How To Identify The Wrong Listing Agent For Your Home
Picking the wrong listing agent for your home could be a disaster! Selling your home is a huge and important step in your life – you can’t afford to make a big mistake.
You don’t know what you don’t know, but you are afraid of the bad, lazy, or dishonest Realtor. Salespeople are slick and they all sound good, but you are afraid it will all fall apart once you sign the listing contract.
How do you protect yourself?
Spotting an inexperienced or unskilled listing agent is not too hard. Make sure you check that impulse to hire a friend just because you like them as a person. Check out the advice below for easy to research metrics that can help with your initial research.
How to pick a GOOD Listing Agent
For tips on picking amongst a few “good listing agents” read my surprising article on “How to Pick The Best Listing Agent For Your Home”. I tell the truth about the crappy sales techniques we’ve been using for decades and how to see past them.
Now, let’s get to the researchable metrics.
A large real estate company might seem important, but company size means squat to your successful home sale. The internet means that an acne-prone teenager in the basement can get your home in front of a global audience.
A company with strong leadership will stand behind you in all things little and large. And, a company with digital marketing skills can get your home in front of everyone and anyone who matters, here or worldwide.
Experience and Expertise
How long have they been a Realtor?
How many homes have they sold? How many are like your home?
How well do they know your neighborhood?
How many homes sold in the last two years?
**pro-tip** Years of experience is important, but it is only one factor. I know lots of hobby-level agents with decades of “experience”.
List Price to Sales Price Ratio (vs Area Average)
This number tells you how invested the agent is in selling homes for their highest dollar. If they get more than the area average they might be an unusually good Realtor to sell your home – they might be talented marketer and negotiator.
Average Days On Market
Beware the Realtor who habitually sells in just a few days. In this market, it usually means the agent is going for the easy and quick deal, not necessarily the best deal. Also, be careful if their market times are longer than average. That Realtor is might be quoting high prices as a way to get the listing or they are unskilled in getting homes sold.
Average Dollar per Square Foot (vs area average)
Average Dollar per Square Foot helps illustrate an agent’s ability to sell the home for more money.
**pro-tip** pick a listing agent that knows their statistics and can back them up
Solo vs Team
There is no right or wrong, here. Pick a listing agent who can clearly define their process and explain how your needs are met. You want an agent who has a proactive system vs an agent who relies on instinct and energy.
Pick a listing agent with a great team of people. Even solo agents might have a shared transaction coordinator. Find out the duties and responsibilities of every person who is involved.
Reviews are a great way to pick a listing agent to sell your home. Pick a listing agent who offers links to their reviews up front. An agent who focuses on collecting great reviews won’t risk giving mediocre service
List of References
This is similar to reviews. Read between the lines and look for common themes. One disgruntled comment is probably nothing. Several comments about the same issue is a danger sign.
The answers to these next questions are to give form to the questions you ask in the actual interview. Each agent will give a list of “features” (I do this, this, and that), but do any of those features matter? Pick a listing agent to sell your home based on how well they leverage each feature for your success.
Any home listing on the Multiple Listing Service will automatically appear on sites like Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia and more. Does the agent have an internet marketing plan that goes beyond this passive standard?
Allowing strangers into your home is uncomfortable. What is the plan to show your home? Is there a strategy or is it just an activity?
There are at least four separate negotiations in every transaction. Find out if the agent has thought about negotiation strategy or if they are just “winging it”. Pick a listing agent to sell your home with a clear strategy for every negotiation in the transaction.
Your home isn’t cheap so your marketing shouldn’t look cheap. Ask for examples of their photography, print materials, and ad copy. Are they using 3D technology? Video? Does their ad copy tell a story or recite some facts?
Service and Communication
You need great service and communication. Here’s how to pick a listing agent who delivers.
How will they communicate with you? How often?
What happens when an offer comes in?
How accessible are they by phone? By email? By text?
Do they have resources and partnerships to help you prepare your home for sale? (Handymen, cleaners, hauling, etc)
How do you help me get my home ready for sale?
Do they have resources to professional advice (lawyers, accountants, financial planners, etc)
**pro-tip** Remember, your time is worth money!
It is tempting to use commission as a deciding factor on how to pick a listing agent. But you want the best value, not just the lowest price. Don’t make the newbie mistake of minimizing costs – focus on maximizing the sales price.
A Plan For Your Home
You and your home are one of a kind. Ask the following questions:
What should I do to get my home ready for sale?
When should I put my home on the market? Why?
What pricing strategy do you recommend?
How does my home compare to others?
What does my ideal buyer look like? Where and how will you market to that person?
**pro-tip** pick a listing agent who crafts a unique marketing plan for your home. They understand the target market and how to reach it.