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Tips on Selling Your House or Property: How to Select a Real Estate Agent!

Updated on January 28, 2018
agvulpes profile image

Peter has never worked in Real Estate however has been involved in buying and selling properties for over 50 years.

Many Real Estate Agents to choose from

Too many real estate agents to choose from !
Too many real estate agents to choose from !

Real Estate Agents Are Everywhere

It does not matter how much your home is worth, be it $50,000 or $1,000,000 you deserve to get the best price for it when you decide to sell. You have more chance to accomplish this by selecting the best Real Estates Agent to handle the sale.

This article ( the first of three) is about the steps we took in finding the best Real Estate Agent to sell our property.

There were two major things that we took into consideration:

  • One was to obtain the best price,
  • The other step but no less important was to sell the property with the minimum amount of stress.

First : A bit of history

As you may have read on a Hub 'Living as a Family - Moving on' written by my better half Oliversmum here on HubPages we have reached the decision to 'move on'.

One big task in the process of 'moving on' is the selling of the 2 acre property we share with our family.

The reasons for selling the property are many and varied but primarily it is so that Oliversmum and myself and of course our gorgeous little dog Oliver can see more of our beautiful Australia while we still have the physical capacity to travel.


Well Oliversmum and I (and of course Oliver) have finally completed the transaction of selling our House and established ourselves in the house and location of our dreams. If you would like to read more about this please visit Oliversmum's Hub 'Living as a Family "Moved On" ' it is a great read:-)

Just as a teaser we had to clear out 2 acres of property. Items such as a Ride on Mower, many parts and tools that had been accumulated over many years of running a business.

We were very fortunate that we had a friend who fixes up bicycles etc and donates to charity, but that's enough go read the Hub lol :)

Who is going to Handle the sale

Having had some experience in buying and selling houses and properties over the years the task of finding a Real Estate Agent, they may be called a Realtor in other places, was gladly handed to me. So with the support of Oliversmum we started the journey of selection.

With the plethora of Real Estate Agents in our area we decided to lay out a plan of attack based on our previous experiences with Real Estate Agents.

As this plan seemed to work I would like to lay it out in an orderly fashion and you are welcome to use this plan or any part of the plan in your own efforts in selling your House or Property.

I must stress however, that I am not a legal expert and laws regarding Real Estate vary not just from Country to Country but from State to State.  Please check you local laws before implementing any of the suggestions I may put forward .

Rules of Engagement

Preliminaries to Selecting a Real Estate Agent

You might think I'm joking here but it really is a battle. Regardless of who your agent is he will tell you certain things. I will bet that the Agent will tell you two things:
1)The first statement goes something like:
"Dear Mr & Mrs Client I am not working for the purchaser I am working for you" (They missed the important part about 'your best interests")

Oh no, stop right there, regardless of what they say they are not working for you, they are working for their office/themselves and regardless of how much they get for your home the commission will not be that much different between the bottom and top price.

Here is an example:
Lets say you have put your house/property on the market to for $500,000 and the Real Estate Agent has been contracted by you at 2% of the selling price.

At the above figure that would give the Real Estate Office a nice commission of $10,000.

Now lets say that the $500,000 is at the top end of the price range for the area and the Agent is having trouble selling at that price. (He is not working hard enough) The Agent approaches you and says

"Oh Mr and Mrs Client we are having trouble selling your beautiful house and I feel that you are expecting to get too much for your house and you may have to lower your price"

Or using more flowery and persuasive words , the experienced Agents are very good at this aspect of their job. It is easier for them to get a client to lower their price than to work harder for a purchaser to pay the correct market value.

Ok, you feel sorry for these jerks, oops sorry, Agents and agree to drop the price $20,000 to $480,000 and surprise, surprise the Agent then goes out and sells your beautiful house at this price. Earning his Real Estate Office a commission of $9,600. A paltry difference of only $400 for the agent but it just cost you $20,000.
The Real Estate Agent is doing a 'job' for you just like a 'trades person' who may come and repair you washing machine or TV.

Do you watch the Current Affairs Shows? How much do you trust these people?

I hope this proves my point that the Agent is not working for you, he is working for himself!

2) The other statement goes something like:
"Mr & Mrs Client we have a/many purchasers looking for houses in this area and want a place just like your beautiful house"
Well surely that must be stating the obvious. What Real Estate Agent worth his salt would not have a list of prospective buyers? Tell me this. If you were a 'purchaser' looking for a house, would you put all you eggs in the one basket with one Real Estate Agent? I don't think so, I certainly would not!   I would have my name registered with every Agent in the area!

Plan Plan Plan

As the old saying goe's in Real Estate there are Three Rules :

'Position, Position, Position'

I have another rule for you when you are selling Real Estate and that is :

'Plan Plan Plan'.

If you do not plan and I must also emphasis control your 'Sale' almost down to the finest degree you may find yourself having a very stressful period of time and stand to be lose a lot of money!

