As a seller, you’re not a novice when it comes to a real estate transaction. However, the last time you dabbled in the industry it was likely in the role of buyer. 

So now, as a seller, there are some different rules and responsibilities industry professionals will expect of you. 

While these dos and don’ts may seem common sense…on paper, you’d be surprised how often they are broken in practice! 

Therefore, take a proactive step to ensure your selling experience is smooth and positive by taking a moment to familiarize yourself with the following unwritten seller etiquette “rules”:


DO – let all agents you are considering for the job know you are interviewing other agents. It is bad etiquette to ask an agent to do the research and legwork for a listing if they don’t know they are in competition with other agents.

DON’T – solicit advice from an agent when planning to sell your home For Sale by Owner.

DO -sign an exclusive right to sell agreement with the agent you select to represent you in the sale of your home. 

DO – negotiate real estate commissions when you hire your agent and determine who will pay for professional pictures and advertising etc.

DO – let each of your agents know if you are using one agent to list your current home and a different agent for the purchase of your future home.

DON’T – let buyers in your home who knock on your door to request a showing. Instead, ask them to make an appointment through their buyer’s agent or your listing agent, if they are not represented by an agent. 


DO – answer all agent questions truthfully so they can correctly market your home. 

DO – be honest and comprehensive when completing the Seller’s Property Disclosure.

DO – be transparent about what real and personal property items will convey with the sale and which items you will take with you. 

DON’T – ask your REALTOR to withhold information about property defects to potential buyers. 


DO -choose an agent you trust and then listen to them! Your agent is familiar with situations that will arise throughout your transaction and their counsel should be highly considered.

DON’T – be offended when your agent makes suggestions on how to prepare and market your home. This is part of the process and expertise you hired them for. 

DO – keep a professional relationship with your REALTOR. Respect the fact that this is his or her livelihood. Due to the nature of the business your agent will likely be available nights and weekends, however, respect their personal time and limit calls at irregular hours to emergencies.

DO – all negotiations through your agent. 

DON’T – contact a buyer’s agent or a buyer directly.


DO – research, understand and follow local procedures, laws and market trends through trusted local resources such as your agent or NWAREALESTATE.COM. Behaviors and procedures you experienced when selling a home in New York (for example) may not translate to Northwest Arkansas.  

DO – pay attention to the amount of time you are given to accept or counter an offer. The buyer does not owe you any more time to respond to their offer than the expiration date and time stated on the contract. 

DON’T – overprice your home. Have realistic expectations on the length of time your home will be on the market if you decide to list your home above comparable sales. 

DO -have realistic expectations on the length of time your home will be on the market when ignoring agent advice regarding staging, decluttering and/ or cleaning.

DON’T – ask what a buyer does for a living. Be concerned only that the buyer is preapproved for the offered price and make an appropriate acceptance or counter based on your circumstances and desired net. 

NICOLE BREKELBAUM (The Education Realtor of NWA) utilizes her background in education and real estate to provide homebuyers, sellers and first year agents with resources they can use to make more confident and informed real estate decisions. Nicole is the founder of the Northwest Arkansas Real Estate Guide and an Executive Broker at Collier & Associates in Fayetteville.


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