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Finding a listing agent

What do I look for when finding an agent to list my home?
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October 21 2010 - Oakley
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Someone you feel like you can trust!  The best way to identify that is to sit down with them face to face and have a chat.  I recommend creating a list of pros and cons for your ideal agent.  In the end, the agent with the most check marks on the pros side wins - so to speak.


Just remember, however, that any good real estate agent will also be evaluating you and your home to see if it is a good fit for them as well.
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October 21 2010
You need to interview agents and pick one that you fell most comfortable with and the COMMUNICATES with you well.  The biggest complaint I hear about agents is their lack of communication.  
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October 21 2010
I would interview several agents to help find the best one and help educate yourself. I would make sure they are taking advantage of the internet to market your home, that is the numbe one way people are finding the home they purchase today.
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October 21 2010
Finding a Realtor that is excellant in marketing is very important. Maximizing the amount of pictures in MLS and other websites along with details is the gateway to prospective buyers. Finding a Realtor you can trust that has good communication with a seller is key. Getting updates about your listing on the market is an important part of the process. The question is, will the Realtor give you truly remarkable service. If you can say yes, then that is the Realtor you should employ to list your property.

Sheri Mapes ~ Realtor
Coldwell Banker West Shell Cincinnati
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October 21 2010
Read this article, it shows just what to look for in a listing agent.  Please check out the rest of my web site, I work the Cincinnati area and currently have a listing  in Oakley.

Now that you know what you want to look for, one way to do it is search for listings in your area and find the ones that represent the property best with the number and quality of photos, virtual tour, descriptions, where the listings are placed on websites and the number of web sites.  When you see ones you like, interview several of the agents.  In addition to the marketing, look for testimonials and try to determine the negotiation skills of the agent.  Once you have an offer (or more) negotiation becomes very important.
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October 21 2010
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Thank you everyone for all the good answers.

Jim - I will call you.  I have heard good things about you and know you sell a lot of homes.
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October 21 2010
First decide if you want to go with a traditional agent who charges a higher commission, or a flat fee MLS Broker who will get your property listed in the Realtors Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and hundreds of the most popular real estate websites out there.  Flat Fee MLS has been a very successful option for Cincinnati area home sellers, who want to save their hard-earned equity.  The service typically costs around $500, and includes assistance by an Ohio real estate licensee, all the forms necessary to sell, agent-friendly yard sign, and other options you may want to consider.  Statistically, it the MLS listing that is most likely to connect the seller and the buyer.  In fact, MLS listings connect the buyer with the seller more often then open houses, newspaper ads, agent advertising combined.

When choosing a flat fee listing service, make sure you:
1. Call them--Calling the broker is an excellent way to see how responsive and helpful they are.  If you always go to voicemail, that speaks loudly to their responsiveness,  
2. Check their background-the Better Business Bureau website is an excellent place to check (put the company name in at http://cincinnati.bbb.org/), and  
3. Make sure they guarantee in writing that you will be listed in the CincyMLS also known as the MLS of Greater Cincinnati, Inc. (Subsidiary of the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors).  This is the MLS used by all the agents in Southwestern Ohio.
4. Check online review websites for compliments from satisfied customers and complaints.

Avoid the lowest price flat fee brokers, there are some very questionable flat fee websites out there, and if you research them you will find out why.  My website has links to reputable brokers in 48 states as well. Good luck with your home sale.
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October 21 2010
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Thanks but no thanks. I have no interest in a flat fee mls broker.  No service and you pay even if your home does not sell.  I know that just being in the mls does not mean that agents will show my home.  I want a real listing agent.
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October 21 2010
Thanks johnqma,

I look forward to your call and selling your home.
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October 21 2010
Interview several then pick the most professional honest agent of the one's you interview.
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October 21 2010

1.   The Phone Interview - Place a call to each of the agents on your list. Document how quickly they returned your call. Remember: they will be returning calls to your prospective home buyers. Do an initial 'feel out' interview over the phone so when you meet you will both be prepared.