Having stressed the Planning I will list below the steps we carried out in our plan.

Pre Real Estate Interviews

Before you even appoint a Real Estate Agent we have some homework to do.

It may seem obvious but you need to establish the price you want to achieve for your house or property, this is not the same price as you may think it is worth. I believe that many people have an inflated figure of the worth of their house.

It never fails to amaze me how many people trust their Real Estate Agent to set the price of the Home that they are selling.

This to me is a definite NO NO NO... I cannot stress this enough!!! DO NOT tell any of the agents you are interviewing the price that you want for your Home.

The only Real Estate Agent you tell the final price to is the Agent that you select from the list of Agents that you interview!

This now leads me to the important point:

-YOU- not the Real Estate Agent must establish the Price that you want for your Home-

These are my tips on how to establish YOUR price.

  • Leave yourself plenty of time. If you can, never try to sell your home in a rush, try to allow at least two or three months.
  • Study the local market, use the internet, newspapers, agents windows etc and keep a record of the Houses that are being sold and have been sold over the last 6 months or so.
  • Compare the houses on the list above to your Home eg; Size of block and House, Number of bedrooms, bathrooms, garages, living areas etc.
  • You will soon get a feel (take emotion and sentiment out of the calculations) for the figure that your Home is worth.
  • When you have come to the decision of how much you believe your home to be worth and you both agree (I'm assuming here that there is a Mr & Mrs Client) record the figure and put it away with all of your calculations.
  • This figure is to be kept a secret, even from your closest friends and not given to any of the agents that may visit your Home for an Interview.

You have now reached the point of looking for and appointing a Real Estates Agent.

As this is an ongoing (not quite live) process stay tuned for the next installment coming soon to a Hub near you :-)

Update: Next Page: How to draw up the Short List!

For Sale
For Sale

© 2011 Peter


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    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Australia

      @Glenn Stok every state in Australia has it's own laws but here in Victoria I believe it would be called a Strata unit or Body Corporate (now called Owners Corporation) where the purchaser only owns the Unit/apartment and belongs to an Owners Corporation for maintaining the outside of the Complex!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      5 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Hi Peter. To answer your question - I'm not an attorney but as far as I learned from this:

      With a condo you own the inside and the outside is common property.

      With a townhouse you are responsible for the outside around you house as well, even though the maintenance fee covers things such as gardening and snow removal.

      I was surprised to learn that the rules required me to insure the outside around my home in case someone falls and sues. For this reason my townhouse home insurance is as expensive as it was when I owned a regular house. Insurance on a true condo is a lot less because one only needs to insure the inside.

      That's how it is here in the U.S. Maybe it's different in Australia.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Australia

      G'day Glenn there are many stories of Agents not giving their Vendors the best service. We have an on going case against an Agent who 'lost' a sale for us and then was 'cheeky' enough to ask for his commission! Fortunately we were lucky enough to 'find' an Agent who did successfully sell our house :)

      Your agent must have been very 'green' not knowing the difference between a 'townhouse' and a 'condo'?

      Perhaps you could let us in on the differences ?

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      5 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Very useful information. I had my share of agents who obviously did not have my best interests in mind. Even good agents don't always put enough effort into the process. Five years ago when I bought a townhouse, my agent didn't know the difference between a townhouse and a condo.

      We always have to be alert and not let agents take advantage of us. Your hub is very useful for anyone who is planning to buy or sell a home. The interview process to choose an agent is the important first step.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      G'day clark, sorry I took so long to reply (Internet problems)!

      As I have said in the Hub I am not an expert in the Real Estate field and my opinions have been honed by the experiences of buying and selling a number of properties and dealings that I have had with real estate agents.

      I will offer my opinion on your comment point by point.

      Is what you are saying: 'Your house is only worth what the market is prepared to pay'

      If so I believe that the statement is just a too be 'generalised'

      However, even if it is true, the Vendor still has to establish that price 'before the property is advertised' and then 'add some' to allow room for negotiation!

      I agree with you on your point on the Vendor stating to the Agent that they 'need' to get a certain price for their property. It is irrelevant to the sale of the property and only puts the Agent in a 'control' situation. In my opinion the Vendor should be in 'control'!

      I do like your 'trick' idea as putting yourself in the place of the Purchaser but fear that in all reality in most cases it would not work, however it is definitely worth a try.

      I appreciate you taking the time to offer us your insights and hope that it helps our readers with tips on selling your house or property.

    • clark farley profile image

      clark farley 

      9 years ago

      The thing of it is, (any) property is worth 'x' dollars on the open market, commonly called 'market value', the only flaw to some of the Comments above is not accepting that 'the market' establishes the market value.

      not the Seller

      not the real estate agent

      the market, (which is shorthand for the qualified Buyers looking to purchase a home).

      ...agents, good agents, cringe when a Seller says, 'we are planning on buying such-and-such a house, so we need to get this much for our house'.

