architectural visualiser george nicola

By George Nicola (Expert Stager)

We asked ten people who have bought or sold a home in the past year about their real estate agent’s services.

Four of them mentioned that they had an awful experience with their realtors.

Three had mixed feelings about their experience.

Three were happy with their agent’s services.

The complexity of the real estate market, the urgency of planning for your finances, and the need to make a good deal can be relatively difficult for realtors because clients usually want all these factors taken into consideration asap.

People looking to buy or sell the property are in the process of hiring a real estate agent. Realtors’ due diligence is just as important as selecting the right mortgage advisor or accountant.

Find out what to look out for when hiring a good realtor who operates with high levels of integrity?
And learn how to distinguish good realtors from bad ones who will play dirty to close a deal.

In a nutshell, look out for these 16 tactics that good and bad real estate agents constantly use.

8 of the good real estate agents’ tactics include:

  1. Using home staging / virtual staging
  2. Using professional photography
  3. Using decluttering
  4. Creativity with their marketing
  5. Using videos for brand exposure
  6. Good communication and feedback
  7. Eye-catching websites with curb appeal
  8. Publishing real estate newsletters

8 of the bad real estate agents’ tactics include:

  1. Poor communication
  2. Too pushy
  3. Dual agency
  4. Selective showings
  5. Misleading on price
  6. Selling the neighbourhood
  7. Manipulating sales comparisons
  8. Too many open houses

Using Home Staging / Virtual Staging

A good realtor must be well conversant with home staging/virtual staging techniques. Staging is a powerful tool for marketing your home to potential buyers or sellers in the property market. A real estate agent who can effectively use staging is likely to sell a home fast simply because selling an empty house is more difficult than selling a beautifully furnished one.

The traditional home staging incorporates physical furniture to help potential buyers know the ins and outs of the property before they move in. Realtors can also use virtual staging by taking photos of empty rooms and fully furnishing them using 3-D models of furniture along with 360-degree views of décor to make a home more inviting to buyers.

Using Professional Photography

In the modern-day era of digital marketing, high-quality pictures make a huge difference if you want to sell your home quickly. Good realtors capitalize on professional photography tactics simply because it is one of the best marketing methods used by leading estate agents. Since no one is attracted to low-quality photos, great photography is inevitable if you want to beautifully highlight every detail of your home for potential buyers and tenants.

Rather than going out of your way to hire a professional photographer separately, select a real estate agent with immense experience in photographing homes and architecture. Your property can only stand out if your realtor has the knack to have your property photos professionally taken before showcasing them online.

Using Decluttering

When you are selling your house, always remember that potential buyers will notice every detail, especially the glitches. This is where decluttering comes in handy. Not only does decluttering prepare your home for sale, but it also helps potential buyers to visualize how they can utilize the various clean spaces in your home.

A good realtor helps you get rid of any distractions to present your property at its best. They ensure all surfaces and floors are free from paper, clothes, shoes, books, post-it notes, or any unnecessary stuff that robs the impeccability of the interiors. Before a photoshoot, the realtor should dust surfaces until they are dry and conceal all cords and wires that may distract the eye.

Creativity with their Marketing

Good realtors use extensive marketing resources for buying, selling, or letting various types of property. Always select a realtor who is supported by a highly experienced and professional marketing team with unrivalled local knowledge and expertise that goes a long way in helping you market your property effectively.

A realtor who implements a creative marketing strategy should combine both traditional and modern techniques including referrals, flyers, newsletters, word-of-mouth, social media, email marketing, real estate listings, etc. Generally, creativity in a realtors’ marketing approach calls for innovation, integrity, passion, and results.

Using Videos for Brand Exposure

Good real estate agents maximise the use of videos to attract the right buyers. They publish videos in various places on their website including the homepage, bio page, landing pages, blog section, etc. Creating short videos about their brand helps them gain a reputation as the leading local experts in the property market. Branding the videos with a logo also exudes authenticity.

Short, charming, high-quality animated videos and virtual tours can distinguish a realtor’s brand and give the business a touch of unique personality in the market. Be sure to look for realtors with animated videos that feature local landmarks or sites within the vicinity of your property because they can easily target potential buyers.

Good Communication and Constant Feedback

Lack of communication is one of the leading reasons why most home buyers or sellers are dissatisfied with their realtors. Since real estate is a people-oriented business, you should be wary of how a realtor communicates, whether he is explaining the buying process, negotiating an offer, or marketing to prospects on his website or social media.

A good real estate agent should be always a phone call away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. During one-on-one conversations, analyse his body language, attitude, eye contact, and intonation, as these elements play a key role in conveying your messages to other people unambiguously. Generally, a realtor with good communication skills is proactive, reaches out, and provides regular updates without being asked.

Eye-catching Websites with Curb Appeal

The NAR in a Digital Age 2017 Report indicates that 95% of people looking for a realtor first visit real estate company websites. Good realtors understand that one of the best ways of attracting and retaining loyal customers is by designing an eye-catching website sprinkled with stunning imagery and inspiring messaging.

