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Picking a Real Estate Agent

9 Seller Mistakes When Picking a Real Estate Agent

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Whether you’re selling your first home or your 20th, it’s crucial for you to know the common (and not so common) mistakes that sellers make when hiring a real estate agent.


1. Assuming all real estate agents are the same (Fact: we are not)

All real estate agents in Ontario complete the same initial schooling to receive a license. This, however, does not mean that we all operate the same way. Obtaining a real estate license is like learning all the rules of golf.  Unless you pick up a club, it doesn’t help much.

Once licensed, it’s up to each agent to continue learning, to choose how they would like to operate, to determine how they spend their money, and to decide how they will deal with clients and other realtors. As a consumer, you need to be very careful when selecting representation. An excellent place to start is by reading online reviews. If an agent has many negative reviews or no reviews at all, it may be wise to consider other options. You also want to ensure the agent you choose works full-time in the industry. Some agents are “part-timers,” working a full-time job elsewhere, while fitting ‘the real estate thing’ in on the side. These agents won’t be able to dedicate the time, energy, or expertise you require. (More on this later…)


2. Assuming all agents have the same marketing plan (Fact: we do not)

Failing to hire an agent with an excellent marketing plan WILL cost you.  A highly effective marketing plan ensures we portray your home in the best way, to the largest group of people, in the shortest time. Placing your home on the MLS and putting up a “For Sale” sign is not enough. You can read more about what we do here.


3. Picking an agent because they offer the lowest commission

Have you heard the saying, “You get what you pay for?”

This applies when selling your home. When an agent offers a very low commission rate, it can mean a few things.

  • They don’t see value in the service they offer, so they discount it to compete on price alone.
  • They don’t spend enough money marketing your home.
  • They are desperate for the listing because they need money.
  • They are poor negotiators and are letting you know in advance. If they can’t negotiate their own commission, how can they negotiate top dollar for you?

This is not to say all agents who offer low commission are bad at their jobs. There are exceptions to every rule. Be sure to read reviews, clarify what services they are offering, and compare apples to apples.  The key is not to allow commission to be the only factor in making your decision.


4. Hiring the agent who offers to list your home at the highest price

You may lean toward hiring the one who suggests listing your home thousands higher than any other agent. This may sound fantastic – but caution is in order. There are several reasons an agent may offer an unrealistic listing price:

  • They are inexperienced and don’t know the market. If this is the case, they may be sincere in their suggestion. But beware of sacrificing the benefit of experience when selling your largest asset.
  • They are trying to “buy” the listing. Once you’re in the contract, they wear you down on the price and waste valuable time on the market. We suggest listing at market value, or even a little below. Read more about the dangers of overpricing your home here.


5. Hiring a part-time agent

Selling your home requires the full attention of the agent you hire. Your representative is responsible for many time-sensitive tasks before, during, and after the transaction. A part-time agent will struggle to make the time and energy to do the job wholeheartedly. You need a team that includes at least one full-time agent with partners or support staff to sell your home with the best outcome.


6. Hiring a solo agent

Selling a home is no minor task. With the right amount of help, a solo agent can handle selling a home. Issues arise, however, when you’re not their only client. Agents who work alone can quickly reach their working capacity. When life happens, as it inevitably will, tying up their time, it will become difficult for them to return calls promptly and provide the time and attention each individual client requires. Working with a solid team of professionals solves this problem. They can help each other ensure that your needs are met, and that you never have a gap in your service. Wonder what it’s like to work with us? You can read our reviews here.


7. Hiring an agent that has been in the business a really long time*

*This may or may not be a mistake.

On the one hand, they have a wealth of experience to rely on. On the other hand, at times this strength can become a real weakness. Real estate has changed dramatically in the recent years, from the way we market homes to the way we complete transactions. Some older agents are not keeping up with new technology and market conditions, and tend to be a little complacent when it comes to keeping up with trends. Agents who depend only on their own length of time in the industry are more likely to “drop the ball,” and that’s a bad thing. You want representatives with a wealth of experience and knowledge, but who are also competent and keeping their skills sharp.


8. Hiring an agent who doesn’t use DocuSign

DocuSign and other electronic signature apps have drastically changed the way Realtors operate.  It’s hard to believe some agents still don’t use this technology. DocuSign allows buyers and sellers to sign documents electronically instead of meeting in person. Not only is it incredibly efficient, it’s an absolute necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before you hire anyone to sell your home, make sure they offer this option.


9. Hiring an agent who just tells you what you want to hear

This “shady” tactic is as old as time. The intent is to get you to “sign on the dotted line,” all the while holding back helpful and honest information. Navigating a successful sale requires open, honest communication. Some information is not easy to relay but it needs to be shared. Look for an agent who’s willing to say what needs to be said, even if it’s hard to hear at the moment. It’s a sign that they will be open and transparent throughout the transaction.



Other Articles In This Series To Help Sellers:

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