2.   Request a Complete Plan - >From title to escrow, request a complete plan as to the services they can provide for you.

3.   Evaluate Their Team - Top producers will have established relationships with lenders, title reps, inspectors... everything. They are there for your benefit and if they are ill prepared to handle all the steps, you are being short changed.

4.   Detailed Report of your Property - Request a complete report of your property with ideas for improvements, cosmetic changes, structural repairs or anything that could add value to your property. Remember a small investment up front will pay higher dividends at the time of sale.

5.   Alternative Report - Request a complete report of alternatives to the home sale. What would current market leases generate? Rentals? Responsibilities attached with leasing? Have your agent educate you as to all your options.

6.   Insist on Prequalification - Don't waste valuable time negotiating or showing your property to unqualified prospects. Insist your agent prequalifies candidates to screen out all unwanted prospects.

7.   A Net Sheet - Request a complete net sheet, minus commissions and fees, showing your exact proceeds at the time of sale.

8.   A Marketing Plan - Insist on a step-by-step marketing plan of how your property is going to be sold and marketed. Look for innovative ways to attract home buyers. Demand 24-hour advertising, lead accountability and tracking services. These services exist and you should insist upon them.

9.   Telemarketing Efforts - Investigate the agents telemarketing team. Do they just cold call or do they have a mechanism to create proactive leads and call on those prospects?

10. Direct Mail - Investigate the agents capacity to send direct mail. How often do prospects receive mail? Is it professional? Does the mail piece motivate prospects to respond?

11. Advertising - Is it well written and professional? How many ad mediums do they utilize? They should be advertising in at least three; a homes magazine, community or local newspaper and yard signs. Remember: the quality of the advertising will directly influence how well your home will be perceived.

12. Negotiation Strategy - Have a written, well conceived, negotiation strategy. The old adage, "You don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate" rings true in real estate. Insist on a sound negotiation strategy before you entertain buyers.

13. Closing Checklist - Be sure to get a written closing checklist. You need to know in detail how you will conclude the sale of your home. This should provide a step-by-step procedure that will be easy to understand and follow.

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October 26 2010
Think of it as a job interview. Have several different people come and "applu" for the job.
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October 26 2010
Just pick me.  I will make sure that you are able to accomplish your real estate goals and we will have a good time while we are at it.  :)
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October 27 2010
Look at the least desperate of the bunch, and ask him how many homes he/she sells monthly and yearly and not what they sold three years ago but in the last two years and to prove it to you.

If they have been able to sell in this market it should show you that they have the knowledge and experience to help you in this most difficult market.
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October 27 2010

Like finding the right house, selecting a REALTOR you can trust and comfortably work with is paramount. Just as you wouldn't be casual in the selection of your doctor or your attorney, you shouldn't take the selection of your REALTOR lightly. Indeed, the best way to find such a professional is through recommendations from family and friends. Of course, you should interview several REALTORS before you choose one. If you're selling your home, you should ask the candidates how they plan to market your home, what pricing advice they can offer, and what other suggestions they can provide to further enhance the desirability of your home. Whether you?re buying or selling, ask candidates about the transaction to evaluate their knowledge. Ask for--and check--references. And, finally, ask yourself whether you will feel comfortable working closely with this individual in the months ahead.

