Choosing the right agent: The one thing they should never, ever do

There are so many good agents out there. There are also some bad ones. So, how do you choose the agent that is right for you?

Choosing the right agent is especially important for investors whose real estate portfolios are a major portion of their wealth. You may have held onto an investment property for years, and done everything right in that time. 

Even so, your choice of real estate agent to help you exit the investment could still make a huge difference to your degree of financial success.

Vital for investors

That's a big statement, so let’s look at an example to understand it better. Let’s say you paid $500,000 for a unit in Artarmon, on Sydney’s north shore, some time ago. Perhaps you reasonably expect to sell it now for about $600,000. 

A good agent might be able to ensure you reach that target price. With a bad one, you might fall short by as much as $25,000. 

Could a bad agent really cut your potential profit by 20%? Of course they could. By failing to develop leads from potential buyers, a bad agent can reduce both the size and the number of offers you receive.

If your property hasn’t gained as much value as the example, the impact of a bad agent could conceivably consume your entire profit. In the worst case, it could put you into the red.

I have always been a big believer in real estate agents, and this calculation just reinforces that belief for me. A good agent can make the world of difference.

That’s why answering the question, “Which agent do I hire?” could be the most important single choice you make in the entire lifetime of your investment property. The only question that is more important is, “Which property do I buy?"

Is the rapping agent right for you?

So which agent do you choose? Maybe you want the hip hop agent, who filmed a rap video in one of his listings. The lyrics include these rhyming lines:

"To be the host with the most you don’t have to be rich,

"Come check my opens and meet with me, b____.”

Or, if rap isn’t your thing, maybe you would prefer an agent who takes excellent property photos.   The blog found this listing photo, which it says gives off a "vague sense of animosity". 

Look closely and see if you can guess why. 


Seriously, it is vitally important to hire the right agent for your sale. I have worked with real estate agents professionally for most of my career and, year after year, there’s one piece of advice that I keep coming back to.

It’s simple and not even very clever. It’s certainly not difficult.

None the less, it is perhaps the last bit of advice regarding hiring real estate agents that you’ll ever need.

My advice is this:

Never choose an agent who talks over you. 

In any profession, if your efforts to say something only causes the other person to talk louder or faster, you should have serious concerns. Their behavior shows a lack of respect, sensitivity and professionalism.

When someone talks over you, you can assume one or both the of the following: 

• This person doesn't care what I have to say.

• Or, this person lacks the self-awareness and control to know when to be quiet and listen, and when to speak.

Either way, you don't want an agent like that representing you in a transaction that could mean the loss or gain of tens of thousands of dollars.

Hurting you and themselves

Perhaps you are willing to give talkative agents the benefit of the doubt. After all, you might tell yourself, "They do know more about real estate than I do. Maybe what they have to say about my home is more important than what I intended to say."

Certainly, a good agent will have important things to say. But in listings presentations, the best agents do more listening than talking. It is vitally important to them that they understand their client's state of mind, and that they learn all the important details about the property that only the vendor can know.

In this sense, a real estate agent who refuses to let you speak is doing a disservice not only to you, but also to themselves.

So, whether you prefer a rap artist or a photographic genius as your real estate agent, never choose one who talks over you.

Andrew Taylor is the Queensland-born co-CEO of, the number-one Chinese real estate portal for property in Australia and around the world.

He has almost a decade and a half of experience in Australian and Chinese real estate and managing print, TV, radio and online media. He also has bachelor and graduate degrees in classical music, and plays the diyin gehu (Chinese bass).

Community Discussion

Be the first one to comment on this article
What would you like to say about this project?