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What to Look for in a Listing Agent for Your Home or Other Real Estate

Updated: Jan 13

For sellers, a prospective listing agent's former listings speak volumes, and it's a good idea to compare some of the important elements of those listings to those of comparable prior listings at the same properties like I did for a seller here. Sometimes information on public websites like Zillow will have information taken down after sale, so it's a good idea to ask your agent for their past 6 sales. Pay careful attention to the amount of effort you see in their lowest price listing sale, especially one where the seller doesn't have it in good shape and is a fixer upper. If some listings have certain items in marketing and others don't, look at the price tags of those homes and see if there's a pattern. If not, the agent might only do something like that when requested. In some cases, the listing agent might offer different things based on the total commission offered or the % commission offered. It's a good idea to note patterns and ask your agent about the discrepancies.

Map below of my coverage area for sellers based on price range with MLS in orange & whited out areas being areas without as solid MLS coverage:

Items to look for before agreeing to interview a prospective agent for a listing appointment:

How Experienced Are They?

While experience doesn't mean everything, an agent's total transaction history is very important. A brand new agent who just got into the business, no matter how much education or good intentions they have, will still have a big learning curve.

Have you ever heard the term "Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."? In real estate, high volume often means cut corners vs other full time agents who may be working even harder but putting their heart into it and seeking higher levels of excellence in their craft.

The more real estate education, real estate experience (including total sales) and years of full time real estate they have under their belt, the better. An easy way to see their current number of years of service & total number of transactions in many cases (though some properties may be excluded due to MLS issues syncing with Zillow or reporting issues) is to look on their Zillow profile.

In my case, at the time of this writing I have over 100 transactions under my belt, started in the marketing department at my firm full time in May 2014, marketed over 100 homes while in it, then transitioned directly into sales at the start of February 2015.

How are Their Reviews?

What Are They Communicating?

What Have They Published?

Items to look for before & in your prospective agent's listing appointment:

Detailed Walk Through of Your Home

Some listing agents are in a rush, going after volume so much that it's at the expense of their clients. While many agents seek to reach as many buyers and sellers as they can, I have a high emphasis on quality over quantity. I have been as high as in the top 8% of agents by volume in REIN MLS (the main MLS of Hampton Roads) in a year, but I have a heavy emphasis on quality over quantity, as you can see by looking at the quality of my listings and the volume of content on this website. All the writing that goes into this website, for instance, doesn't reap many short term benefits, but I feel that by educating buyers and sellers, they will be informed to make the best decisions. If I am able to reach less buyers and sellers for many years because of the time I am spending on it, so be it.

A good agent will be candid and honest with you about how to make cost effective repairs, what cleaning needs to occur, etc. An agent who tells you that you don't need to do anything about the house likely cares more about telling you what you want to hear than being honest with you. Even relatively impeccable homes should receive some feedback on what to revise. A candid and honest agent will tend to get less listings because sellers so often go with the agent that tells them what they want to hear.

Comparable Sales

Industry Knowledge


What Multiple Listing Service will you put me in?

Staging & Extras

Enhancing Buyer's Experience In Property

What Gadgets/Physical Tools Does Your Agent Have Available?