Why the cheapest commission is no way to choose your real estate agent

When it comes to selling your most valuable asset – your property – you want the best real estate agent, not the cheapest.

It might be tempting or even satisfying to negotiate down a fee, but the few hundred dollars saving now may cost you thousands later. Like most things in life, you’ll get what you pay for and agents who discount commissions will also be cutting corners on the service they offer. It’s very likely that If you are looking for the lowest price, you'll have to be willing to compromise on either the service, the level of communication or worse, the final sale price.

There are many costs associated with selling a home and an agent’s commission, while not negligible, is just one of them. Consider instead the cost of putting your most significant asset into the hands of the wrong person.

Commission, fees and fee structures vary considerably. A commission could be as low as 1% up to 4.5% and typically advertising spend is additional. In Canberra marketing packages can range from $1900 - $10,000. The agents recommendation will largely depend on the market, which includes competing properties for sale at the same time as yours. Property location and property features are also a factor.  

Some agents will offer a tiered percentage rate instead of a fixed commission, or a performance based fee or percentage. This means you’ll pay more if they achieve a higher asking price than anticipated. Some agencies even allow you to pay the agent what they think their performance is worth. Typically these agents will be confident they will be able to deliver a great experience and result for you. All approaches are legitimate, and you must decide which structure you are most comfortable with.    

Instead of focusing on just the cost of the transaction, your focus should be on feeling confident about putting the sale of your property into safe hands. The agent should be motivated, know the area, have a proven success record of sales and a clearly defined communication plan.

You should find out if the agent has sold properties similar to yours in the area and ask them to discuss their marketing approach and if they have a network of prospective buyers. It’s also reasonable to ask about how they’ll be able to deliver a great experience. They should be able to tell you how they’ll make it as stress-free as possible. And demonstrate they understand what’s most important to you.

Pay attention to whether your agent displays knowledge of how to prepare your property for sale, demonstrates negotiation and closing skills, and what level of service they promise you that you’d be happy with. You should also find out if they have a team to support them, because achieving a great result usually isn't achieved by an agent alone.

Here is a checklist of consistent traits of top performing agents:


A great agent will be open and honest in response to your expectations of price, and the time on market for your property.

Trusted adviser  

They’ll suggest pre-sale improvements to the property that will have a positive impact on the price to be achieved. They’ll also share feedback of prospective buyers and offer context for any necessary response.


They are clear, concise and regular communicators. They possess strong negotiation skills and have the ability to pre-empt buyer needs and fears. Empathy for the seller’s anxiety is important in their approach. They make sure you know they are on your side, and not merely trying to make a quick sale for a commission.  

Skilful marketer

Good agents know how to market a property. They understand the power of great photography and the appropriate investment in advertising required to get a sale at a desirable price and in a reasonable timeframe.


They are attentive to the needs of buyers, even to the extent of being their trusted adviser, helping them to achieve their property goals.  

After-sales care

Great agents stay in touch and make sure you were satisfied with the outcome of the campaign and how it was conducted. The great agents will help you relocate from your current property, they’ll organise the removalist and sort storage solutions. They’ll even help negotiate on your behalf on your next property purchase. And the communication won’t stop there. They’ll keep in touch well beyond the purchase, keep you informed of the market and be there to help when you need it next.  

Ultimately, you need to focus on the quality of the agent rather than their commission rate to ensure the sale of your property is not a stressful experience. It can be a great experience if you choose the right agent.  

Our business is centred around creating a great experience for you. We have an entire team in our concierge department that helps our agents to deliver this every step of the way.  This means our agents have more time to dedicate to you and getting a great sales result. In fact, we are so confident we’ll deliver a great experience, we are one of those agencies that will let you decide what you pay us.

Want to chat more about how we’ll deliver a great experience and a result you won’t get anywhere else? Get in touch using the form below.

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