Good to know   /   Seller Advice   /   Hiring Your Listing Agent

Hiring Your Listing Agent

Most people know one or more real estate professionals and when they need to find a listing agent, they’re tempted to hire a member of the family or a friend. But that may not be the best idea. You’ll get better results with someone with an expertise in the neighborhood and type of home you have – single-family, high-rise, condo, second home, architecturally or historically significant home, luxury estate home, etc.  

Interview several agents before choosing. Get recommendations from friends and relatives who have recently sold or purchased a home similar to yours. Good agents will know their “stats,” but what you’re interested in knowing is their level of experience, what services they offer, how they plan to communicate with you and provide updates, and whether you are on the same page as to how to prepare you home for marketing, as well as how they plan to market your home. 

Don’t choose an agent by commission alone. A real estate agent’s commission isn’t always up to them. Agents represent their brokers, who are in charge of the office, franchise or region for their brand. When you pay a commission, the agent splits the commission with the broker, the buyer’s agent and the buyer’s agent’s broker.  The commission covers office costs, marketing the brand, support personnel, and other business costs. 

Instead of asking what the commission will be, ask what services the agent provides and what services the broker provides. Then you’ll know if the commission schedule is right for your needs. 

For sellers, marketing should be job one. Make sure you understand and agree with your agent’s marketing plan for your home, including online and local advertising as well as your agent’s personal networking.  Your agent should keep you apprised of feedback and other results. 

But remember, the best marketing plan in the world can’t overcome negatives associated with your home such as poor condition, location or price. You can overcome any resistance to your homes by improving the price or the condition or both. 

Your agent’s advice is important. Once you choose an agent, they’ll have jobs to do and jobs for you to do that may include decluttering, deep-cleaning, painting, repairs and more. If you follow your agent’s advice, you’ll have a faster, smoother and more successful transaction. 

An agent is only one of many professionals you’ll need. A full-service real estate company can help you coordinate other services including introducing you to lenders who specialize in your price range, title and escrow companies, storage and moving companies, inspectors, insurers, home warranty companies, appraisers, contractors and more. 

Be patient. Selling a home can take months, especially with high-end properties, and there are many things beyond the agent’s control. Your agent should periodically show you the market conditions via a fresh comparative market analysis, so you’ll understand the competition better.  He or she can give you periodic updates so you’ll know which homes have sold and how the changing market impacts your marketing efforts.