Marketing, marketing, marketing. Yes they have to spend a few bucks or maybe a few hours working on selling a house, but look what their 3% cut brings in! So if they list a bunch and some sell by the luck of the draw, that's good enough for them. They work strictly on listing volume. Not on hard work! It is actually comical how hard they will work to get a listing and then do absolutely nothing with it. I have been told by more than one realtor that it is called the 3 "P"s" of real estate: Put it on the MLS, Put up a sign and then Pray that someone else sells it. OH, yeah. Everything they do these days is totally automated. Including the fact that buyers use the internet to look for homes themselves. Showing appointments are automated, feedback is automated, etc. Now the buyer's agent has to drive the buyer all around Timbucktoo and show them a bunch of houses and may never get anything for all the work they put into it. They actually do have a hard job and they get the same 3%. I think it should be 2% for the listing and 4% for the buyers agent who makes the sale.
Back to your question. We have tried them all. The biggest realty company here, independent one-man offices, and everything in between. We have interviewed agents until we were blue in the face. Some of them are pretty good at "faking you out" if you get my drift. We have tried FSBO, but there is not much hope unless you are on the MLS where buyers can easily find you online.
Here is the one thing with which we have had the most success. The company is Seller Solutions and it is an appropriate name. The broker is Liz Wiederhold. She is fantastic. She tells you the truth straight up. I would recommend Liz any day of the week. We have our house off the market right now for the winter holidays and bad weather. But before we took it off, we had 3 showings in December! That's more than we had with some realtors in the peak selling months! Liz is a well respected flat fee broker in this area and she works very hard to maintain her good reputation. She will charge you something like $500 to list your house and you get basically the same thing as you do with all the other companies. She will tell you exactly what she can do and cannot do for you. She will explain every detail of how things will work and give you any advice you need about selling your home.
I think it is funny that you got 3 answers to your question before mine and they were from Maryland, Illinois and New Hampshire. How would any of those people know which realtor has the most success in selling homes in Western North Carolina in the 28778 Zip code area???? Although I will say that there is some good general advice in their answers. There is one new company who is just starting up here and I'm told they are successful in Charlottesville, VA and other Virginia cities. This will be their first venture in North Carolina. They seem to be hungry to get listings and who knows, maybe they will be hungry to sell houses in order to establish themselves. But I don't know much more about them. Their name is Nest Realty. You can google on them in VA and find out more info if you wish.
I would still recommend Seller Solutions. Liz works better with email contact because she is out all day working (although this may be a slow time for her but I doubt it). If you send her an email she will get back to you!!!! She usually calls folks back or answers via email, which ever you prefer, in the evenings after she is home. She by far the most professional realtor I have ever met!
Good luck. I wish I had better news, but maybe this will help you know what to expect.
I have always believed that you are hiring the agent, not the broker, and when it comes to choosing a listing agent, I think it is important to look at who is going to do the most to sell your home, not the agent that's been around the longest, or even necessarily the one who has sold the most homes in your community.
Ironically enough, many of the agents who seem like neighborhood specialists are nothing more than someone who people recognize in the community. Their success is not based on an aggressive marketing plan, or really knowing how to get top dollar, but more of a snow-ball effect of people recognizing their name.
My suggestion would be to interview 2 or 3 agents, and pick the one that you think will do the most to sell your home (and be weary of the agent who seems to think your house is worth alot more than the other 2, they may just be teliing you what you want to hear)
If you'd like, I have a great web-site that matches homeowner's with pre-screened professionals. The service is free and insures that you end up with the right agent the first time!
There are several factors to consider. How many closed transactions last year as a listing office but also how many buyer sides did they bring to the table? How long was listing market time relative to other offices. This gives you an idea of if the listing office recommends overpricing the house to satisfy the seller, to get the listing and then request reductions. Marketing focus on Internet, broker open houses, public open houses, brochures, post cards etc. Interview 2 or three agents and see how they answer these questions.
If you like my answer, please thumbs up or best answer me, thanks!
Good luck with your sale