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The do’s and don’ts of finding a great listing agent

Zillow • Sep 30, 2013 at 4:07 PM

By Monte Mohr

The Do’s and Don’ts of Finding a Great Listing Agent

There is no shortage of people who sell real estate for a living. While some real estate professionals are intelligent, resourceful, attentive, helpful and dedicated to doing whatever it takes to provide you with the top-notch service you deserve, unfortunately others are not.

If you’ve ever had a bad experience with a real estate agent, it’s certainly something you don’t want to repeat. It’s easy to identify the things you want in an agent – someone who utilizes a variety of marketing tactics, charges a fair commission and commits to making an effort – but it’s an entirely different thing to find an agent who fits that bill. In a quest to find your ideal agent, it’s recommended that you interview at least three people.

DO Ask the Following Questions

1. How much do you think you can sell my house for? If one agent values your home vastly different than the others, cross them off your list – they’re not being honest with you.
2. How will you market my house? Expect a more in-depth answer than a simple list of places where your home will be advertised; a good agent should be able to identify and target the perfect audience for you listing.
3. How has your business evolved in recent years? You’re looking for an agent who exhibits technological advances; one who is up-do-date with website and mobile device strategies.
4. How many listings do you have right now? And how do you service them? Be realistic. Successful agents are going to be juggling more listings – it’s not innately a bad thing – just don’t expect super personalized service, but you can demand an attentive assistant. Alternatively, be cautious with agents who have no other clients – it could signify a lack of experience.
5. What is expected of me? A skilled realtor will have a list of expectations. Items will vary from leaving your house during showings, to painting the garage or even removing some furniture to de-clutter. Whatever it is, an agent who has expectations can “think like a buyer” which will serve you well.
6. What is your commission rate? Everything is negotiable, including an agent’s commission. Many home sellers have negotiated lower commissions without sacrificing quality of service. It never hurts to ask.
7. Can I talk to one of your previous clients? Sometimes the proof is in the pudding.

DON’T Do the Following Things

1. Hire a family friend, relative or acquaintance based on personal connections. Don’t allow your personal life to influence your business decision. Your desire to help out a friend should not override someone’s professional credentials – especially when it concerns your single largest asset.
2. Hire someone without references. It may not be easy to track down a reliable reference, especially if you do not have friends, family or coworkers in the area. Just remember, even a “good judge of character” should read reviews posted about an agent before signing a contract.
3. Hire someone just because they live in your neighborhood. Living down the street isn’t the only way to gain knowledge of a local market. A qualified agent can easily familiarize themselves with recent sales, area school reputations, local merchants and community events. Don’t let convenience be the chief motive for choosing an agent.
4. Hire someone just because they sold a large quantity of homes. Statistics can be very persuasive. It’s impressive to hear that someone sold 28 homes last year, but it doesn’t really show the whole picture. Would you rather have an agent who had 35 listings and sold 28 of those homes? Or an agent who had 15 listings and sold all 15 homes?
5. Assume that all realtors have the same knowledge simply because they all passed the same test. The real estate industry is continually evolving and the best realtors keep up with trends and update their knowledge with ongoing education. There are minimum requirements, but some agents go beyond by obtaining special designations that showcase various specialized training such as foreclosures.


Monte Mohr has sold more than 2,500 homes, making him one of America’s top Realtors for the last 25 years. This experience has given him a unique perspective on the Nashville real estate market where he can be found at www.tennesseedreamhomes.com. He is also a regular contributor of real estate information to Nashville’s NBC affiliate station, WSMV Channel 4. To learn more about Monte Mohr’s experience as a real estate agent, to get free advice about your biggest real estate challenges or to request an interview, contact him at Info@TennesseeDreamHomes.com.

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