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How to deal with real estate agents when selling

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Samantha is a Sydney-based real estate and home improvement writer. She is currently Head of Marketing at OpenAgent.

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If you find yourself in the situation of having to sell a property, enlisting the help of a real estate agent will likely be something you do first. 

The partnership formed with your estate agent plays a pivotal role in the success of this journey. These agents are not only guides but also the linchpin of your property's transition to new ownership. 

However, navigating this collaboration can be a two-sided coin, offering both reassurance and challenges. Questions like "How do you effectively engage with your agent?" and "What's the secret to fostering a productive partnership?" are often at the forefront of a seller's mind. 

As you embark on your real estate voyage with your agent, it's essential to strike a balance between cooperation and making informed decisions. Read on to find out how you can do this. 

Tips for dealing with agents when selling 

Here are some practical tips for dealing with real estate agents when selling your property listed below. 

Do your research 

As a first step, it’s crucial to find the right agent that can get the job done. 

You’re going to want to take your time to research and select a real estate agent who has experience and a proven track record in your local market. It’s a good idea to look for an agent that might even specialise in properties similar to yours. 

Some other things you’ll want to look for are their ideas for marketing plans, communication skills as well as their personality and passion for selling your property. 

If you’re looking to sell anytime soon, you can find a real estate agent based on your unique circumstances here

Have regular updates 

When selling a property, communication is key. Make sure to set clear expectations regarding the frequency of conversations and updates about the progress of your sale as well as the method of communication. 

These updates should include things such as feedback from potential buyers, progress on marketing efforts, and any adjustments made to the selling strategy. 

Don’t be a time-waster 

It’s important to respect your real estate agent's time and the efforts they put into marketing and selling your property. You should avoid making impulsive decisions that may lead to wasted time for both parties. 

Here’s how to minimise any time-wasting:

  • If you decide to cancel showings or open houses, communicate this in advance to prevent inconvenience.
  • Be prepared for property showings. Ensure your home is clean, well-maintained, and ready for potential buyers. Being disorganised or unprepared can waste valuable opportunities.
  • Stay committed to the selling process. Frequent changes of heart or hesitation in decision-making can lead to delays and lost opportunities.
  • Provide prompt responses to your agent's inquiries or requests. Delays in communication can hinder the progress of the sale.

Being respectful of your agent's time and making well-considered decisions can contribute to a smoother and more efficient selling process, benefiting both you and your agent.

Selling real estate without an agent

On the flip side, you may decide to sell your property without the help of an agent or often referred to as ‘for sale by owner’ (FSBO). By doing this, you’d follow the typical protocol such as:

  • Advertising and marketing your property 
  • Cleaning and decluttering 
  • Negotiations 
  • Arranging inspections

However, juggling all these responsibilities can be difficult, so finding a reliable agent to sell your home is recommended. 

Read more about selling your home without an agent here

Advantages of using a real estate agent 

Here are a handful of benefits of using a real estate agent in opposed to selling your house privately:

  • Limited market exposure: real estate agents have access to multiple listing services (MLS) and broad networks to market your property. Without an agent, your property may not reach as many potential buyers, reducing your chances of getting top offers.
  • Pricing challenges: determining the right listing price is crucial. You might overprice or underprice their property without the expertise of an agent, potentially leading to longer time on the market or lost profit.
  • Negotiation complexity: real estate transactions involve complex negotiations. Without an agent, you may be at a disadvantage when dealing with buyers, especially if they have their own agents who are skilled negotiators.
  • Understanding legal documents: real estate contracts are legally binding documents. Not understanding the legal aspects of the sale can lead to costly mistakes. Agents are well-versed in real estate laws and regulations.

What you shouldn’t say to a real estate agent when selling

There are also things that you should try and avoid saying or doing when dealing with your agent. These include:

  • Being unrealistic about pricing: avoid insisting on an unrealistically high price for your property. Trust your agent's expertise and rely on a competitive market analysis to set a reasonable asking price.
  • Micromanaging their marketing efforts: while it's important to be involved, avoid micromanaging every aspect of the marketing plan. Trust your agent to execute their strategies effectively.
  • Ignoring feedback: don't dismiss feedback from potential buyers. Constructive criticism or comments can provide valuable insights into what aspects of your property might need attention.
  • Negotiating directly with buyers: It's generally best to let your agent handle negotiations. Trying to negotiate directly with buyers can create complications and misunderstandings.
  • Impatience: selling a property can take time. Avoid being impatient and expecting instant results. Trust the process and be prepared for the duration it may take.