choosing a realtor

lbelleApril 16, 2012

Can't seem to pull the trigger on selecting a realtor. One couple I like. They work partime and have few listings, but 8 years experience and a good personal reference. The other with a good reference, but not personal -a colleage- with lots of listings and years of experience The first gets 6%, the other 5%. How do I know which to choose in the age of the internet? Does one realtor really bring inmore buyers? Or does the internet do all the work?

And, do agents really blow off going to a realtor open house if it is in the country? We are talking a subdivision in the country. makes me wonder if real estate agents are lazy or unnecessary if an agent just waits by the phone for a buyer to call them off a photo seen on

So much more confused. Wouldn't be so confused if $30,000 wasn't at stake. It's not like the realtor is punching my clock. I guess it could equal out if I quit my job and become a full time FSBO . It's all so subjective after you pay to get on the MLS and

How did you decide on your realtor?

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I chose my realtor by getting referrals from friends and co-workers. I interviewed three of them. I also called references.

I am very happy with my realtor especially now that the deal is in progress. The most important thing to me is for a realtor to represent my interests. IMHO making sure the transaction goes well is the most important part of what a realtor does.

Having worked with both experienced and inexperienced agents I am convinced that experience is very important when it comes to making things go smoothly.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 11:42PM
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I'm not convinced that listing agents can do much to directly drive traffic to your house or make people submit offers. They put you in the MLS and others know you're there.

What they CAN potentially do is help you increase the marketability of your house by:
1. Advising you on staging, particularly if they're willing to tell you things that might offend you instead of dancing around issues and coming up with a couple minor things. I would screen for this by giving them a tour and asking them for feedback. I'd avoid anyone that says everything looks fine.
2. Advising you well on pricing. Price too high and you'll lack viewers and the property will get stale. Price too low and you leave money on the table (though I rarely hear tales of this). Their price recommendation should be based in hard math of recent comps, not gut feels or a "let's start high and we can always drop the price" approach.
3. Getting feedback from showings and pass that along to you with recommendations on anything you need to do in response to it.

A good realtor can also help once a potential buyer is ready to make an offer.
4. Negotiate to get the price as high as possible, and advise you on when to take it and when to walk. Too many realtors are just messengers. Instead, they should be trying to get info from the buyer's agent that will shed light on their negotiating position.
5. Smoothing the paperwork process. They can do the footwork and follow-up to make sure the t's are crossed and the i's dotted.

In my case, I've had great buyer's agents (and one dud) but only mediocre listing agents. We're about to put our house on the market and opted to go FSBO because I believe that I can do all of the above myself as well as or better than most agents, and am willing to do the extra work to save the money. The one thing I can't do is get into the MLS, because the local association doesn't allow discount brokers, and that's a big risk, since most buyers have agents that will feed them from the MLS, but that's a gamble I'm taking.

If I were hiring a listing agent, I'd screen very rigorously for the above characteristics. Plus good communication (with me) skills.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 9:24AM
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I would strongly suggest that you hire a full time professional agent with experience. You want someone who will be responsive to you, not a part timer with another job. If neither of these two fit the bill there are many others out there.

Check out some of their listings on public sites like If you want lots of pictures and information about your house on you need to hire an agent who subscribes to enhanced listings there.

How do the pictures look on their current listings? If they do a sloppy/poor job on current listing pictures they will likely do the same for you.

And as far as the commission, you can negotiate that.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 9:49AM
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I don't think you have enough information yet to make a choice. There are other questions you need to ask.

Our experience--last summer our house was listed with an established, local, experienced, honest realtor. He took some okay photos, and put our house on the MLS sites. He didn't do any open houses. I had to fight to get directionals and a box with pamphlets on the front lawn. The only contact we had with him was if we initiated it. In the course of the 6 month listing, we had only 3 showings. During that time, however, a nice young neighbor was very helpful and generous with his advice. when our listing ran out in the fall, we took the house off the market to do a little more minor cosmetic work (and so we could enjoy the holidays.

In January, we contacted our neighbor--he's a salesman for one of the big, national real estate chains. DD was very much against us hiring him--partly because of his age, and she had a few other objections. Well, we signed on with him. Within a week, he had us on MLS, Facebook (targeted ads) and Craig's List, scheduled an open house, had a box of pamphlets on the lawn. He scheduled a 2nd open house about 4 weeks after the first. He kept us informed of what was happening every step of the way, he followed up on EVERY showing or visitor who came through our doors. He had a slide show of our house on YouTube. His photos were absolutely gorgeous. And the result? In just over 5 weeks, we had over 20 different parties go through our house. 6 weeks to the day from signing our contract with him to show our house, we had a signed contract to SELL it--for more than it's really worth in this market.

I think you need to find out just how each of these agents plans to market your home. If they're JUST going to put it on the MLS sites, that's not enough in this day and age. Young people are using the social media sites to house hunt. Open houses get a lot of traffic through your house--our buyers first visited during an open house. Also, you want to know what they'll be doing for you, and what contact you'll have with them for the duration of the listing agreement. Our current agent told me that each and every day he looks at his listings (he has them hanging over his desk) and asks himself, "what can I do for these folks today" and then he does something to help promote the house.

Now, obviously, no agent can magically produce a buyer, but in this economy, you need one who is internet saavy, who is very enthusiastic and hardworking, so that the most people possible will be introduced to your house.

As to realtor open houses? I asked about them, knowing they used to be the norm. Perhaps your area is different than ours, but I've heard from a couple of different agents, that they're no longer done, since with the internet, most agents can get a pretty good idea of the property through the many photos most have on there. Agents, will, however, attend your regular, weekend open houses--we had a number of them come through to get a look at the house.

Keep asking questions until one of the agents pulls ahead of the pack. Be sure you find the one who is hungry enough to really work hard for you.

Lastly? Good luck, and may you find the right agent, so you'll have the great results we did--a quick sale, at a good price.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 2:40PM
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I would never hire a part time agent. No matter what. This is a full time job, and there are always issues that are very time sensitive. SOmeone tied up at their "real job", just can not do it.
If all else is the same, in regards to your agent candidates, ask these three questions:

1. Can I communicate well with the person?
2. Do they seem to have the same morals/values that I have?
3. Do you generally like the person?

Choose the person who gets all 3 "YES"s.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:08AM
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NCrealestateguy--respectfully, I have to disagree--partly. Last summer we could answer and enthusiastic YES to all three of those questions with the agent we chose--the one who wouldn't do open houses, was reluctant to put a pamplet box in our yard, who never bothered to update me, etc. The one with whom we had a grand total of 3 showings in 3 months.

Those are definitely important questions, but they're not nearly enough. There's nothing in there that gives the seller any indication of how enthusiastically the property will be marketed.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:51PM
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