      So much confusion and anxiety and aggravation can be avoided if the concept of market value is understood at the very beginning of planning (very good advice, by the way).

      A simple trick, provided you can separate the emotion you feel about your house, is to pretend you are the Buyers!

      (As Buyers) you have never seen your house, you do not have any attachment to it, you are concerned only with how well does this house fit your needs. Try that approach, it can help.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      Cameron the housing market here at the moment is very hot and some agents are all about turn-over.

      Now let me try to explain why the agent will try to get the Vendor to lower the selling price to get a quick sale so that the Agent can move on to the next sale.

      When the RE Office is operating on a total commission of lets say 2% (going rate here) and depending on the agents break of that lets say a third of the 2%.

      With those figures in mind lets look at a sale of a $500,000 house (close on average price here). Commission = $10,000 Agents commission= $3333

      Ok lets assume that the agent comes back to the vendor in 2 weeks time and convinces the vendor to drop the price because it is 'too high' and the house is then sold quickly at a price of $480,000 a reduction of $20,000. Lets do the sums?

      Commission = $9600 Agents Commission = $3200. Difference in commission cheques a lousy $133.

      Whilst during those two weeks he could have moved onto another 2 or 3 houses garnering another batch of $3200 commissions.

      I must declare that I have no way of proving these figures but over my years of experience in dealing with RE Agents I have seen nothing to make me change my mind that this is how the system works.

      I totally agree, and I have stated before, that the Vendor should do the homework before engaging a Real Estate Agent.

      In principal I agree that getting an appraiser in to do a valuation is a good idea but in my experience they usually give you a range and in this market their work is sometime outdated very quickly.

      Thanks so much for contributing to the discussion there is usually two sides to every story!

    • Cameron Dean profile image

      Cameron Dean 

      9 years ago from New York

      Wouldn’t real estate agents try to sell a house for more money in order to make more money? I don’t understand why an agent would tell the homeowner to sell for less. When deciding on the price of the house, facts should be the deciding factor: how much did similar houses in the area sell for? If that’s not a good guide calling in a real estate appraiser can also give homeowners a good idea of a market price.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      Sarahredhead thanks for dropping by I hope my tips on selling your house or property work for you. I will finish my last Hub in the series as soon as I am able!

      My advise on prepping is not to 'overcapitalize' on the prep!

      Thanks again and 'good luck' with your adventure :-)

    • Sarahredhead profile image

      Sarah Jackson 

      9 years ago from Southern United States

      Great hub! We're prepping to sell and I needed this!

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      queenbe thanks for dropping by and leaving such a nice comment. I'm not sure about having any 'woes' lol

      On the contrary I have enjoyed all of my experiences in the Real Estate area whether it be in selling a house or buying a house. I really enjoy the challenge and with every deal I learn something new about human nature.

      I just want the inexperienced person to learn something here when they get around to selling your house.

      I know all Realtor s are different and that is the very reason I am writing this series on Tips on selling your House or property.

      queenbe please stay tuned I believe on my next Hub I seem to have struck a 'raw nerve'.

      Thanks again for dropping by it is much appreciated :-)

    • queenbe profile image


      9 years ago from NY

      WOW I am so sorry for your real estate whoes. It sounds like it was a very bad experience. I agree with the negative person. I wouldn't like it either and I would stay away. Perhaps they are burned out. Not all realtors are the same, please remember that. I love these hubs, so very glad you wrote them and want input from others. It is wonderfully intriguing,and informative. Looking forward to more.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      Mate there are a million horror stories about 'selling your house' and yours is just one of them. (someone famous once said that?)

      dahoglund you highlight a very valid point and I agree with you completely.

      If the Real Estate Agent selling your house is 'negative' when appraising your house, what will their attitude be when presenting your house to a potential purchaser.

      btw I have included that in my concluding Hub in the Series!

      Hopefully if people follow these tips that I'm putting up here in the series on selecting the right Real Estate Agent it may alleviate these problems.

      Thanks again for dropping by, as usual you contribute well in discussions on my Hubs and it is much appreciated :-)

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I dread the next time I have to do this.I remember on agent we had look at our house to sell a few years ago. Every statement she made was negative, suchas does the garage door opener work, in a ways suggesting that she doubted it. she was equally negative about the fireplace.I thought she might be new at sales and had not yet got the message that the salesperson should have a positive point of view and emphasis the favorable things. then she said she had been in the business 18 years. I still don't know how she made a living at sales.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      Thanks earnestshub. When you are selling your house or property there is so much misinformation that is handed out from Real Estate Agents that I think they start to believe it themselves. I know of no other industry with so much blatant BS. (Maybe Internet Gurus run close)

      Yes I nearly choke every time a Real Estate Agent tells me that he is 'working for me'. What a joke!

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a nice comment :-)

    • earnestshub profile image


      9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Nice information for anyone thinking of selling agvulpes. I will be reading the rest of these, as this was really informative. What you said about who the real estate agent is working for should be carved in marble.


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