When I first started investing in real estate, I had no idea how to select a real estate agent.

I counted on the advice on friends, and on which agent had the most listings, and even how I liked the way she sounded on the phone.

Although some of my approaches might have worked out okay, I know now that they were just as likely to connect me with an agent not suited to the task at hand.

I was lucky in that I eventually found Realtors I loved working with.

I want to pass along these ten danger signs that an agent isn’t the right fit for you. Once you understand the signals, you’re more likely to connect with an agent who will make your home-selling process a smooth and profitable one.

1. Prices your house wrong

Your agent should not suggest a listing price that is much higher than what other agents suggest. You should be interviewing at least three agents. Too low and you could be leaving money on the table. Too high and the home will sit on the market. All agents have access to the same comps to determine fair market value for your home.

2. Lives elsewhere

Choose a Realtor who lives in your area, not in another town. He probably doesn’t know your neighborhood as well as someone more local, and it may not be convenient for him to always show the property.

3. Is related somehow

Don't choose someone who is a family member, a good friend, or even a friend of a friend. It's always best to keep serious business transactions separate from your social or family life. Following this guideline, decisions are more likely to be based on facts and reason, not emotional ties of loyalty or obligation. If you want to hire a friend or relative as your agent, make sure he doesn't wave any of the other flags listed here.

4. Works out of the loop

Is your agent familiar with online marketing?  Any Realtor who does not have an online presence and is not comfortable with ordinary functions like emails, texting, and virtual tours cannot compete with the tech-savvy buyers that saturate the market. Find someone who’s up-to-date. Having a working knowledge of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, FaceTime, Zoom, and Skype is a good sign.

5. Doesn't value photography

Look for an agent who makes an effort to take good photographs or -- better yet -- arranges for a professional photographer. Without good photos, your home will sink to the bottom of the market because buyers usually begin their home search online by looking at pictures. An agent who is a poor photographer is often one that does not endorse home staging, and I guess you already know where I stand on that!

The Realtor you choose should be able to provide you with both great interior and exterior photos. Photo: Architectural Digest.

6. Communicates poorly 

You want an agent who is relatively easy to reach. We're all busy, but you shouldn't have to jump through hoops to get answers. Red flags are a Realtor who doesn't promptly return phone calls, doesn’t answer all your questions clearly and accurately, or won’t explain to you the marketing strategy he plans for selling your home. Communication is key to building a solid, trustworthy, and pleasant relationship. Ask how the agent prefers to communicate, whether by texting, phone calls, or emails to see if it fits your preference.

7. Doesn't match your needs

Read the current real estate listings of the agent you are interested in hiring. Does she typically represent buyers with homes that sell in your home's price range? While you’re looking at her listings, read them to determine if the properties are being marketed well. The listings should be inviting and informative. 

8. Is the wrong age

I'm going to step into politically incorrect waters, and suggest that your agent be neither very young nor very old. Younger agents may not have the experience and older ones may not be skilled in today's technology or be in touch with what young buyers expect in the way of speed and service. Age alone isn't any reason to skip over an agent because a new agent might be more motivated and an older one might have a long list of people ready to buy, but age might be something you could consider. 

9. Practices as a hobbyist

Avoid that agent who sells real estate as a part-time job. You want a full-time agent, educated about the industry, dedicated to his job, who can be available when buyers and you need him, and who has no conflict of interests. He should also dress and act professionally and behave ethically. 

10. Has no magic with you

It's ideal when your agent and you just hit it off from the start of conversations. It's difficult to describe because it has to do with following your gut. Are you comfortable with the Realtor? Do you feel better or worse after a discussion with him? Does he share his expertise and contacts with you? Do you trust his negotiation skills? Do you feel he’s willing to go the extra mile to help sell your home? Your initial instincts are usually correct.

Once you decide to put your home on the market, ordering my homestaging ebook and hiring the right agent are the next important decisions you’ll make. The wrong agent will slow the sale of your home, fail to find a good buyer, and make the selling process stressful and complicated. But the right one makes it look easy and profitable. So keep these tips in mind when you interview Realtors.