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March 21, 2013

Choosing a Listing Agent

In one of the largest, most complicated financial transactions of your life,
what exactly does a good real estate agent do?

A good agent…

  • Cares more about your priorities and goals than their commission. (The smartest agents know that if you take care of the client, the commission takes care of itself. That’s the first rule of any long-term business plan.)
  • Negotiates effectively and, at your instruction, aggressively to achieve the best possible price and terms. A skillful negotiator committed to your interests can easily make a 3%-5% difference in the sales price, and sometimes much more.
  • Never makes decisions for you nor pushes you to make decisions a certain way, but lays out all the information, options and strategies for your consideration.
  • Ensures you understand what’s happening, what’s necessary and what’s at stake at every step.
  • Tells you the truth as best as can be discerned—positives, negatives, upsides, downsides—even what you might not want to hear or might change your mind about proceeding with a transaction.
  • Offers an array of qualified professional resources—inspectors, lawyers, escrow and loan agents, etc.—and advises you when their counsel is required.
  • Coordinates, manages and controls—based upon your decisions—every aspect of the process. Always with an eye to protecting your interests.
  • Knows the market in your geographic area and property type inside out—its values, market trends, neighborhoods, pros and cons, legal issues, its agents.
  • Gives you the time and attention you need.
  • Keeps his or her promises.
  • Works hard. Works on your timeline. Works to minimize your effort and stress. Works to make or save you more money than they cost.
  • Ideally, loves the business of real estate—because it’s simply much more enjoyable to work with someone who loves what they do.

These are the standards we try to live up to.

Because the quality of the agent working on your behalf—his or her competence, integrity, work ethic and commitment to your interests—can make an enormous difference in the outcome of your home purchase or sale: in money, stress, time and future happiness.

The simple truth is that—just as with lawyers, doctors, contractors and the other important professionals you use when needed—some real estate agents are much better than others.