Selecting the best listing agent is important, but how do you go about it? The buyer’s agent from across town who helped you purchase your current house may have kept in touch with you in hopes that you’ll use her, but I feel it’s wiser to select an agent who specializes in your part of town or at least lives and works nearby.
First you need to create a list of agents to interview. I suggest searching your ZIP code on realtor.com to see who is doing the best job of promoting their listings on that all-important website. If you choose to interview an agent who is not on realtor.com, the first question you need to ask him or her is, “Are you a Realtor?” If your agent is not a member of a Realtor association (usually because they can’t afford the dues), that agent’s listings will not appear on realtor.com — a HUGE disadvantage!
Once you have assembled a list of two or three agents to interview, you need to come up with the questions to ask them. A couple years ago I wrote a column in which I suggested 18 such questions. The column was so popular that I put it it online with its own web address: www.The18Questions.com.
Here are just a few of them for this limited space:
1) What is your commission rate, and will you reduce it if you “double-end” the transaction (i.e., don’t have to share your commission with a buyer’s agent)?
2) Do you promise to complete all the MLS data fields and not just the mandatory ones?
3) Will you provide professional staging advice so my home shows its best?
4) Do you use a professional showing service like Centralized Showing, which is open long hours every day and has a great system for requesting feedback?
5) Will you create a video tour and/or virtual tour (slideshow) of high quality pictures?
6) How else will you promote my listing?