5 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Written by by Dorene Slavitz
Updated March 3, 2014
The best real estate agent is the one who completes the sale and communicates with you to make the process as smooth as possible, says Slavitz. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Farhan Q. of Madison, Wis.)

When it comes to selling your home, hiring the right real estate agent can save you a lot of hassle. One highly rated provider shares five mistakes to avoid.

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When it comes to selling your home, hiring the right real estate agent from the very beginning can save you a lot of hassle and help you get the best price for your home. Below are five common mistakes homeowners make when choosing a realtor and how to avoid them.

1. “I will hire with the cheapest one.”

Agents and real estate companies put up their own funds to market and advertise your home. Marketing and advertising can be expensive – the lower the commission, the less money will be available for marketing. 

Remember that most homes are sold by buyer agents with qualified clients. If your listing agent is working for a low commission, the split to the cooperating agent will also be reduced. Don't go with the cheapest; go with the best.

2. “I will hire my friend/family member who sells real estate.”

Real estate transactions can be quite complicated and there are often problems. Do you want to put your personal relationships in jeopardy for the house sale? 

A good friend will appreciate that this is a business decision and will offer their credentials and expect to compete for the listing along with other possible agents.

3. “I will only use the realtor who agrees to my selling price.”

Your house will get the most attention in the first few weeks of being listed when it is priced right for the current market. If it is priced too high, it will not be shown and may sit on the market for a considerable amount of time. 

It's difficult to correct this problem once it is established. You could find yourself "chasing the market" by continually lowering your price to no avail. Take your realtor's advice, as they have statistics and experience on their side.

4. “All realtors know the same things.”

Not really. Each realtor comes with their own set of experiences and knowledge base. The best realtors are members of the State and National Associations and abide by our code of ethics. 

Good realtors also stay abreast of the laws and develop themselves by continuing their education. Many agents acquire “professional designations” that show they took additional specialized courses and have years of experience in business or law. Hiring a proven and reputable realtor can make a huge difference.

5. “I will use the realtor who sold more homes than anyone else.”

The best agent is the one who completes the sale, does the most effective job of marketing the property, negotiates the most favorable terms and conditions, and communicates with you to make the process as smooth as possible. This isn’t always the highest selling realtor.

About this Angie’s List Expert: Dorene Slavitz is a licensed and trained real estate agent in Los Angeles. Slavitz has a 24-year track record in the real estate business, giving her a unique perspective and acumen for homeowners. You can follow this #ALExperts contributor on Twitter @DoreneSlavitz and on Google+.

As of March 3, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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