Selecting the listing agent

Asked by Susie, 80528 Thu Dec 23, 2010

I am selecting a listing agent for my home in Edgemont, Westchester County, NY. Based on what I read I know that it is mostly the agent's experience and drive that matters, not the agency. However, in today's slow market I am concerned that independents (e.g. a Re-Max franchise) will spend less money on marketing than a larger agency (e.g. Houlihan, Coldwell, etc). Apparently the monthly amount spent on marketing is not shared. How do I make sure before I sign any of these exclusive agreements that I get proper marketing and advertising and I am not short changed ?

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85
The Jonathan…, Agent, Scarsdale, NY
Tue Dec 28, 2010
Susie, you have spent several days posting, responding back and forth....yet when we offered to spend an hour of your time to show you why we are great agents. You simply responded that it would be not worth your time. I hope that perhaps you reconsider, I do believe our firm would do right for you. After all, your spreading of our good name after you see the results is worth quite a bit to us. Happy Holidays, Jon
2 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Dec 28, 2010
Susie, they're "know-it-all" comments because I pretty much do "know it all." Most of us agent / brokers know more than most prospective home buyers or home sellers, which is why we're not the ones asking the questions, we're the ones answering them.

I could try to snow you, Susie, and tell you that you're doing all the right things and asking all the right questions, and I just might do that if I didn't think that there might be other people reading this and looking to the answers for useful advice.

Most of us, I think I have mentioned, have sold hundreds, if not thousands, of homes in our careers. Millions of homes are sold every year by real estate brokers. There's a lot of information being shared. Not very much of it supports your approach, which seems to be that the best way to protect yourself from being taken advantage of by a listing agent is to beat them over the head with the contract at the beginning and call them on the carpet on a regular basis to ensure that they're performing their duties. Oh, and the 24-hour cancellation clause and the ability to negotiate with buyers on your own.

If you search long enough, eventually you will find someone to compliment you on your opinion. In which case, why not skip the process and pat your own self on the back?

- If I ever see your name again, I will just skip that page.

This affects me, how?

Susie, nobody wants to see you hire a second-rate agent and sell your property at a discount in the market place. All of us who do this for a living know that when you begin negotiations from an adversarial standpoint, you're not going to get the best deal possible.

The best and most profitable relationships come when the parties treat each other, not just honestly and with integrity, but with mutual respect. Which is why I fire - or refuse to contract with - clients who fail on one of those three counts.

Oh, by the way. Do you think Jerry Fowler still spends thousands of dollars marketing his listings as he did in 1999, when he wrote that piece? Maybe, maybe not. I bet he didn't even do that then - I bet he used the listings as a vehicle for marketing himself.

All the best, sincerely.
2 votes
Robin Silver…, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Garden City, NY
Mon Dec 27, 2010
Susie, as silly as it may sound, look at the photos on-line for an agent's listings. The most important thing is to get the buyer to inquire about your home. I have a friend who is selling her own home and buying another one. We keep looking through listings, and there is one house that has terrible, out of focus pictures. Besides that, it has the most bizarre decorating, what you can see of it. She hasn't even gone to look at that one, even though it might be a perfectly good house.
Another thing that surprises me all the time, how can someone allow an agent come in to take pictures, and leave the beds un-made? Do whatever you can to make your house look good. I know that there is some realtor out there who can give you statistics about how many buyers start their shopping on-line. I can tell you that of the ones who call me about pre-qualifying them, even though they get my name as a referral, 100% of them have looked at listings on-line.
2 votes
Tom and Joan…, Agent, Boston, MA
Mon Jan 3, 2011
Susie:

Having worked for a small agency for most of my career I can completely understand your concerns. Ultimately you must ask yourself, am I concerned with the methods used or the success rate of my agent? My company had the smallest budget in our market and the average agent sold 3 homes last year, but this did not stop my two person team from closing 32 homes. Results are paramount in this market and don't get blinded my the frills! Best
1 vote
Judy Sharma, Agent, Grover Beach, CA
Tue Dec 28, 2010
Susie,
I agree with you that big companies will spend more on marketing and also, more people know their names, so they will get more calls than a small company. However, agent's ability to work with you, communicate, negotiate on behalf of you and handle your transaction is very important. So, my suggestion is to interview few agents and see what they can offer you, most importantly who you feel comfortable with. Good luck with your sale.
Web Reference:  http://www.Judysharma.com
1 vote
Walt FitzPat…, , Scarsdale, NY
Mon Dec 27, 2010
Wow!! Everyone has been having fun here! :-)

Lots of great points. I've said it before and I will say it again....your home will sell if it is priced correctly and there is an appropriate buyer out there at the time.

