I recently overheard some people talking about how their listing agent was wonderful. They said that their listing agent was wonderful because they were able to sell the home above the asking price and the house was only on the market for one day.  That got me to thinking. How do you judge a good listing agent?  Would you even know if your listing agent was any better than another?

The best listing agents are going to be the ones who work with you throughout the entire sales process to get your house sold.  Don’t be fooled by random luck

I’m convinced that even though the general public thinks they know what real estate agents do, they are often very mistaken when it comes to listing a home for sale.  A lot of these misconceptions are likely the result of some pretty slick real estate marketing.

I can sell your house faster than the average listing agent

On the surface, this seems like a wonderful quality to have in a listing agent.  Who doesn’t want to sell a house fast as possible?  The devil is in the details though.  What if you are listing a house that is in perfect condition and is priced correctly in a hot market?  A trained monkey should be able to sell faster than the average in this situation.

What if your house isn’t in perfect condition?  What if it is a unique property that is going to take a special buyer?  That house isn’t going to sell faster than the average, no matter who is the agent.

What about pricing?  If an agent lists a house for a price that is really low compared to others, the house should definitely sell faster, but it will also leave you with less money when the house is sold.  Is that really what you want?

I can sell your house for more money than the average listing agent

Really?  How are you going to do that?  What kind of house are we talking about here?  In theory, this would go something like the following scenario.  There are two houses that are the exact same in every way and go on the market at the exact same time.  Realtor A sells their house for more money than Realtor B.

But, does that make any sense?  In a dynamic and fast moving marketplace, it’s literally impossible to discern that one agent can sell a home for more money than another.  Also, there aren’t two homes that are exactly the same.

I can sell your house because I have buyers

I wrote about his before.  Every real estate agent has buyers.  How many buyers do you think the real estate agent has?  Thousands?  I doubt it.  Hundreds?  Don’t kid yourself.  They may have buyers and the buyer may be interested in your house, but they are also going to look at every house currently on the market before they make a decision.  9 times out of 10, it isn’t going to be yours.

I can sell your house because I am in an office with many other real estate agents

A listing agent who I really respect lost a listing to this line of thought once.  The idea is that because you are listing with an agent who is part of a large office, the other agents in the office are going to run right out and bring a buyer.  It really doesn’t work that way though.  Real estate brokerages are kind of like this.  There’s going to be one or two top performers, there are going to be a few who are average, and then the bottom half are going to be those agents who have either found another calling or will be soon.

In some offices, the agents hate each other and are so hyper possessive and paranoid, they don’t even tell anyone about their new listing.  In other offices, there’s no one actually at the office.  Regardless, the size of an office isn’t going to get your house sold any faster.

I can sell your house because I am working at an exclusive, luxury brokerage

I’ve also found this very fascinating when I talk with sellers.  The logic goes something like this.  Say you have an average home.  This is average, to you.  Now, you go out and find a real estate brokerage in St. Louis that you think only has luxury listings.  You sheepishly ask them if they could be bothered to list your terrible $500,000 home in Webster Groves.  Guess what?  They will!  Oh Joy!  This has nothing to do with selling your house though.  This is an ego trip, and congratulations, you’ve been taken for a ride.  Real estate brokerages exist to list and sell homes.  They don’t care where their agents do it, as long as they are doing it.

I can sell your home because I’ve sold many homes this year

I love this line of thinking.  The idea is that because a listing agent has sold many homes over a given time frame, they are a good fit for you.  How many listings can one agent take?  How many listings does this real estate team have?  How did you get stuck with the person in front of you?

How Do You Really Judge A Good Listing Agent?

It’s almost impossible to judge a good real estate agent.  There are some things you want to look for.

  • Communication skills: Does the real estate agent communicate well with you?  Does the agent answer your questions in a satisfactory manner?
  • Attention to detail: Does the listing agent seem to pay attention to detail?  Is paperwork sloppy or incomplete?  Do they have an assistant that cleans up paperwork for them?  A lack of attention to detail isn’t someone you want to be working with.
  • Do they seem comfortable in their own skin? Is the listing agent standing in front of you confident?  Are they pushy?  Do you get the sense that they would tell you anything just to get a sale?  That’s not really someone you are going to want to list your hose with.

I’d be interested to hear your stories of how you judge a good listing agent.  I know there are quite a few out there that aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, and I also know there are some agents and teams that are awful but still bring in business.  Let me know in the comments section below.