How to Choose a Listing Agent

What to Look For in a Listing Agent

It won't be hard to find a listing agent. They're sales people at heart, so they are usually very aggressive about seeking out clients to represent. The hard part comes in choosing the right agent for you and your house. Start by asking relatives, friends, neighbors and coworkers that you can trust. Maybe they sold or bought a house recently, and had a good experience with a certain agent. You might also ask real estate lawyers, mortgage lenders and home inspectors. They will often have certain agents whose work they respect, and others they would turn you away from.

It's a good idea to look for an agent who specializes in properties similar to yours. Look at the "for sale" signs in your neighborhood, or attend open houses. Also check neighborhoods close by, or across town that have houses of similar size and value. If you are selling a condo, look for an agent who sells condos. If you live in a rural area, there are agents who specialize in rural and tract land. Most of that information should be readily available on agent profiles on Web sites. That's another good way to weed out prospective agents early. If they don't have a solid Web site, chances are they don't have the marketing and tech savvy to get the most out of your listing.

Don't go too far overboard in expecting your agent to have wide exposure. We've all seen the bus ads and billboards for that local, high-volume agent with the catchy slogan. Those celebrity listing agents aren't for everyone. You may not get the personal attention you would like from those agents. Instead, you could be dealing with the agent's associates and assistants the majority of the time. The high-volume agent might be a good fit if your property is in a particularly affluent area. They often have contacts with the types of buyers who can afford more expensive properties.

You shouldn't be afraid to look into independent agents or agents with small realty firms, especially if they have niche expertise. There are bad agents at some of the large brokers, and great agents who work in one-person shops. Your focus should be on their experience and credentials, not on the size of their agency. Continue to the next page to find out how to evaluate agents once you've done some preliminary research.

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