Larger companies, smaller companies, as mentioned, ARE different but their differences don't always apply to the client specifically. Larger companies and agents, who have more money to spend on internet optimization, WILL get more hits and show up on the first page of one’s chosen search engine. Will that help the seller? Not necessarily!
If we’re going to be honest here, that really helps agents and brokers get more buyer clients and that is very important to continued success, but as far as your house selling in a timely fashion, the basics are still the basics.
1) If the home is priced accordingly, the agent should start receiving calls for showings immediately (before the Trulia and Realtor.com even picks up the listing.)
2) If the company is large enough to place the ads on Trulia and Realtor.com, and the home is priced accordingly, the home will receive enough exposure to generate interest immediately.
3) If the brokerage/agent answers their phone when buyers agents or shoppers call for information, and the home is priced accordingly, the home will sell in an appropriate amount of time.
4) If the agent takes the time to take good pictures and write descriptive captions to the good pictures, and the home is…..(you know what I’m about to say!)
I could continue but what you should be noticing here is that PRICE is, first and foremost, the most important thing. Choosing an agent who can advise you as to a proper listing price IS part of that formula but believe it or not….even a bad listing agent can eventually sell the home if you guys keep dropping the price. (That is not a good scenario as in the end, the selling price might end up being lower than what it would be if it was priced appropriately. Serious buyers are on-line every day, all day, looking at properties. A property that is overpriced might not get showings at all. If the price keeps coming down and there is no sale, the property gets “stigmatized” and they start to assume that there is some sort of tragic flaw and they will cross it off their list, or be very leery.)
The best marketing plan, in my opinion, is an excellent listing! Some agents take the time to price it well AND take the time to enter it into MLS with care, explanation and great pictures. (Even in the luxury market with agents who’s yearly dollar volume is very high, you’ll still occasionally see one picture of the front of the home….taken with a cell phone no less!!)
Anyway, it may sound too simplistic but it really isn’t. It’s just part of being a good, experienced and EFFECTIVE agent; knowing what will make the home sell on an intuitive level. For instance, one of the many questions I ask my sellers when I take a listing and start to formulate the written listing is, “What attracted YOU to this home?” Finding all those “selling points” and making them clear in the listing (not just them looking at pictures) are some of the many things an agent must consider.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and is dug out and functioning!


Walt FitzPatrick
Keller Williams Realty Group Scarsdale
914-513-9811
walt@waltfitzpatrick.com
1 vote
Teddy Sonner, Agent, Washington, DC
Mon Dec 27, 2010
I agree with the postings that the agent is first and foremost important. The agent's drive to get it sold is very important. Make sure the agent you hire is willing to make himself or herself available to you and all buyers. Plus they will have to have to do all the normal things that bring the property to the attention of as many buyers as possible.
1 vote
., , Outer Sunset, San Francisco, CA
Mon Dec 27, 2010
Wow,
I post often but rarely in reply to a potential client in my home area. As I respect Community Guidelines I will refer you to my profile for any further information such as email or cell phone. In my opinion your first choice should be about the agent and secondly the company. Big companies have beginners as well. What you need to do is interview a bunch (how many is up to you). The one who you feels understands you and the market place is a good starting point. It is unfortunate how the Real Estate profession is portrayed in our culture. I have great sales experience but realized a sales pitch is a sign of weakness. I really sell myself and thats about it. A buyer buys because of a warm and fuzzy in thier belly. Not because I tell them about the features and benifits of a home. I do train new agents in my office and there are some who prefer not to listen.Actually it took me almost a year to realize the more I talk the less likly I am to make the impression I want with any client no less a savy one such as your self. As an example this spring I took an up call from a gal who wanted to sell her dads home. When I met with her a realtor left as I entered and one rang the bell before I was done. I was quite chagrinned. I can usually tell if I got the listing or not. In this case about a week later when I called to check in and ask if she would let me know either way. She said I would hear from her. About a week later she called to let me know he wanted to list with me. I still marvel that she had confidence in me over the others but it is not without great pride I take in my success as a full time agent.
Again in the end I did not have the color glossy CMA but I had the market knowledge that she recognized. to tie it all together. I believe you are off in the right direction researching here what the process is is a big first step. Next comes the comps, square footage and all the actives and solds with whom you will compete or be compared. I hope my answer is helpful to you. I am off to shovel myself. Happy New Year!
Andy
Web Reference:  http://www.andrewsilfen.com
1 vote
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sun Dec 26, 2010
Donald, Frank!

Referrals and fees for referrals are quite customary, and have little or nothing to do with how easy or difficult the client will be to take to closing. Unless it's a local referral, then, beware!

