Top Mistakes When Hiring A Listing Agent

Top Mistakes When Hiring A Listing Agent When listing a home much of the success lies with the real estate agent you choose. Avoid the top mistakes when hiring a listing agent to list and sell your home.

Hire the right listing agent and things will go relatively smoothly, but hire the wrong listing agent and you will end up disappointed in the end. Take the time to interview several agents so you have a full understanding of what is ahead of you. 

You will be in a contract with your listing agent for a period of time which will be difficult break.  Make sure you are hiring a great listing agent who does the right things to sell your home.

Top Mistakes When Hiring A Listing Agent

Often mistakes made when hiring a listing agent has to do with your preconceived notions or emotions about your own home.  Go into interviewing listing agents with an open mind and carefully listen to what they have to say. 

I can tell you I have been in the business almost 18 years and selling a home today is very different than in 2007, which was very different than selling a home in 2002.  You may have sold a home 15 years ago but how you sell a home is very different and you need to understand how real estate is sold today so you don’t make mistakes when hiring your listing agent.

Hiring The Agent That Gives You The Highest Price

There is a term used in the real estate industry.  Its called buying a listing.

“Buying a listing” is when an agent gives a seller an overinflated price for your home.  And, of course as a seller you want to believe it.  They are the expert who are you to argue.

The unscrupulous agent is playing on your emotions.  Many sellers will hire an agent based solely on the list price given by the agent, only to be thoroughly frustrated and disappointed down the road.  They “buy your listing” knowing full well they can’t sell your house for that price.

The agent who buys your listing knows once your in a contract with them, there is nothing you can do to break the contract.  Your stuck with them for the life of the contract. 

And, they will immediately start badgering you for a price reduction the first couple weeks after being so confident they can sell your house for that initial price they gave you.

60-70% of selling your home is about pricing it correctly to begin with.  There is no single aspect more critical than how you price your home.

While pricing a home correctly can require a little finesse, it is all about data.  A listing agent should be able to back up a list price with data and not tell you how to price your house but show you similar homes to yours that have recently sold.

Common mistakes home sellers make when hiring a listing agent to sell their homeHiring the Yes Man

The Yes Man or Woman is adept and hearing you out and telling you what you want to hear. They will agree with you about pricing, agree you don’t have to do any repairs, tell you your home is wonderful, etc… 

Of course you have already formed opinions about what you should and shouldn’t be doing and what your house is worth.  And, would it be great to find an agent that is completely on board with what you what to happen?

But you don’t want a yes man to list your home.  You need someone that will tell you the truth and give you the cold hard facts, whether it agrees with what you think or not. 

Much of what revolves around listing a home is based on data.  A lot of what an agent is telling you can be backed up with data.  Always be leery of an agent who tells you a lot but shows you nothing.

Hiring A Family Member or Friend

Hiring an agent that is a family member of friend can certainly lead to trouble. Don’t automatically go and hire the first friend or family member you can think of that is a real estate agent.

The first things to consider when contemplating hiring a family member or friend is……  do you want them all up in your business? And, if things go bad between the two of you can your relationship survive?

Christmas at grandmas can get very uncomfortable if one of you is unhappy with the business relationship.

If you can get past those two considerations don’t hire them just because you know them. 

You have too much at stake, have them interview and work for you listing just like every other agent.  Just because someone holds a real estate agent does not mean they have the experience to sell your home. 

Not all agents are created equal.  Are they equally qualified to sell your home as other agents you interviewed?

Maybe they are and that is fine.  But do your homework.

Only Interviewing One Agent

Most people only sell a home once or twice in a lifetime. There is a lot of moving pieces to selling a home and it behooves a home seller to learn as much about it as possible. 

You may just love that first agent you interviewed but do yourself a favor and interview more than one to make comparisons between each. 

I encourage a home seller to interview three or four agents.  Make sure you discuss market conditions, proper pricing of your home, marketing and what you can do to enhance your homes saleability. 

Obviously look for an agent that is compatible and communicates effectively who backs up what they say with data and finally who has a strong marketing plan.

Hiring A Part Time Agent

It took me a good five years and over 100 deals working full time to feel confident as a real estate agent.  Every deal is so drastically different in real estate.

Experience matters when it comes to real estate.  Understanding the market, buyer psychology, negotiating is not something you can get a handle on over night.

Not only that if they have a full time job they cannot fully dedicate the time needed to get your house sold.  Much of real estate has to be performed in a timely manner and there are just times you can’t wait 8 hours to get a contract signed or to return a phone call.

Hire an agent that is full time in the business and is experienced.

