What to ask your real estate agent for a successful relationship

How to play your part for a successful sale

Last updated: 3 April 2024

Unless you’re incredibly lucky and you have buyers banging down your door, selling your home is going to be one of the most stressful things you’ll do in your life. After all, you're trying to get the best price for your most valuable asset so you can get on with your plans. No pressure!

What will make the experience more or less stressful, will be the relationship that you have with your real estate agent and their team. How well you communicate with each other, roll with the punches and adjust to changing circumstances together, will determine how well you make it through the selling journey.

We asked Josh Phegan, top agent trainer in Australia, Aotearoa and beyond, for some tips on what to ask your real estate agent to make sure you can maintain a positive and fruitful relationship. Hopefully you’ve found one who is a good communicator, unflappable in stressful situations and with a huge buyer database.

A key characteristic your agent should have is empathy, adds Josh. Do they understand your situation and do they have the understanding and patience for your stage of life? If they don’t, it could be a problematic relationship and the sale might not go smoothly if there are some challenges along the way.

One of the first things you’ll discuss with your agent at the outset will be how you want to be contacted during the selling process. If they can’t get hold of you at the right time, you could lose the deal, so this is crucial.

What are the best ways I can communicate with my real estate agent?

This comes down to personal preference. WhatsApp groups are great ways for the whole team to communicate through a sale. Other modes to stay in touch are Zoom, Facetime, phone calls and email.

I prefer a short, 30 second call each day and then a text for appointment confirmations and to advise that it’s okay for me to return home after an appointment.

What information should I be expecting to hear from my agent?

Regular open and honest communication on what’s happening next. This should include regular reviews of the numbers of buyers coming through the home, the amount of enquiry, of inspections of the home, offers, and people registering to bid if the home is selling by auction.

What does an agent want from me to maintain good relations during the selling process?

They want early advice if things are off track, if the photographer hasn’t arrived as scheduled or a patch on the roof hasn’t been fixed as arranged, for instance.

They want you to notify them quickly if there are any challenges or things they may not know, like if the road is being closed for a party on open home day for instance.

Inevitably something will go wrong. What are you expecting from your agent in this situation?

The skill of any agent is to be able to ride the waves. Ask your agent what they’d do if a buyer pulled out or if market conditions suddenly change. Pro-active agents have systems to prevent those risks during a sale, like selling under auction conditions to ensure cash and unconditional offers. They’ll also stay ahead of market conditions by being informed on the latest news and trends. A great agent will monitor a campaign based on the enquiries, inspections, second inspections, sale and purchase agreement requests and offers. If any of those things aren’t happening, they’ll adjust their selling and marketing strategy quickly so you should expect expert advice at each stage of the process.

When do vendor agent relationships fall apart?

Things can go wrong between the seller and the agent in a myriad of ways, but commonly it’s because of these reasons:

  • There’s a lack of clear expectations.
  • There’s no clear communication.
  • Multiple parties are involved and those parties aren’t getting along e.g. a divorce property or a deceased estate when siblings are squabbling.
  • There’s a lack of knowledge about market conditions and the agent doesn’t have a plan on what to do next.

To avoid any of this, communicate as often and clearly as you can with your agent. This is a joint effort which calls for a positive attitude from both of you. Your agent does this every week, you do it once every 10 years or more, so they’re the experts but they need to understand what this sale means to you. Once you have appointed them as your agent, you’re putting your trust in them and they will be your guide on this journey.


Gill South
Gill South

Josh Phegan
Josh Phegan

Real Estate Speaker, Trainer, Coach -

Josh Phegan is the internationally renowned go-to speaker, trainer and coach for high-performance real estate agents and agencies. He is the number one preferred trainer for Australia's top 100 agents and top 50 women in real estate.

He personally coaches some of the who's who in the real estate industry, both new, emerging and high-performance agents, with his number 1 sales agent writing over $20.5m fees, 250+ transactions and $1.1billion in sales.

In 2024 he is set to perform in 200 events face to face and virtually in the UK, UAE, New Zealand and Australia. He works with leading real estate agencies at both training and boardroom levels. He hosts industry-leading events such as the Real Estate Blue-print and is the producer behind the High-Performance podcast with Alexander Phillips. Dynamic, captivating and fast-paced.