Analytical clients are my favorite type to work with, because they are the most likely personality type to move on once they've decided. The difficult task is to satisfy their need for information, and you can get into a trap of believing that all information has value - it doesn't.

The "wounded bird" client is my least favorite, even though I love the avians. It leads to stuff like, even though you've sold hundreds of homes over a decade or more in the profession, I need to be able to hold you accountable every week. Susie, and other readers, it's the other 'way 'round.

Brokers need to hold their sellers accountable. Are you answering the phone to showing agents in a welcoming manner, ready to gracefully and without apparent effort able to leave at a moment's notice, with the home perfectly lit and looking like a showroom? Yes, it gets boring, ninety days, a hundred and twenty days on the market, making sure the place looks like it was freshly set up for the visitor yet again today.

You want to treat every agent like they're the first one who cost you the home you wanted, then, that's what you'll get. No top producer puts up with: I'll market the heck out of your home but if you find a buyer on your own you don't have to pay a commission. Fugeddabodit. I'll market the heck out of your home to establish value, so that your new BFF becomes the best buyer in the marketplace.

Susie, we all want your home to sell, quickly and for top dollar. The market is rough, and we don't need extra inventory clogging up things. Clearly, you are a woman of good judgement - don't ignore that because it once didn't work out. Get the best listing agent you can find, sign the standard listing contract (OK, don't let that agent be a dual agent), and get out of their way so they can do the best job they can.

That's what I'd do, and I've been doing this a long long time.
1 vote
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sun Dec 26, 2010
Actually, what I said was that you were limiting your choices, and I meant to allude that by doing so, you reduce the chances of actually getting a good and effective agent.

Not only that, but you can find yourself asking questions that give you less than useful answers. Going back to the thing with the attorney's suggestions, it's clear that you didn't have the knowledge base to ask her - will agents go for these changes? How might they respond, and why?

Many of the agents here have sold hundreds, if not thousands, of homes. We can't transfer that kind of knowledge to you overnight. But I strongly suggest that you reconsider your entire approach to this, because I think it's more likely to lead you to an ineffective agent than it is an effective one.
1 vote
Susie, Home Buyer, 80528
Sun Dec 26, 2010
Mack, I wish I could hire the agent that I was happy with but we bought the house on the West Coast and we will be selling on the East Coast...

It is interesting to read everyone's comments and opinions, one always learns something. You mentioned that agents will not want to work with me as I am not an "easy" client. Others apparently are willing to pay a referral fee to find a client (even if the client dares to ask many questions and wants to make changes to the agreement...).

But such is life, it would be boring if everything was the same all the time...
1 vote
Susie, Home Buyer, 80528
Sun Dec 26, 2010
Mack, I respect your opinion and I agree with a lot of what you mention. When I bought a house this year, I was not happy with the first agent I worked with. Due to her lack of needed skills we lost a house we wanted. I didn't ask enough questions up-front...I switched to someone else, asked many questions and signed NO contract. The relationship was excellent and I would be very happy to refer the second agent to anyone interested. If I would not have to sign an exclusive contract for many months with a listing agent, I would be less "cautious" ("easy" client as you call it), but that's not how the world works. So I can be as "easy" as the process surrounding it is. What do I have to offer as a client? Probably business for someone who cares for it. And you are right, this is a two way street, both agent and client should feel comfortable in the relationship and work well together. If my questions and expectations make one agent feel uncomfortable, then probably there will be another agent who might think that an educated and demanding client will be a good and happy customer.... Luckily we all have options.
1 vote
Susie, Home Buyer, 80528
Sat Dec 25, 2010
Mack, I appreciate your honest answers. I know that based on published statistics most people (like a herd) just go for the "easy". They sweat but will not get up to open a window in the train; they will sign-up with the first real estate agent that comes their way, no questions asked. So obviously from an agent's perspective this is the easiest way to do business. Sorry for being different and "difficult". I have learned the hard way that I cannot expect others to look out for my best interests and that I should not just blindly agree to any "standard" contract that has clauses that can work against me or engage someone who tells me "trust me, I am the best" without substantiating it. You are correct, I am not your everyday "easy" client. I ask many questions and I expect results.

Regardless, I hope to find a good agent interested in working with me and for the money that they expect.

