What Should You Look For in a Listing Agent?

Sellers are often confused as to what makes a good Realtor® for listing their property...Is it being "Number One" or should you, the Buyer or Seller be number one? Is it their service fee (commission) or will that be overshadowed by the their adherence to the factors my friend and mentor Adorna O. Carroll points to when she counsels clients what they should look for in a listing agent?

Here is Adorna's list:

Improper pricing of a property:

Pricing at or near market value will always make a property easier to sell and within a shorter time. The fact that a house sells quickly does not mean that money has been left on the table, if all the research has been done and the marketing has alerted potential Buyers to the property.

Lack of due diligence:

Using a local Realtor® who is aware of what to look for and has done the proper due diligence is important. Is the area affected by Termites or Carpenter Ants and has there been a building inspection? Has the Realtor® searched the title and asked all the proper questions and offered solutions?

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Did not explain the process:

The selling process is much more complex than just picking a price and putting the property on MLS. Has the property been staged to highlight the benefits while hiding some deficiencies and has a schedule been agreed upon to allow the maximum number of showings and family flexibility for ease of access by Buyers and their agents. Legal responsibilities must be explained and fulfilled.

Does not have the proper skills:

Once a price has been agreed upon and you have moved to the market place does the Realtor® have the experience in marketing. Times have changed and newspaper ads are not bringing the Buyers that websites and social media are today. Getting the house ready for sale with a supporting team is huge today.

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Is inflexible or lacks creative solutions:

Sometimes your Realtor® needs to be looking for flexible alternatives. Once, in a difficult market, I had clients that wanted to buy a specific property but could not do so without a firm sale on their home. The house they wanted had been on the market for a while and was quite idiosyncratic. When I appeared with an offer conditional upon the sale of the buyer's house, we turned it into a firm deal where houses were traded and some cash was added so my clients could achieve their goal....A solution that would never have been achieved had the listing agent not been creative and flexible.

Has difficulty working with other professionals:

Ego can get in the way in any negotiation...the "Do you know who I am?" monster can raise its head whether you are dealing with the other agents, sellers, buyers, mortgage providers or any parties to the transaction. I often assume that not only will I have responsibilities to do my job in the best way possible, I would be willing to do the job of the other side to make sure that all details are looked after.

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Does not have a good team of peripheral professionals:

Knowing who to suggest to the Buyer or Seller so that they have the best professional advisers is key. Trying not to overstep our directions to the client by delving into advise that should be provided to the Buyer or Seller by a professional immersed in the subject is key. Adorna Carroll puts it well when she says, "you must be the source of the source...but not the source...". In other words you must be the access to the best team of periferal professionals.

Lets details slip through the cracks:

Sometimes, in the rush to getting the best price possible, Buyers and Sellers forget to look for the details that can cause drama as the deal moves towards closing. Trying to keep both parties calm and pointing out details that could cause problems at a later date.

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Has not prepared client that fees, inclusions, and desired items are merely a suggestion:

Often in trying to negotiate a sale, price is not the only issue that is negotiated. Trying to be flexible with the other offerings other than price can make or break a deal. Inclusions can be the hold out issue in completing a deal putting thousands of dollars in jeopardy, when the inclusion could be replaced new for hundreds of dollars.

So remember, when searching for a listing agent, make sure that costs are not the only thing that are driving the bus and make sure you ask questions of the agent and their previous clients. Ask for referrals!

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