certification.
  • Hon­esty. Your agent should be hon­est and truth­ful. If you have nag­ging doubts about their integ­rity, trust your intuition.
  • Net­work­ing. An agent with a huge net­work of con­tacts is much more likely to be suc­cess­ful in this business.
  • Nego­ti­at­ing Skills. This is crit­ical. The more suc­cess­ful your agent is at the art of nego­ti­at­ing, the more likely you are to get a reasonable price for your property.
  • Good Com­mu­nic­ator. Excel­lent com­mu­nic­a­tion skills and ease of avail­ab­il­ity are import­ant qual­it­ies in a good agent.


When hiring a real estate agent, you must do your research and avoid making common mistakes. Check their credentials, get a written agreement, understand their role, communicate your needs, interview multiple agents, check references, and trust your gut instinct. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect real estate agent for your needs.

Our team at Elders Toongabbie have a wide range of houses for sale and has over 20 years of experience selling local properties for our clients. We can ensure professional & experienced expertise when selling your property. If you have a property you’d like to sell, contact our team today!

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