Selling your home? What to look for in a listing agent

Nanci Gilbert, PA
Published on January 10, 2019

Selling your home? What to look for in a listing agent

When you want to sell your home, don’t bother asking Alexa because when we asked Google how to find a listing agent it gave us more than 6.5 million results.

Read some of the results and you’ll walk away only more confused. It seems like every real estate agent on the planet, even those who deal primarily with buyers, is an “expert” when it comes to helping homeowners sell their homes.

What they fail to let you know is that a listing agent’s primary duty is to market his or her client’s home.

So, while it’s important to feel comfortable with the agent you choose, you aren’t looking for a friendship. You are looking for an ace marketer who gets results.

We’ve learned that good listing agents share three qualities.

1. Good listing agents are exceptional communicators

The biggest complaint about real estate agents is that most are unresponsive. Calls, texts and emails go un-returned, or agents take forever to get back to their clients.

Here’s how we look at this: that period of time that your home is on the market is stressful, especially if this is the first time you’ve sold a home.

The last thing you need is to be cast adrift, with no support from the expert you hired to guide you through the process. That’s just downright wrong.

It’s too bad so many real estate agents are unable to put themselves in their clients’ shoes. So, look for an agent who does. Seek out a listing agent who responds quickly to your calls and is able to effectively communicate the sometimes-complicated aspects of the home-selling process.

2. The best real estate listing agents have abundant experience in pricing homes like yours

The homeowner has the final say in how much a home is listed for and, naturally, buyers have the final say in how much the home eventually sells for.

The listing agent, however, analyzes the market to determine a home’s current market value and makes a pricing suggestion to the homeowner.

This is a critical decision for the homeowner. Price the home too high and there will be little interest in it. Price it too low and you’ll leave money on the table.

Beware of the listing agent whose price suggestion is significantly higher than expected or higher than other agents have recommended.

It’s an old trick, performed by dishonest real estate agents, and it’s known as “buying the listing.”

What happens is that the homeowner falls for the ruse, lists the home too high and when buyers are uninterested in viewing the overpriced home, the listing agent then pesters the homeowner for price reductions.

Thankfully, this isn’t a common practice, but it does happen.

3. The best listing agent is a marketing master

Marketing masters laugh at the lazy real estate agents who employ the “list and pray” strategy. They’ll do the basics, like installing a sign at their listings, affixing a lock box to the door and, of course, taking five minutes to add a cursory listing in the Multiple Listing Service database.

Then, they’ll sit back and pray that another local agent brings in a buyer and sells the home.

Pretty pathetic, isn’t it? And, in some real estate markets, it may even work. But, why take a chance?

Marketing requires knowledge of the ideal potential buyer for your home and then laser-targeting that group. It often requires a multi-pronged approach, including a robust online plan.

It’s the most important facet of a listing agent’s job, which is why we take our marketing plan so seriously.

As you interview listing agents for the job of marketing your home, pay close attention to how they market themselves, both online and off. Ask for information on how each agent plans to market your home.

Call the agents to find out how responsive they are.

Avoid those who don’t return your calls, can’t clearly answer all your questions and those who offer amateur marketing examples.

This is an important job you’re interviewing for – take your time and hire smart.