The Best Listing Agent? Chances are that like most people, you don’t really know how to choose a real estate agent when selling your home; let alone the best listing agent! You may think that you know what you are doing but choosing the wrong listing agent is one of the biggest mistakes most sellers make. Read on to learn what not to do as well as how to how to pick the right listing agent that will get you the best price for your home.
The biggest mistake that so many home sellers make when choosing a listing agent to sell their home is selecting an agent based primarily on two factors— the one offering the highest list price for your home and charging the lowest agents commission. A promise of a high price and low commission is certainly enticing, but these two criteria are in no way indicative of a successful real estate agent nor an ideal way to pick a good real estate agent to sell your home.
Agents That Buy Listings
In the industry, offering sellers inflated listing prices is known as Buying Listings. There are several online methods and websites where you can check listing dates, initial listing prices, price reductions, and the eventual sale price of any property. It’s simply a matter of doing adequate research before deciding to go ahead and list your property with a particular agent. We are currently in what is known as a Hot Market meaning that houses are selling very quickly and yet I have personally seen so many large reductions coming through. It’s a good indication that some agents are indeed buying listings.
The reality is that an agent cannot predict how much your home will sell for— an appraisal showing you comparable sales, pending sales, and active sales can assist you in choosing a listing price, but ultimately your potential buyers will tell you if your price is right or not. An experienced agent is equipped with industry knowledge and expertise to suggest a list price that will attract buyers, however where it goes from there is generally up to the buyer.
Tips to Consider When Shopping Around for the Best Listing Agent
Not all real estate agents are honest, and some will distort the truth to get your listing. Keeping in mind that an agent cannot guarantee your sales price, a listing agent that entices you with a promise of a higher price is most likely attempting to buy your listing. The agent should be able to show you a property appraisal that supports the suggested list price. Ensure that any stats used are comparable to your property. Comparable properties usually have a range of prices depending on location, home improvements, and the market temperature.
Property pricing is an art— a home that is priced correctly (or one that meets the market) tends to get an offer quickly. Those that are priced too high may not get any inquiry at all which results in a price reduction.
Should You Choose a Listing Agent Purely Based on an Agents Commission?
Commissions are generally how real estate agents get paid. Each agent and agency have their own marketing methods and advertising budgets. Most sellers do not understand the difference between the terms marketing and advertising within the real estate industry. Sure, a higher advertising budget may offer greater exposure to a larger number of buyers but who really pays— the agent/agency or the seller? Be sure to check exactly what is included in an agent’s marketing strategy and advertising budget.
There are plenty of agents that are willing to work for less than their competitors for a variety of reasons. Don’t be shy. Ask the agent to explain why the commission fee is lower before deciding to choose an agent based on a low commission. Some reasons may include— the agent believes that the only way to compete with other more experienced realtors is to offer a cheap fee. Although the lure of a discounted fee is tempting; is it worth risking the superior service, knowledge, and skillset that also comes with an agent charging a higher fee?
Ask yourself if the discounting agent is desperate for business and/or perhaps unqualified?
Special Circumstances Where Top Agents May Offer a Discounted Commission
- Double lot of commission payable where you are selling and buying a home providing both transactions to the one agent.
- As the seller, you are prepared to carry out all legwork, marketing, advertising and expenses related to selling your property.
- You refer additional business (listings and buyers) to the agent.
- You are selling more than one property.
- You don’t have enough equity in the property to pay a full commission.
- The agent takes you on as a pro bono case.
- The agent will lose the listing unless he or she matches a competitor’s fee.
- The signage position (exposure to traffic) is worth more than charging a full commission.
Difficulty in Choosing Between Similar Agents
If you are having difficulty in choosing between agents offering similar services, ask to see documentation regarding each agent’s original list price and the final sales figures. Chances are that those agents asking for lower commissions will also have more price reductions and additional days on market (DOM).
Real Estate Marketing
A great listing agent lives and breathes marketing fully knowing that effective publicizing of a property is what makes the sale. Be sure to thoroughly go over the agent’s marketing plan, asking for specific details for selling your home.
Bare-Bones Marketing Inclusions
- Professional Signage including the agent contact number
- Regular follow-up reports on open homes or private inspections & feedback
- Home staging advice
- Digital targeted marketing via website portals, Social Media, local advertising, flyers, direct mail to surrounding neighbours, out of area buyers, brokers, etc
- Professional photographs, Video & Virtual tour options
- A real estate lockbox- electronic monitoring of lockbox access
- Open Homes and/or private inspections
- Marketplace Updates: new comparative market analysis (CMA) after 30, 60, 90 days, new similar listings, recent sales and neighbourhood facts & trends
Remember: No single tactic sells homes. It’s a combination of all of these methods that sell homes.
Characteristics of a Good Listing Agent
Keep in mind that your listing agent will be in regular contact with you throughout the duration of the selling process— possibly for a couple of months or even longer depending on how long your house takes to sell. It’s advisable to choose a listing agent that you like, get along with, and can relate to. Below are the top six characteristics that sellers say they want in an agent.
- Experience: An experienced agent that has sold lots of homes tends to have learned many valuable lessons along the way.
- Education: An agent that has up to date qualifications including further industry education, degrees & certifications.
- Honesty: This characteristic includes sincerity, empathy and trustworthiness. Use your own intuition here.
- Networking: Real estate is primarily a people business. Effective networking includes tapping into a variety of different groups and contacts.
- Negotiation Skills: An aggressive negotiator is preferable to an agent that leaves money on the table via a quick sale.
- Effective Communication: An agent’s availability, as well as effective communication, are top priorities for most sellers.