Hiring The Agent With The Lowest Commission

Some home owners think hiring the agent with the lowest commission is going to net them more money.  There is nothing that can be more wrong than that mentality. 

Here is a real life scenario from a stand alone condo I listed years ago with two others being on the market at the same time.  All of this units were identical and should have sold with in $5,000 of each other.

  Condo 1 Condo 2 Condo 3
  Listed by Me Listed By Other Agent Listed by Owner
Sales Price $360,000 $345,000 $323,000
DOM 45 105 1 year
Commission $18,000 $17,250 $0
Net after Commission $342,000 $327,500 $323,000


The For Sale By Owner that was trying to save a commission was the big loser netting less than if I sold the property at a 5% commission.  The For Sale By Owner left $19,000 on the table.  What could you do with $19,000 in your pocket?

Take Condo 2 and charge only a 4% commission while I charged 5%…. I still netted the seller $11,800. Furthermore, I still could have charged a 7% commission and netted the seller $3,000 more. 

Why?  Services, I offer more and do more to market a property than the other two. While yes, if all things are equal, hire the agent with the lower commission. 

But usually this is not the case, there is a reason why one agent charges more of a commission than the next.  Look at the agents entire presentation before you make a decision to hire based on the lowest commission charged.

Do not assume a lower commission will net you more money.

Hiring A Real Estate Company Instead of the Agent

Many sellers think that if they use an agent from the largest company that is the route they should go.  But at the end of the day, it is the agent that ultimately gets your home sold not the company.

The the individual agent’s market knowledge, marketing and negotiating skills is what gets the job done, not the company.

The single important thing you should look at is an agent’s marketing plan…. or what they are going to do to sell your home.  Pay close attention to the details and the differences between agents this is what separates a good agent from a great agent.

Hiring The Agent Who Promises The Most Open Houses

Some agents promise open houses because it is has results that can easily be seen.  Showing the seller, my agent is here for hours, every weekend, trying to sell my house.

Yet statistics show that less than 2-3% of homes are sold as a direct result of an open house.  That is a whole lot of work for very poor results.  While yes, there is a time and a place for open houses it is only a small part of an over all marketing plan.

If the agent drops the ball in other areas, like providing professional quality real estate photography and leveraging the high quality images of your home over the internet, no amount of open houses will sell your home.

What sellers fail to realize is open houses open up their home to anyone.  The only qualifier is the attendee can make it through the front door.  You need to ask, how many of your open house attendees are prepared to close on your home in the next 60 days…. shockingly very few.  So who is showing up at your open house?

There are far more important aspects of marketing a home than having open houses every weekend.  Like everything these much of selling a home is about the internet or what I call web appeal.  Can your agent deliver web appeal of your home?

So Who Should I Hire to List My Home?

As your interviewing agents you should look for the following:

  • An agent with a clearly spelled out marketing plan on how and why they do the things to market your home.  An agents marketing plan is probably the single most important differential among agents.  A good listing agent will have a clearly defined process.
  • An agent that educates you on the process of selling your home from A-Z.  There are many moving parts to selling your home and it is important you understand each aspect.
  • An agent that educates you about current market conditions as well as where it has recently been and where it is headed.  Current market conditions dictate so much of what is happening in real estate.  Often a buyer or sellers perception of the market is 6 to 12 months behind what it currently is.
  • An agent who provides you with data to choose the proper list price for your home.  Understanding the proper pricing of your home and how long it will take to sell your home, as well as current conditions is dictated by data.  That data is past sales history.
  • An agent who has experience and can provide references. from recently closed satisfied clients.
  • An agent that will give advice on how to prepare your home for sale.  There are three critical pieces to selling your home.  Preparation, pricing and presentation.  And, certainly a little preparation can go a long way.
  • An agent that is not afraid to give you some hard truths when needed.  You need to count on your agent giving you the truth.  Sugar coating or avoiding the truth just leads to your disappointment.
  • An agent that communicates well.  Selling a home is a collaborative effort and you and your listing agent must communicate effectively.
  • An agent you are comfortable working with.  You are going to be in a relationship with your listing agent and you need to hire someone that you are comfortable with.

Avoid mistakes when hiring a Tewksbury MA listing agent and find the success you want in the sale of your home.

This post, Top Mistakes When Hiring A Listing Agent was provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate.  Kevin Vitali is a Tewksbury MA REALTOR® that services northern Middlesex county as well as Essex county in Massachusetts.  Are you thinking of listing your Tewksbury MA home or a home in the surrounding communities call Kevin at 978-360-0422


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