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October 27 2010
One with experience selling homes, and one that you trust.  Expectations is a huge thing right now in this market and you really need one who has current experience and knows how to get their listings sold.  It is really about pricing, presentation of the listing, great photos, and maximum exposure on todays most popular real estate websites.  You both need to be on the same page as far as expectations with price & timing etc.
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November 06 2010
When interviewing for a new agent find out what kind of marketing plan they offer and what they focus the majority of their marketing efforts on (print ads, internet, mailings, etc). Remember the majority of buyers, over 90% according to the National Association of Realtors, find their listings online. What kind of presence will your home have online? Do they take their own pictures? Most agents do...ask for a sample of their 3 most recent listings to see what kind of pictures they take. How many pictures do they have available for buyers to view? Great pictures get showings, and the more the better! Do they offer virtual tours of the property? Curb-side information via text to a potential buyers smartphone? As the seller you decide the price, but what kind of information are they providing about current market conditions in your area? Are their views on price realistic or are they promising you the sky? After a showing of your property how will they communicate feedback? How often do they keep in contact with you and how (email, phone call, marketing report, etc)? Do they have any suggestions for the property (staging, repair, de-clutter, etc.)? Go online and checkout their website, current listings, blog, etc. See first hand how they market their listings...do your homework.

Also, pay attention to the questions they are asking you. If your listing previously expired then they should be interviewing you as well to find out what went right and what went wrong. By doing so they will be able to evaluate the situation better and tweak their marketing plan accordingly.

There are many wonderful and professional Realtors in the industry with a high level of integrity. Find one. Find a Realtor that takes this job seriously. Don't just find the person that is filled with promises (fast sale with low commissions, the pricing advice that you want to hear rather than the truth, etc.) Ask your friends, family, and co-workers if they would recommend anyone. As cliche' as it sounds, remember to pay attention to your gut. My belief is that your gut will tell you a good deal about a person and sometimes a successful transaction is due in part to the ability to feel comfortable talking to the person who is guiding you through the details of this important process.
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November 16 2010
Well I've seen a lot of good advice given out on this one.  First, check on-line and do a geographical search for your area.  For instance, where I live, I would type in Somerset Ky Homes (or real estate).  See which agents and web-sites show up first.  Look on Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com, Google real estate, Yahoo real estate, & AOL and see which agents & sites consistently show up near the top.  Once you have determined which ones are near the top on most sites, go to their site and check their content AND their listing inventory.  Do they have a lot of listings?  Do they have a lot of comparable homes listed that are similar to your home?  (Do they have luxury homes or lower-priced homes, for instance...)  Check their listings, do they do good write-ups?  Are the pictures good?  Are there a lot of good pictures and do they represent the property well? 

Now get out and drive around.  Pick up print ads at local shopping areas where real estate publications & newspapers are located and see which agents stand out in this area.  Do you see any billboards of agents around your geographical area?  Do you hear any agents or companies on the radio or see them on TV?  If you are driving around your neighborhood and consistently keep seeing the same company or the same agent's sign around, that is also a very good indicator.  You know if you can find even one agent or company that stands out in all these areas, it is going to make your choice a lot easier.

Finally interview the top candidates and see if you actually feel comfortable working with them.  Just as a lot of the others have indicated, you have to trust your Realtor and you have to be confident in their efforts to get your home sold.  Key characteristics of that good Realtor are honesty, hard-working, knowledgeable, professional, caring, persistant, and responsive.  I hope this helps!
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November 22 2010
Whether buying or selling, here is what is important.  Ask the right questions when you interview an agent.   How many years have you been in the business.  Do you have any other jobs other than real estate? How many properties do you sell a year?  How many listings sold, how many buyer sales?  Don't bother with Are you full time.  An agent who is a teacher/mailman, will tell you they are full time, but how can they be?!  If they say sold 12 properties a year, how is 1 a month full time?  You want someone who sells 30+ properties a year for several years.  WHERE is your office, where are 90% of the properties that you sell?  Show me a list! THEY are the ones who are around to answer your questions, have the experience to have the RIGHT answers to your questions and they are the ones who know how to get it done!
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December 10 2010

I think what you really want to look at is their track record of working for their clients. You should ask to see recommendation letters. Or better yet ask to speak to their past clients. After that I would be very interested in their marketing plan. Interenet marketing is the most critical. Over 95% of all buyers now you use the internet as a tool in searching for a home. To compare agents I would interview about 3 agents. You may be surprised at how their responses to your questions may vary! 
 

Good Luck

Andy Weiss

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December 19 2010
 
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