Since most potential homebuyers start looking for their most preferred property online, you are highly likely to convince them through listings on your website before they search elsewhere. A website that stands out from the crowd and builds trust with prospects includes the following:

  • HD pictures, videos, and virtual tours
  • An informative blog
  • Information about neighbourhoods
  • Search options by map or feature
  • Reliable advice from various experts

Publishing Real Estate Newsletters

The modern-day real estate business world is predominantly digital and mobile, which means old-fashioned direct mail is gradually becoming extinct and unreliable.

However, publishing real estate newsletters sets many good realtors apart because it helps them directly deliver helpful information about the constantly changing property market to their intended audience.

With almost everyone having an email address, realtors who are serious about the longevity of their businesses publish weekly or monthly newsletters to update their potential and existing customers on changes in real estate laws, current mortgage rates, and benefits of homeownership, among others.

So naturally, customers always look forward to such insights, as it supplements their knowledge about the property market.

Tactics Used by Bad Realtors

Poor Communication

A realtor with poor communication skills is a red flag, and such unprofessionalism can be detected in various ways. The most unmistakable signs can begin with grammatical errors or spelling mistakes in their emails or are not articulate in their speech. If your realtor barely returns your calls, text messages or emails within 24-48 hours, and he does not update you on the progress of your sale, he is unprofessional.

Other forms of unprofessional communication that point towards a bad real estate agent include showing up late for appointments and meetings and ending up making sales presentations that are unreliable and sub-standard. Furthermore, their communication style can be too casual, such as using slang in emails and text messages.

Too Pushy

Even if you entirely rely on your realtor’s expertise to buy or sell a home, don’t allow him to push you around or exert pressure on you into making a decision that you might regret later. Unlike good realtors who put your interest first, bad realtors can be self-centred, as they will always push you into considering their selfish opinions rather than supporting yours. 

You have hired the wrong realtor once you feel like your real estate agent is pushy. Every customer expects that their agent will guide them through the buying or selling process smoothly and gently. However, a bad realtor will put pressure on you and strong-arm you to accept an offer or invest in a property that you may not be contented within the long run.

Dual Agency

Dual agency is one of the worst sins in real estate, so fire your realtor on the spot once you discover this bad tactic! A dual agency occurs when a realtor tries to represent the buyer and the seller concurrently without their consent. Technically, it is impossible because a realtor cannot serve the interests of both parties at the same time.

If the real estate successfully completes such a transaction, he is the one who benefits most. In a typical scenario, homebuyers usually want to spend as little as possible, while sellers expect to maximize their profits by finding a buyer who pays more. To be paid a double commission from the sale, a bad realtor would find a way of offering such a deal to both customers.

Selective Showings

Bad real estate agents will always use selective showings to get higher commissions. Typically, a realtor gets a commission for every house that sells through him. However, the selling agency and the listing agency usually split the commission, which is typically between 5 and 7 per cent of the price the home has been sold for.

In some cases, agents will take a commission of 2 or 3 per cent commission once they list a home. A bad realtor who wants to get a higher commission will only show you specific houses in your price range and ignore the ones that will give him less commission. 

Misleading on Price

Let’s face it. If you are selling your home, you will feel so good when a realtor tells you that it is worth more than you thought. Right? Don’t be fooled! While a good realtor will be honest about the price from the get-go, a bad realtor may draw you into this trap to get you to list it first.

Ill-advisedly, the outrageous price will push potential buyers away when it’s time for sale. Since the realtor already knows that he has your listing in the bag, and you are eager to sell the house, he will quickly convince you to drop the price and eventually sell for less.

Selling the Neighbourhood

While the location is one of the most important factors to focus on when buying or selling a home, beware of realtors who put too much emphasis on a neighbourhood instead of a specific property.

While the location is vital, you might regret buying a home above your budget just because you love the neighbourhood. Ensure your agent focuses on finding a home within your budget before assessing the neighbourhood.

Manipulating Sale Comparisons

Once a listing agent lists a home, he usually conducts a thorough market analysis of neighbouring homes that have been sold in recent times.

While this is a practical approach to estimating the listed property’s final selling price, bad realtors can manipulate the comparison houses (comps) to inflate its value deceivingly. If you feel dissatisfied, hire a certified appraiser to establish the actual value of your property.

Too Many Open Houses

Some bad realtors tell seller clients that holding open houses frequently is a great marketing approach. However, they fail to disclose that serious buyers always schedule showings to the seller.

With many strangers who are not serious buyers accessing your home, the open houses will help your realtor to prospect new buyers and sellers, but you may be attracting criminals


The agent you hire to help you buy or sell your home is crucial to your success.

From the abovementioned good and bad tactics used by realtors, start focusing on working with an agent who has your best interest at heart. If you need further
guidance, feel free to drop us an email at

Main photo credit: Photo by Precondo CA on Unsplash 

George Nicola

VIRTUAL STAGING EXPERT / After eight years+ working in high-end design and property business I realised that we are missing a critical part of the property business. We were not providing enough value to these old and empty properties. Not every buyer would have the opportunity to see the potential of vacant property or in a bad state. The idea of Virtual Furniture Staging the property gives the buyer and seller an incredible chance in seconds of taking the critical decision.