Again, thanks for your time.
1 vote
Susie, Home Buyer, 80528
Fri Dec 24, 2010
Lynn, interesting... I know what MLS & You Tube are and read about syndication of listings. I would be curious to see one home that you list with all relevant promotions (I assume linked to or provided through your website). I have no idea what the storyboards are...I am sure that these new marketing approaches appeal to most younger buyers who "live in" social media... This reminds me that I have not yet seen any answers to at least one of my prior questions: " I do not know how to compare marketing plans: what differentiates a good one from a less effective one? What are the most important things to look at in a marketing plan?". Almost everyone said that I should ask for a marketing plan. Can someone send me a sample marketing plan that they consider great?
1 vote
Donald Mituz…, Agent, Chappaqua, NY
Fri Dec 24, 2010
Susie,

I'm happy to see that you recognize price as the most important factor in selling your home. It the price is too high even the best agent with the best plan won't get it sold. If the price is too low, you could be leaving money on the table so to speak.

The answer to your questions has a lot to do with a gut feeling. Do you feel comfortable with the answers the agent is giving you? Picking an agent based on the number of transactions they've completed is difficult at best. As far as negotiating, that's a different story. An agent should be able to explain to you exactly how they negotiate a sale. Poor or unclear negotiations will frequently result in the deal falling through and causing more aggrevation then having no deal at all. An agent should be able to give you a thorough explanation of how they negotiate. There are frequently many variables that come in to play and it's important that they are clearly spelled out.

Don
Web Reference:  http://www.nyhomseller.com
1 vote
Susie, Home Buyer, 80528
Fri Dec 24, 2010
Thanks for the many useful answers. I do know that the price is the most important factor that I have to consider. Beyond that however, I have many questions.

1. I do not know how to compare marketing plans: what differentiates a good one from a less effective one? What are the most important things to look at in a marketing plan?
2. Many of you talked about "results" and obviously the proof is in the pudding. However, how do you qualify and quantify "results" in today's market? What do you do to differentiate between the agents' "results", how do you "measure" them in objective ways? If you have X number of agents and each shows you an agent report going back for 5 years, how would you pick the agent with the best "results"? How do I compare apples-to-apples from this perspective?
3. How do you figure out an agent's expertise in closing transactions and negotiations (before you have to experience it)?

It is easy to list the qualifications of that "perfect" agent but how do you figure out (in some practical ways) who qualifies for perfection ?
1 vote
Donald Mituz…, Agent, Chappaqua, NY
Fri Dec 24, 2010
Susie,

You need a balance of a great agent and a recognized company. Larger companies spend more money on marketing and as a result have more exposure. Great agents make additional effort to promote your listing so it is seen by even more people. A great agent also has a great web site of their own. On a company web site you listing competes with all the listings that company has and as a result gets less exposure. On an agent's web site (and I do NOT mean agent's web page on a company site) your home should be featured more prominantly. A great agent site is also one that is easily found on the internet though major search engines like google. The best web site is worthless is nobody finds it and a good agent will spend all his internet effort driving people to their own web site. They should appear on the first page of a search and preferably near the top so you don't have to scroll down. Do a google search for Scarsdale or Edgemont real estate and see what you find. If you can, sit down with your agent in front of a computer in your home or in their office and have them show you the things I've mentioned.

You want to feel comfortable with the agent you select. Make a nice list of questions and sit down and ask them. Don't pay much attention to those who spend a lot of time slapping themselves on the back. I remember one agent a few years ago who used to promote himself of being an expert negotiator and in the top 1% of agents in the MLS. What he failed to mention is that he was in the top 1% in rentals and rarely had an actual sale. I believe that agent is still in prison.

Good Luck and Happy Holidays.

Donald A Mituzas - CIPS
Licensed Associate Broker
2008 Realtor of the Year
845-222-0114
Web Reference:  http://www.nyhomeseller.com
1 vote
Tracey Martin, , Salinas, CA
Thu Dec 23, 2010
Did you know that more than 90% of homes are sold by other Realtors. They see a listing on the MLS for which they think they have a buyer and they sell it to them. The most important factor in selling a home is making sure it is priced correctly. You need to look for an agent who knows what homes are selling for in your area, one who is familiar with the competing homes for sale, and who knows how to price a home to sell and get the maximum return for their seller. If a home is over priced, it doesn't matter how much is spent on advertising, it will not sell. If it is priced correctly, it will sell with very little advertising. Find a Realtor who has experience in your area and who can price it correctly. You also need to look at their experience closing transactions. The most important part of our job is getting the transaction to the closing table with as few headaches as possible. Good Luck
1 vote
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Thu Dec 23, 2010
Susie,
Ask to see the agent’s track record over the past 2 years of business. Chances are all the agents you interview will have some success and failures, if all they show are successfully sold listings, double check that information from another source. (I've pulled up my history in our MLS on my laptop to show my record and then put in the name of another agent and shown clients unedited comparable records)
Anyone can throw money at an issue but that may not be what gets your home sold. A good agent knows how to spend marketing money wisely and it shows with results. An agent from a no name company with a solid track record of getting the majority of their listings sold in an average to better than average time frame at or near listed price will be a better choice than an agent from a big company who has a spotty record of success. Results are what matters. Best of luck.
1 vote
Myra Gouger, Agent, Las Vegas, NV
Thu Jul 12, 2012
Sit down with the agent and ask them where they are going to advertise. It is not the company who pays for the advertising, but the individual agent. The more they spend, the more people see your home. Most people start their search for a new home online nowadays. If all the agent is telling you that they are doing is a small ad in a local paper, choose another agent. You need to hear from them where they are advertising online and what else they are doing to bring in clients.
0 votes
Lisa Loeb, Agent, East Nortport, NY
Thu Jul 12, 2012
Dear Susie,

