Red Flags to Watch For When Choosing a Realtor®

The right professional can help you buy your dream home or sell your existing home quickly. Believe it or not, there is a difference between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor®. Both are licensed to sell real estate but a Realtor® is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and is bound by the Realtor® Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics is strictly enforced and is much more restrictive and confining as to conduct.

As one of the most important purchases made in our lives, we give little thought to choosing a Realtor® who specializes in what we need or what we are looking for.

Here are some red flags to take into consideration when looking for an agent:

  • The agent says they can sell your house for the highest price - When selling your house, have at least three agents give listing presentations and show you what comparable homes have sold for and how long it took them to sell. Pricing a home too high in the beginning means it will take longer to sell and ultimately for less.
  • The agent doesnt know your neighborhood - Finding an agent who knows your neighborhood is important in areas where moving a block can raise or lower the value of a home by quite a bit. 
  • The agent charges a lower commission - In most areas, commissions can range from 5 to 7 percent and is split between the listing agent and the selling agent. If the commission on your house is too low, agent may not show it. Some companies rebate part of the commission or offer a lower rate if they end up selling it. Beware, that's only a bargain if the agent is good and is the best choice for you.
  • The agent's face shows up on listings on the internet - 99% of the time, an agent's face and contact information shows up because they paid to be there. Make sure you interview agents and don't be afraid to ask them how many houses they have listed and how many they have sold.
  • The agent does real estate part time - You want to choose an agent who is actively following your market every day, all day. You need an agent who is available to show you new listings immediately or who is available to show your home when a buyer wants to see it.

The proliferation of online real estate information makes it easier than ever to be an informed consumer. If you are looking for a knowledgeable, experienced Realtor®, visit our website at


#1 By Bob Lowe at 5/24/2016 4:10 PM

Thanks for the post. I had no idea that if you find your agent on a listing it could be because they paid to be there, which I wouldn't say is a bad thing. I can see how that can lead to some concern though. I like the idea to interview them and ask how many houses they have listed, and how many have sold. I think that can really help you to make a good decision.

#2 By Simon Brooks at 6/9/2016 8:36 PM

It really is important to actually meet with and interview any realtor that you plan to hire to sell your home and the article does a great job of reinforcing that idea. You want to be able to sell your home for a good amount of money and you're going to need to find a realtor with the experience and sales to do so. The article makes a great point by encouraging readers not to be afraid to ask the realtor about how many houses they have listed and how many they have sold. It's a great way to gauge the amount of experience the realtor has.

#3 By Ben Allen at 12/28/2016 8:57 AM

I appreciate the information on what to look for when choosing a realtor. I agree that it is important to find a realtor that knows the area and knows the neighborhood, this can be very helpful in you getting the best price possible. My mom is looking into selling her home soon, I will be sure to share this information with her.

#4 By Jade Brunet at 3/22/2017 1:16 PM

It is good to know that a real estate agent should know your neighborhood. I did not know that sometimes, moving a block can raise or lower the value of a home. It would be great to find someone who has excellent people skills so that they are easily capable of carrying out the home selling process.

#5 By Barbera Peters at 7/27/2017 -2:58 PM

This is my husbands and I first time moving out of an apartment and we need to find a realtor fast. You make really good point about looking for references either online or through friends. My favorite part that you mention is when you meet a realtor to ask them questions about your specific buying and selling needs. I never would have thought to ask questions that related to if they have our best interest at heart. Thanks for the great information, I will pass it on to my husband so we can search together.

#6 By Scott at 9/5/2017 3:51 PM

I like that you suggested asking an agent about how many houses they have sold. I have been looking for someone to help sell my house, because I don't have the time to do it myself. I can see how it would be good to know how many a realtor have sold in the past, that way you can estimate how long it will take them to sell yours.

#7 By Pam Hibbs at 9/6/2017 6:08 AM

Scott, thanks for your post! While it is good to ask an agent about how many houses they've sold, the question really answers about how experienced they are. A quick sale, especially in our current real estate market, doesn't always speak experience. Getting to the closing table with a happy client is where an experienced agent is needed. By the way, we have many experienced agents here ready to help you sell your home!

#8 By Gina Henrie at 9/17/2017 9:25 AM

I've been looking into getting a real estate agent but I'm not sure how to pick the right one. I like what you said that a red flag is if they say they can sell your house for the highest price. This is a good tip, thanks for sharing!

#9 By Jocelyn McDonald at 10/16/2018 8:57 AM

My husband and I want to buy our first home together, but we've never really don't this before and could use some help. Your article had some great tips for choosing a realtor that could help us through this, and I liked how you said to interview all potential agents and ask how many houses they have listed and how many they've sold. Thanks; we'll keep this in mind when choosing the realtor best for our needs.

#10 By raji at 1/12/2019 5:08 AM

An ideal blog to know the things to be considered before choosing the real estate agent in Chennai. Thanks for sharing this post.

#11 By britt wall at 4/10/2020 1:41 PM

I appreciate the tip that you gave to consider if a realtor works full-time because they will be able to better help us because they have more time. My wife and I have been talking about finding a realtor to help us find a new home, and it is going to be important for us to know that we are getting the best of help.

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