How Out of State Sellers Pick A Listing Agent

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Black Business Woman with LaptopI’ve Been There
When my mother passed away in 2010, I hired an agent while I was in the height of my grief.  I picked someone who seemed to be successful from his approach and demeanor, but honestly, I didn’t do any homework on him.  I was just too tired.  I did do one thing smart, I refused to give him a year listing.  I wasn’t willing to have the house on the market that long.  I did sign a 6-month listing but I told him I wanted it sold in two and he should make that happen.  I gave him the price he asked for and two months later, I insisted on a price reduction.  At the end of 6 months, nothing had happened and I had heard from my agent a total of about 6 times.  I was a very motivated seller since the house costs me $2K per month to maintain.

The Search for a Good Listing Agent
So I was faced with picking new agent.  I went into the marketplace online since this is how most buyers will find their house.  I searched for houses in the area that my mother’s house was in and I started pulling up listings.  I found a few agents in the area with listings that might cross-promote nicely with my mom’s house.  So I started making calls.  Not one of them answered their phones.  In fact, not one of them went to a cell phone.  They all went to office answering machines.  (Can you tell my mom lived in a rural area?)  So I went back to the computer again.  And I did another search based on the lake that my mother lived near.  This time I got better results.  The top items in the search were from Homes.com.  So I started digging through and the strangest thing happened.  

No Profiles Filled Out
Almost every listing that I looked at had information about the house on it, but very little or nothing about the agent.  So I checked to see if the lack of a profile was price related and discovered that you can actually fill out a profile for free on Homes.com.  It costs you monthly to post your listings.  Which means that the agents whose listings I was perusing had paid (likely $29 per month – their base fee) to post their listings, but had completely failed to fill out information that was free to enter and which made it easier for me to find them as a seller.  Can you say “missed the boat?”

The Stand-Out Choice
And then I found one where the profile was not only filled out, but the listing was an enhanced listing as well.  The agent also had several other listings in the same area.  He also had an 888 phone number that I knew would follow him to wherever he was.  There were signs that this was a professional agent!  

The Test
And so I decided to call and see how he was on the phone with potential buyers.  Because we know that if you can’t convert a buyer call, you’re not likely to make the sale yourself.  He answered the phone himself.  He answered questions about his listing (although he did have to look some stuff up – he had 30 listings after all).  He was professional.  So I came clean and told him that I wasn’t a buyer, but a seller and I needed some help.

Quick Response
Despite the fact that we had a couple of weeks before my last listing expired, he got right on the job of providing me with a new market analysis and staying in contact.  Given that my last agent barely spoke to me, I found this to be refreshing.  He worked with a partner and he told me about her.  

Introducing the Partner
If there is one thing that I would have liked to have had happen, it’s that I would have liked to have gotten a phone call from his partner to introduce herself.  This way when he wasn’t around and she needed to talk to me, she wouldn’t be coming in cold to the relationship.  

House Sold
Turns out I wasn’t wrong about him.  He brought me a buyer and we negotiated a sale just shy of a short sale.  (After the horrid experience I had already had with Bank of America, I wasn’t about to try doing a short sale with them.)  And we closed nice and smooth.  

How Do You Look To Out Of Town Sellers?
When was the last time you did a search on the internet for agents in your area?  Do you know how you look to someone coming in?  Are you one of those agents who didn’t even fill out the free profile?  Or are you the agent who spent the time to look as professional as they act?  Might be time for a checkup.

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