How to Choose a Listing Agent
Criteria for Selecting the Best Listing Agent or realtor to list your home
In Metro Atlanta, Gwinnett (Lawrenceville, Buford, Duluth, Dacula, Suwanee), Hall (Flowery Branch and Gainesville), Jackson County (Hoschton, Braselton, and Jefferson), to Oconee and Athens it pays to know how to choose a listing agent to help sell your house! Finding the Best Realtor is key to getting your home sold!
What are some of the biggest mistakes home owners make when choosing a Realtor to list their home as a listing agent? How about selecting an agent solely based on:
- Highest List Price for Your Home
- Agent Offering the Lowest Commission
These two criteria have very little to do with hiring the best agent and, in many cases, are not relevant. Let's look at why.
The Highest Suggested List Price
A Real Estate Agent can't tell you the exact price your home will sell for today. That's a fallacy. A listing agent can show you comparable sales, pending sales, and active listings. Actually you the home onwer choose the "sales" price and a buyer will tell you if the price is right by making an offer and coming to an agreement on terms!
- To get the listing some agents may offer a "pie in the sky" price thinking they are telling the seller what they want to hear.
Since agents can't guarantee your sales price, the listing agent who suggests the highest price is probably simply trying to get the listing. Ask agents competiting for your listing to show numbers supporting a suggested list price. If they can't produce sales to justify their suggested list price or the home sales they can produce are located in a different neighborhood then you know this may not be realistic.
- Look for a listing agent who gives you a range of pricing on your home.
There is always a price range. Even appraisals have a range of value in additon to a stated appraised value. This range might be $20,000 apart on the low-end versus the high-end or greater.
- Pricing is an art form.
All experts agree that the best time for an offer is within the first 30 days on market. Homes that are priced right usually get offers. If it's priced too high, you might not get any showings at all, and you'll eventually end up reducing the price, leaving buyers wondering what's wrong with your house.
Should You Choose an Agent Based on Commission?
Real estate agents are not equal. Remember that in real estate as with most things in life that about 10% of the agents do 90% of the business. Each agent has their own marketing techniques and advertising budget. By choosing an agent with a large advertising budget and a company with deep pockets to match, you will gain greater exposure to the largest number of buyers, which is most ideal. Reaching greater numbers of buyers equals better chances of a good offer as well as obtaining that offer sooner int the marketing process! Less hold time on that property in the marketing or listing process the fewer mortgage payments you have to make and less interest paid on that mortgage through closing!
Sometimes as a full-service agent I do negotiate a lower commission under special circumstances such as:
- You're buying a home and selling a home at the same time.
- You're selling more than one home.
- You don't have enough equity to pay a full commission.
- I matches a competitor's fee.
If you are interviewing agents who offer similar services and can't decide between who to choose, ask to see a track record of each agent's original list price and final sale numbers on sales over the past six (6) months.
Importance of Agent Marketing
A good listing agent lives and dies by marketing. Because marketing sells homes. Review a complete copy of the agent's marketing plan. What is that agent going to do to market your home? Here are the minimums you should expect:
- Professional signage, including agent's cell phone number. Includes a Sign Rider for "TEXT for Details" which is tied into a call capture system for drive by Buyer leads.
- Electronic Lockbox for the Front Door.
- Daily electronic monitoring of lockbox access.
- Follow-up reports on buyer showings / feedback for you as the Seller.
- Broker previews or Broker to Broker Open Houses!
- Incentives for broker / office previews. We Offer "Win an Ipad" preview and open house programs!
- Staging advice.
- Weekly advertising in major newspapers. We use the AJC HomeFinder for Listings and Buyer Leads!
- Advertising Listings on YouTube, Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com as Featured Listings!
- MLS exposure on not just one (1), but ALL MAJOR area MLS services with 24 to 30 professional Hi-Resolution Photographs.
- Virtual tour.
- Distribution to more than 500 Majory Websites!
- Hi-Resolution Color flyers.
- Financing flyers for buyers through a preferred lender.
- Minimum of 2 open houses, providing its location is a good candidate for a buyer open house.
- Direct mail to surrounding neighbors, out-of-area buyers, and other Brokers.
- Updated CMAs or Comparable Market Anaylsis after the "First 30 Days" on the market.
- E-mail feeds of new listings that compete and Listing Reports weekly.
- Updates on neighborhood facts, trends and recent sales.
It's a combination of all these methods that sell homes. Please View our Digital Magazine for my Prudential Advanced Marketing Plan!
What are Characteristics of a Good Listing Agent?
- Experience. Let new agents learn the business on somebody else's time. As an Associate Broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia, formerly Prudential Georgia Realty, I have almost ten years experience in the real estate industry and have placed in the Top 25 Agents with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia (out of more than 1,100) each of the past two years after joining the company in 2010. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia is the largest brokerage company in Metro Atlanta. Note the map below, I sell homes all over from Gwinnett to Hall, Jackson, Barrow, Oconee, and Athens!
- Education. Ask about degrees and certifications. I am both eCertified and am a Fine Homes International Specialist.
- Honesty. I let Reviews from clients I have worked with on both sides of the "closing" table speak of my commitment to those that I work with.
- Networking. Did you know that some homes sell because agents have contacted other agents? My goal in working with Metro Atlanta home owners is to contact as many of the other 1,100 agents within my own company plus those within my Sphere of Influence to make sure that as many Real Estate Professionals as possible see your listing!
- Negotiation skills. You want an aggressive negotiator. You want someone who understands that they work for you the Seller to get you Top Dollar on your home and not somebody out to make a quick sale at your expense.
- Fast Responder. In this day and time, if you don't respond quickly as a Real Estate Agent, you miss business!
Finally, ask that agent interviewing for your listing for a personal guarantee. If the agent won't guarantee their performance including releasing you from a listing upon request, don't hire that agent. For me personally, if your home does not sell in the first 30 days then I discount a half a percent off the commission. I also discount another half for the next 60 days on market without an offer! These are firm personal guarantees you won't find with another full service broker!
Please contact me today to let me know how I might be of service to you!