It does take an experienced agent who is knowledgeable about the real estate market as well getting the advertising and marketing internet exposure for our clients.

Please feel free to call me at 914-582-2904.

Thank you,

Lisa Loeb
http://www.GrandLuxRealty.com
0 votes
Susie, Home Buyer, 80528
Sat May 21, 2011
Thanks Andrew. After all I ended up selling my home on my own... I appreciate your interest and everyone's help on this forum.
0 votes
., , Outer Sunset, San Francisco, CA
Fri May 20, 2011
Susie,
Did you ever pick and agent or company to sell your home. I am still very interested if I can help.
Andrew Silfen
Coldwell Banker Gumbo Realty
6 Broadway
Valhalla NY 10595
914 844 0007
http://www.andrewsilfen.com
Web Reference:  http://www.andrewsilfen.com
0 votes
The Jonathan…, Agent, Scarsdale, NY
Fri May 20, 2011
Hi Susie, How are you doing on your home? I am sure the folks here would love to have an update... I hope you have sold by now and look forward to hearing how your sale went... best, Jon
0 votes
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Tue Jan 11, 2011
Susie,
First, most homes are sold by agents other than the listing agent. Your listing agent will negotiate with the buyer’s agent on your behalf. If an agent sells a high percentage of their own listings, I get concerned if the homes are marketed to the broadest possible market or if they get their own buyer in before it gets seen by everyone else.
I wouldn't suggest what percentage is ideal, but if you are presented with the statistics you should be able to see who gets homes sold, how fast and for what price.
0 votes
Susie, Home Buyer, 80528
Tue Jan 11, 2011
Dan, I didn't associate your prior comment to the present question. Is there any "measurement" to help determine the agent "type" (list collector vs. a good seller)? E.g. if the ratio of listed to sold properties by the agent in question, (not by others) is between 4/1 and 7/2 then one could assume that this agent is mostly collecting listings... What numbers would make sense to use as differentiators to properly interpret the suggested report and distinguish the agent "types"?
0 votes
The Jonathan…, Agent, Scarsdale, NY
Mon Jan 10, 2011
Susie, I think the question about selling your home is going to depend on how the house compares to other houses on the market.... At the end of the day, the price is set by the market.... I would suggest you pick someone shortly as now is a great time in our area to list...it takes a week or two to prepare photos, advertisements etc...
0 votes
Frank Dolski, Agent, Lahaska, PA
Mon Jan 10, 2011
Susie,
As I mentioned before, selecting an agent is based on past and current performance, track record/success rate and most of all, by referral. That is how I get most if not all of my business. In your case, this could be a referral from a friend, an associate, a Realtor/Broker or by another professional. If I give out a referral for anything, my recommendation has an impact on my credibility and reputation. Therefore, if I refer an agent or a broker outside of my area, I look for someone who will do an equal job or exceed my expectations. I am in a unique position where I have the resources as previously mentioned to do the necessary research and provide buyer and seller agents in most of the United States and Canada. I agree with many of the thread posts and there are some that I disagree. The bottom line is that you have enough information to make an informed decision on which Broker/Realtor that will pick to effectively market and sell your home. There is a difference!

