How to choose your listing agent

Real Estate

Whether you would like to downsize or move up to a better home, you may need to sell your current residence.  The fastest, most profitable, safest and easiest way to sell your home is with a Realtor®.  The process of selecting the right Realtor can be daunting, you may have a relative or friend that expects you to give him the listing, but having a relationship with the Realtor is not one of the criteria you should be looking for.

Qualities to look for in a Listing Agent
Before deciding on who will list your home, interview at least 3 agents, no agent is the same. During your interviews look for the following:

A good track record – Amount of past sales and reviews are a good indication.  A good reputation in your area also helps.

Favorable reviews – Check reviews online, for example, does a good job ensuring the veracity of the reviews.

A fair amount of sales in the last 12 months, how many? It depends on the market. Again you can use Zillow or to corroborate this information. This shows that the realtor is a full-time agent and not part-time. You don’t want a part-time realtor when you are paying a full-time commission!!

A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) – this report should include homes that are similar to yours in location, size, features, and upgrades, that have sold recently, are on pending sale or are active in the market. Square footage upgrades and condition is also a factor in a CMA. A CMA demonstrates that the real estate agent took time to research your home and come up with a marketing strategy to sell it at top value and fast. Do not hire a realtor that doesn’t present you a CMA.

A professional image – look at the email address, is it a Gmail or Hotmail email? Look for an email address with the real estate agent’s website domain (, full-featured website (, a recognized name in your area, profiles in social media and real estate websites like Zillow, Real estate websites serve two purposes, to allow clients to find your home and to help sellers find a listing agent.

Communication – You want to be sure that your agent will be available to you during every stage of selling your home. Your agent should provide you updates at least weekly on showings feedback, interested buyers and marketing efforts. If they aren’t answering your calls, what makes you think they are answering calls from other agents who are bringing prospective buyers?!?

Professional Photography -This is a must. Buyers need to see your home in the most favorable light. Your agent should offer this service at no cost; after all, you are paying a fair market commission. Sellers sometimes ask why their home doesn’t sell. Besides a home being overpriced, photos are the obvious answers. All too often, you may find a realtor too cheap to invest a few hundred dollars into professional photos, instead of resorting to taking low-quality smartphone pictures. Check out these terrible and unfortunately real MLS photos, you may find your neighbor’s home there,, 

Marketing reach – Simply listing a home in the MLS is not properly marketing a home. Ask for examples of how the agent marketed prior listings. If he/she is worth the commission, they will show you a proper marketing plan that includes Internet marketing, Social Media, and Print. If this agent doesn’t have internet and social media marketing knowledge or doesn’t have internet presence on the largest home search engine available (Zillow).

Staging – A good realtor should give you advice on staging and how to make your home more appealing. If he/she tells you that posting photos of a cluttered house is alright, it’s a red flag!!

Brokerage Reputation – A reputable brokerage company is very important. Imagine if you encounter any problems with the transaction, the buyer or any unexpected issues, A good brokerage can make all the difference in the world by providing legal advice, experience, and support.

Negotiation – There are two main areas of negotiation when you sell your home- the purchase price when you accept an offer and negotiating the Buyer’s request for credits, reduction, or repairs after they have completed their inspections. An experienced Agent will have superior negotiating skills and will fight for you to get the most money. With a discount Broker, you will pay less in commission, but, you will also walk away with less money in your pocket at the end of the day because they do not have the expertise, marketing manpower, and skills, to sell your home for top dollar. Bottom line – If you don’t want to sell your home for a discounted price, you should not hire a discount agent.

Follow this guide and you will at least have done your due diligence to pick between the best options available. After all, you are paying good money to sell your home, you need to ask for knowledge, experience, and quality. Pay the full commission but ask for full service and hold us to the highest quality standards. That is the only way to improve the quality of service in the real estate profession.

We will expand on each one of these qualities on later Blogs.

Armando Santana
The Santana Group at Coldwell Banker