How to Interview a Listing Agent

Many sellers make the critical mistake of listing their home, land, or commercial property with the first listing agent (also know as seller's agent) that they talk to.

When asked why they selected a particular agent, their responces were:

• They believed one agent was as good as another.
• They did not know what questions to ask.
• They did not know how to confirm the agents information.

The fact is all real estate agents and Realtors® are not created equal.

When it comes to having a Realtor, or team of Realtors, represent you in the sell of your home, land, or commercial property, you need to be able to place that responsibility on someone who has:

• An in-dept knowledge of real estate contacts, addendums, and supporting legal documents.
• Years of experience in representing both sellers and buyers, i.e., the best defense is in knowing the offense!
• The knowledge to create and successfully execute a multi-media marketing plan geared towards today's market conditions.
• A proven track record for negotiating, price, terms, upgrades, repairs, etc.
• A proven track record for selling the homes, land, or commercial property that they list.

Here are the steps to take when interviewing potential real estate agents and Realtors®.

#1  Look at the agent's promotional materials.

If the agent is not able to sell you on his or her skills, how can they effectively market or sell buyers on your property?
Your real estate agent needs to be able to create professional promotional materials, including web site, magazines, flyers, and multi-list advertisements, that will effectively market your home.

#2  Ask the agent to provide evidence of his or hers sales experience.

Your agent should have a good list-to-sell ratio. After all, your ultimate goal is not to list your property, but to sell it.

The agent needs to supply the following information regarding previous sales:

• Pictures of the homes, land, or commercial properties.
• The address of each property.
• The date each property sold.
• Who the agent represented in each transaction. You want an agent who has experience representing both Sellers and Buyers.
• List price vs. sold price. An agent who sells close to the original list price is effective in helping his clients determine a realistic market price and achieving that goal in the shortest amount of time.

#3  Determining your Best Asking Price and avoiding “Yes Agents.”

You need a Realtor® who will be honest and tell you what you need to know, even if it may not be what you want to hear. This is especially true when it comes to taking the most critical step towards selling your home, i.e., setting the correct asking or list price.

The correct list price will attract prospective buyers, reflect the condition of your home, and get you the best price possible under current market conditions.

In order to determine your correct list price, your real estate agent must provide you with an up-to-date and comprehensive Comparative Market Analysis or CMA. Together through detailed comparisons between your home, recently sold homes, and homes currently on the market you and your Realtor® can determine what your home is worth in today's market.

“Yes Agents” will agree with anything you say, even will they know it will hamper or even prevent the sale of your property. Why? “Yes Agents” simply want to place a sign (an advertisement for themselves) on your property in order to attract and sell buyers properties that are correctly priced. On the other hand, you also need to avoid “Low-ball” agents who try to talk you into an artificially low price simply to get advantage of a quick sell.

#4  knowledge of real estate contacts, addendums, and supporting legal documents.

A Realtor® is more than a salesperson. Truly professional Realtors® have an in-depth knowledge of contracts, addendums, stipulations, disclosures, and numerous other legal documents that may be required in the sale.

The agent you choose must be able to explain, in detail, every section of the listing agreement to your complete satisfaction. If the agent has difficulty explaining the listing agreement, he or she will most likely have difficulty explaining “Purchase and Sale Agreements” addendums, and other documents to you and the Buyer?

#5  Ask “What separates you from your competition?”

• Do you offer web site(s) advertising with property search functions free to Buyers?
• Do you offer a 24-hour call line for Buyers to receive information on your listings?
• Are you a member of the local board of Realtors®?
• Are you a member of the Georgia and/or Tennessee Association of Realtors®?
• Are you a member of the National Association of Realtors®?
• Are you a member of the area Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?
• Are you a member of a state-wide Multiple Listing Service, such as the Georgia FMLS?

Realtors® who are innovative and offer new methods of attracting home buyers, such as the interactive web sites, will measurably outperform agents who rely on methods of the past. Marketing effectively in the year 2010 and beyond requires progressive strategies that add value and service for both Sellers and Buyers.

#6  Sales Commission

Commission varies from region to region, but typically the cost for a Realtor® services, i.e., marketing, negotiating, scheduling events, and providing contacts and other legal documents, is six (6) percent of the sale price, and is only payable up on the closing of the sale.