Frank Dolski MBA, ABR, e-PRO
Associate Broker
CARTUS Certified Relocation Specialist
Previews Luxury Home Specialist
Coldwell Banker Hearthside Realtors
215-803-3237 (mobile)
215-794-1070 x-103
f.dolski@cbhearthside.com
http://www.FrankDolski.Com
Web Reference:  http://www.FrankDolski.com
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Jan 10, 2011
Well, Susie, it wasn't part of the original question, but I suggest asking them - what are you going to do to sell my home?
0 votes
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Mon Jan 10, 2011
Susie,
I realize it's been a long time and many answers ago, but I suggested you ask for evidence of recent successful sales and their most recent 2 year track record. I can produce an objective record of all my listings including sold, active, canceled and expired. My track record is independent evidence of my ability to back up whatever I claim to be able to do.
In most cases this type of report will include homes which didn't sell. Why, is the appropriate question. Did the seller's need or desire to sell change? Did they sabotage their own chances of success? Did a buyer come along and then fail to obtain financing? Lots of possibilities for unsold homes, but a good agent will have the vast majority of their listings in the sold category. While there are differences in my area from NY, chances are local agents can produce a similar report and you can decide if they are good at getting listings or good at selling them.
0 votes
Susie, Home Buyer, 80528
Mon Jan 10, 2011
I got many good pointers and answers. There is one question that nobody addressed: how to "ferret out" (before I sign a contract) those agents that sell themselves well but only collect listings and do little of anything else for their clients after the contract is signed (other than "allowing" others to try to sell it). What's the tell-tale sign of these agents? Any good advice?
0 votes
Mildred Vale…, Agent, Bronx, NY
Mon Jan 10, 2011
Susie,

Here is some great information from relator.com

Don't make the mistake of thinking that listing your house is the first step. Knowledge is power so before you get ahead of yourself, get ahead of the game by doing your homework

http://www.move.com/guide/how-to-sell-your-house.aspx

Best of Luck!

Millie from Exit
0 votes
Judi Monday,…, Agent, Green Valley, AZ
Sun Jan 9, 2011
Hi Susie,

Don't sell RE/MAX short as they spend more on national advertising than ANY other real estate agency. However, in the final analysis it all comes down to the agent you select--what is their track record? How strong is their internet presence? In today's market more than 85% of all sales start on the internet so you want an agent who is leveraging the power of the internet to get Buyers to your home. Interview several agents before making a decision...and remember chemistry between you and that agent is very important as well as it takes a strong partnership between the two of you, working together to get your home sold.

Best Of Luck,
Judi
0 votes
Susie, Home Buyer, 80528
Sun Jan 9, 2011
Happy New Year to all of you!

I was away for a while. Thanks one more time for everyone who took time to answer and provide insightful information. When I decide to pick the agent to work with I will take into account the local agents' replies and as needed I will contact them.
0 votes
Ian A. Wolf, Agent, Morristown, NJ
Fri Jan 7, 2011
It sounds to me that what you are after is the best marketing program, not necessarily the most expensive. What you need to do is decide what areas of marketing are most important to you, and do a little research on Realtor.org to determine which forms of marketing reap the best results. I agree that for the most part it is the agent, not the company, that can best sell a home. Find out who the experts are and go with one of them.
0 votes
Shelly Brune…, Agent, Traverse City, MI
Wed Jan 5, 2011
Depending on your specific market, Marketing of any listing should include multiple marketing avenues, including extensive internet coverage on all home sites as well as local print ad (if typical for your area). In the Traverse City Michigan area, print advertising combined with extensive internet marketing work best. The more coverage and exposure the better. Choosing a firm? If there is a 1-man-show office, this may not be your best choice, as the cost for marketing can be prohibitive. If that 1-man-show is the only office in a resort or speciality town....just ask "what will you do for me?". Do they have a real estate guide? Also, get the marketing plan in writing with some specifics; home will be advertised at least once per month in local paper, etc.....something to hold accountable.
0 votes
George "Rive…, Agent, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ
Tue Jan 4, 2011
Hi Susie,
I am a little late to this party. I have had both new and experienced agents working for my company that have done a great job. You as the prospective customer should ask as many questions as you like until you are comfortable with your decisions. I believe the rapport you build during the interview process goes a long way as to who you choose to represent your home.
All go with a marketing plan but the succesful agents bring a calendar with dates that certain things will happen. You as the client should be able to adjust this calendar to best fit your needs.
I would look more for smart marketing rather than how much is being spent. Have the prospective agent tell you why they are marketing your home through the vehicles they are using. I am happy to see you post that pricing is key. Not only key but paramount.
Also, as far as large vs. small, franchise vs. non-franchise, you are hiring the agent. All companies offer to their agents tools to help them in their business. It is how these agents utilize these tools to better market your home.

Hope all the best and success!
0 votes
Sandy Harrin…, , Ormond Beach, FL
Mon Jan 3, 2011
Pick an agent that has an extensive web presence. A professional agent that has been in the industry at least 5 to 8 years should have a full marketing plan in place....Ask to look at it.
An agent has to spend money...in order to pay for his web presence.
Interview a few before you make a decision.

