Choosing the Best Listing Agent for You

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Don't entrust your home sale to just anyone. The right match can help your home sell faster and for more money.

Editor’s note: Putting your home on the market is no small decision. And listing before you’re really ready can hurt your chances of selling your home for its full worth. This week we’re giving you a headstart on prime selling season with plenty of tips and advice for preparing your home to hit the market ready for a successful sale.

Selecting a listing agent is an important decision. Unlike with a buyer’s agent, you’ll sign an agreement with a listing agent for a fixed term, and with the sole responsibility of getting your home sold for the most amount of money, and in the least amount of time.

Here are some tips for choosing the best listing agent — and some important considerations for home sellers doing it for the first time.

The local advantage
A good local real estate agent knows the intricacies of each market and how it operates. They know the building department, the tax assessor, and the local real estate customs.

Being local means that they know the other agents and have relationships that will serve to help you. Their local experience will make the difference between a quick sale or your deal falling apart and dragging on for months.

How local is local? In most towns and communities, agents cover a few school districts. If they come from too far away, they may not be your best choice.

Experience counts
There is no doubt about it, experience matters. The agent who’s sold more homes in your town or neighborhood clearly has the track record.  And, they are more qualified to sell your home than someone with less experience.

How? They know the inside scoop of many of the recent deals. They know which agents are working with real buyers, and which to steer clear of.

Through their experiences, they will know which features or finishes work best in the market. They’ll know which home got the best response and which did not. That knowledge base will translate into value add for you.

A personality match
You want an agent who is honest, trustworthy, ethical and easy to be around. Sometimes the agent who’s sold the most may not be the best agent for you.

You will spend a considerable amount of time working alongside this person for up to six months, or even a year. You must trust them and feel that they can be trusted externally.

This agent will represent you and your interests to the public, and you must have complete faith that they will serve you effectively.

Finally, you’ll have to like this person and find them to be easy to be around. If it’s not a personality match, no matter how successful they are, look for someone else.

Attention, please
Sometimes sellers ask questions like, “Will you be present for the showings?” or “Will I interface with you daily, or an assistant?”

Folks who want or need personal attention need to let their agent know that right away and make that a part of the decision-making process.

In some cases, busier agents aren’t set up to give personalized attention or to be present everywhere for everyone. They have systems and folks in place to operate the business. And it’s that operation that makes them successful.

A less busy agent might purposely choose to work with just a few clients at a time. As such, they would be wiling to do more or be more hands-on with their customers than a busier agent.  Know what you expect, and don’t settle for less.

Ask around
One of the best ways to find a listing agent is to get a referral. If a neighbor or friend sold in the past year, ask them who they worked with and how happy they were.

Before reaching out, check out the prospective agent’s reviews and previous business online.

If you interview them, ask them for references from other past clients. Good real estate agents work their business purely on referral, and the last thing they want is to cut off a referral source or kill the chance to get another.

Don’t rush it
Take your time to identify the best agent to sell your home. It’s not something to take lightly, nor should it be done without serious research.

Always go local, and decide which type of agent would work best with you.

Finally, go with your gut. Like many important life decisions, you likely have a gut reaction to people and situations. Let that inform you here.

Ready to put your home on the market? Check out our Home Sellers Guide for more tips and resources.

Published on 6 MAR 2017

CTTO: Zillow Porchlight

About the author

Brendon DeSimone is a nationally recognized real estate expert and author of the book, Next Generation Real Estate: New Rules for Smarter Home Buying & Faster Selling. A fifteen year veteran of the residential real estate industry, Brendon has completed hundreds of transactions totaling more than $250M. His expert advice is often sought out by reporters and journalists, and he is regularly quoted in local and national press. Brendon is a regularly featured guest on major television networks and programs including CNBC, FOX News, Bloomberg, Good Morning America, ABC’s 20/20 and HGTV. Brendon is the manager of the Bedford and Pound Ridge Offices of Houlihan Lawrence, the leading real estate brokerage north of New York City.