Choosing a Listing Agent: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

When you are choosing a listing agent for the sale of your home, carefully evaluate the professionalism of the agent and the company for which they work. Avoid the common pitfalls of mistaking low commission for a good deal, high list price for higher profit potential and the previous success of the agent as guaranteeing success for you. The following five tips on mistakes to avoid can help you find the right listing agent and avoid the wrong one.

No. 1 - Mistaking Low Commission With “Good Deal”

In most cases, the commission a real estate agent will earn for selling your home is determined by state regulation or by policy of the company with which the listing agent works. Some agents negotiate commission, but that is more common in commercial real estate.

However, if your listing agent offers to reduce commission, is that a good thing? Not necessarily. Real estate sales is hard work and an effective listing agent is worth the commission you pay. If someone is willing to take a lower commission, it can be an indication their service is not worth going rate.

No. 2 - Mistaking High List Price With More Profit

The list price of your home should be based on market conditions, not on what you want to get. It is possible a listing agent will set a high price to convince you to list with him or her, knowing full well the house will not move at that price and must be lowered later. By that time, you will already be in a listing agreement with the agent.

Don’t assume that a high listing price means you’ve got a better listing agent. The best agent is the one who will assess your needs and desires in light of the current market conditions and suggest a list price in line with those.

No. 3 - Mistaking Success Anywhere With Success Everywhere

A listing agent who is the most successful at his or her firm should be taken seriously. However, if that success was at a firm where the average home is substantially different from yours or is in a market that is not near where you are, it doesn’t mean as much.

Make sure your listing agent has specific experience with homes in your neighborhood. Real estate is a very localized business.

No. 4 - Mistaking a Friend for a Partner

You will most likely sign a written listing agreement binding you for a time to you listing agent. Don’t make the mistake of choosing an agent because your personalities are compatible. Often, the skills needed to sell your home are not the skills you have. Choose a listing agent not because it is a friend, or you simply like them, but because they have the experience, the skills and the drive to sell your home.

No. 5 - Ignoring the Warning Signs

Some agents are better at selling themselves than selling your home. Know the listing agent’s reputation in the market. Do they make a professional presentation? Are they courteous yet firm? Are they honest and knowledgeable?

Don’t ignore warning signs. A person who can sell you on themselves in person yet has signage in ill repair, shows up late for appointments or is slow in returning calls is not the listing agent for you.

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