Sandy Harrington ABR CRS E-Pro
0 votes
The Stephen…, Agent, Portland, OR
Sat Jan 1, 2011
Make the agent provide a list of all the advertising they are willing to do and compare.
0 votes
Allison Klein, Agent, Fort Collins, CO
Fri Dec 31, 2010
You should have written into the contract if you are concerned.It is in the agents best interest as well as yours to get your home sold as quickly as possible. You want an agent on the cutting edge of technology with a facebook fan page and a twitter account and one that blog' s regularly this is where real estate is going and you need to find someone who can get your home sold!
0 votes
Phyllis Cros…, , Tampa, FL
Fri Dec 31, 2010
TAKE YOUR TIME TO INTERVIEW AT LEAST THREE AGENTS.

PROFESSIONAL AGENT WILL BRING A PREPARED MARKETING PLAN. LISTEN AND OBSERVE...AND GET A COMFORTABILITY LEVEL.

iF AN AGENT GOES DIRECTLY TO YOUR TABLE AND PULLS OUT LISTING FORMS EXPECTING IMMEDIATE SIGNATURES.. WITHOUT ASKING TO WALK THROUGH FIRST...VIEWING THE PROPERTY...SHOW THEM THE DOOR! HOW CAN THEY LIST YOU HOUSE WITHOUT SEEING IT FIRST!!

PHYLLIS CROSBY, REALTOR
REMAX REALTEC GROUP
PALM HARBOR FLORIDA

SERVING ALL OF TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA

PHYLLISCROSBY@TAMPABAY.RR.COM
0 votes
Jack Schlenk, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Dec 30, 2010
Read Jack Schlenk's Blog "Questions to ask your Real Estate Agent", and the FHA 100 Question and Answers about buying a new home,
0 votes
Catherine Te…, Agent, Bloomingdale, IL
Wed Dec 29, 2010
Do your research to find a successful agent that you are compatible with & then negotiate an option in the contract to cancel your agreement if you're not satisfied with the marketing & advertising.
0 votes
Betina Forem…, Agent, Austin, TX
Tue Dec 28, 2010
Dear Susie,
It is the agents motivation not experience that will be the biggest assets. Being in the business 20 years or more can mean they are not taking advantage of the internet and current marketing practices. Or it can mean they are evolving and dropping old practices and using new technology. In my opinion its not the Brokerage as much as it is the actual Agent. Will the agent keep the flyerbox full, will they blog about your property to find internet buyers? A big company does not necessarily mean better company.

I would interview several Brokerages and several Realtors and see who you feel will do the best job for you. Find someone that listens and will actively work for you.

I wish you the best of luck.

Sincerely,

Betina
0 votes
Susie, Home Buyer, 80528
Tue Dec 28, 2010
Mack, for a quite a while I tried to respond politely to your know-it-all comments and insulting “advice”. However, everything has a limit and this forum to the best of my knowledge has some ground rules that you don’t respect. This forum is meant for respectful exchange of information, not for verbal abuse. While you have a right to your opinions, as far as I am concerned you can keep them for yourself and be happy finding many easy to sell to, naïve and gullible targets. I do not need your help to find that one good agent, you can instead help others whom you will find pleasing enough and compliant with your deep need for being “treated with admiration and idolatry”. And if it helps you, please just follow your self-prescribed treatment, put some soap on your toothbrush and use it to scrub your eyeballs every morning. Who knows, it might help you...

Maybe you are not aware of some very basics that regardless which part of the country you operate in or what you do for a living, still apply:
- businesses exist only if they have customers. It is not the other way around
- reputable businesses survive because they care about their customers and they cater to them
- successful businesses believe that the customer is right even when he/she might not be right

If I ever see your name again, I will just skip that page.

Luckily most real estate professionals do not have the same believes like you. While I am sure that you think that you know better everything else than anyone else, you might find it interesting to read just a few examples published by others:

http://www.realestateabc.com/homeguide/reasonsmarketing.htm

“Today’s agent must have an aggressive written marketing plan that is made as an addendum to your listing agreement, allowing you to cancel should the agent fail to perform as promised. Your agent must make effective use of the latest technologies and must be attuned to the new information age. A good agent will spend thousands of dollars marketing their listings.”

http://homebuying.about.com/od/offersnegotiations/qt/cancelc…

“Before you sign a listing agreement, ask your agent if you can be released for any reason, even if that reason is, "Hey, I want to list with another broker." If your agent tells you "no," then you might not want to list with that company. Why, I ask you, why would you list with a company that would not guarantee your satisfaction with its services? If an agent says it's company policy, then that is not a company with whom you want to do business. Period. Next broker, please.”

http://homebuying.about.com/od/realestateagents/qt/0407Listi…

"Finally, ask for a personal guarantee. If the agent won't guarantee performance and release you from a listing upon request, don't hire that agent."

Don’t ever concede anything and be happy!
0 votes
Mildred Vale…, Agent, Bronx, NY
Tue Dec 28, 2010
Susie,

You have a received a whole lof of great responses here, do your homework and interview at least 3 agents, its a Buyers Market, so If you price right and get current CMA reports you can get your house SOLD!

These are the following web-sites that your house should be adverttised in, the Realtor should have great and strong marketing Skills:

1) MLS
2) Syndicate listing
3) Blog(s) weekly
4) Promote
5) Virtour Tours
6) YouTube video(s)
7) Trulia
8) Twitter
9) Yahoo realestate
10) Facebook ads

There so many many more.

Best of Luck!

Mildred Valentin, Realtor
Exit Realty
0 votes
Donald Mituz…, Agent, Chappaqua, NY
Tue Dec 28, 2010
Interesting....I was surprised Houlihan didn't show up on the first page. I did a search and found the same thing. Houlihan has about 1000 agents in the region. They are different from Coldwell as most CB offices in the area are corporate owned where HL is a local company. The Prudential offices are a franchise so the stats will probably only show the results for any one franchise. FYI, the largest Prudential franchise in Westchester was just bought by Prudential Douglas Elliman, based in NYC and LI it is the 4th largest real estate company in the country and now will have about 4,000 agents in the NY area.

You didn't mention finding any agent web sites in your search, only company web sites. I would search again and see what actual agent web sites show up. On a company web site they usually feature all their listings and as a result your listing is competing as part of a much larger group. On an agent page your listing should show up much easier and more often. 3 out of my last 5 buyers that resulted in closed transactions came directly from my own agent page. My most recent listing to close came as a result of another agent's buyer finding my listing on the web and then contacting their agent to see the home. As far as your comment on any large company feeding their listings to all the major sites, in this area the larger as well as most of the smaller ones do. What they can't do is feed to some very popular sites that do not allow bulk uploading and they have to be input manually. This is one of the things that seperates a really good agent as far as internet marketing. A note on Zillow. I think their information is inaccurate and misleading. I think their "zestimates" are way out of line. They are one of the web sites like trulia that offer a "premier" or "pro" package for agents which I think is a big waste.

Getting back to the essence of your original post, how you find the right agent. I would do a lot of the things mentioned in the responses to your post. You might talk to or meet with a number of the agents who responded right here. I would do another google search and see what actualy agents show up. You can do some phone interviews and then pick the 3 that sound best and meet with them. I'd be glad to be one of the agents you speak to or meet with. Have your list of questions and look for specific answers. Don't forget to ask what they do different then other agents to promote the sale of your home.

Good luck!

Donald Mituzas
Licensed Associate Broker
2008 Realtor of the Year
don@nyhomeseller.com
http://www.nyhomeseller.com
0 votes
Laura Fleisc…, Agent, Scarborough, ME
Mon Dec 27, 2010
Every realtor will put their own spin on why you should list with them, and what their agency has to offer. As a RE/MAX agent, I can tell you that we have incredible systems that get your listing out there on the internet where 90% of buyers are looking. I would say that you must trust your realtor, have good communication and hold them to their marketing plan, regardless of the "size" of their agency. Price your house right, and it will sell, we see it happen everyday. Best Wishes with your sale!
0 votes
Vera Gonzalez, Agent, Sterling Heights, MI
Mon Dec 27, 2010
Susie,
Interview a few agents ask them what their marketing strategy would be. How many people they believe it would reach. Tell them to right it in your contract.

Good luck,

Vera
0 votes
., , Outer Sunset, San Francisco, CA
Mon Dec 27, 2010
I see your thread has been very active. Much of the advice is from out of area (Westchester as well as out of state) That in its self does not demean the information or its value but makes me wonder whose "advice" you are listening to, We realtors are human and as such not perfect, but thats not to say there is not a perfect match out there for you. In the White Plains office of Houlihan Lawrence I am an associate broker and considered a successful experienced agent. Edgedmont and Scarsdale border White Plains and I could do a equal or better job to any other realtor you might consider. Here is the catch. It was mentioned by many earlier posts including the flame war between the Pennsylvania and Brewster agents.If your home is priced correctly(for the current market) it will sell. If it is overpriced it will collect dust. In any event Price will not overcome marketing.I offer to meet with you with out obligation to present you not only with a marketing plan but reports based on the homes in the area that comp to yours. These reports will show you based on comparative square footage homes both Active and recently sold what your home might sell for.Once you understand your homes value in this market (high or low), you will be in a better position to select a realtor to represent your selling interest and fiduciary. If I can help you value your home please let me know.
Andy
Web Reference:  http://www.andrewsilfen.com
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