What do you expect your Listing Agent to do?

Real estate selling is both art and science.
The most important “art” is the ability to recognize when the market
is telling you that your “science” was wrong! ~ W Neal

Listing Agent

… the agent who lists the property, advertises it, and represents the seller in negotiations … sometimes referred to as the “seller’s agent”.

Selling Agent

… more commonly referred to as the “buyer’s agent” … the agent who works with the buyer, writes the purchase offer, and represents the buyer in negotiations.

Many homeowners actually expect their listing agent to find someone to buy their home and write a purchase offer. After all, the listing agent is doing things you would expect if they were searching for buyers … a sign goes up in the front yard; ads are placed; open houses are held; the property is proudly displayed on the Internet.

Indeed, these actions are intended to create buyer attractions when and if buyers see them, but

The Listing Agent’s Primary Job …

is to bring the property to the favorable attention of the multitude of  agents who are already working with buyers.

The Realtor MLS system is the primary means for doing that. The pictures, descriptions and other information entered to the MLS form the “attraction” to Selling Agents within the context of their buyer’s expressed criteria, preferences and price range. However, if the pictures and descriptions are not well done, the “attraction” will be weak even if the property meets the criteria.

It is critical that the listing agent be able to “craft” a MLS listing that is attractive to agents as well as to buyers.

It is also critical that the listing agent employ strong communication technologies so that all forms of marketing provide multiple, effective and convenient ways of contacting the listing agent for additional information, to arrange a showing, etc., including on-the-spot ways from right out in front of the property.

Next issue – handling inquiries. A live, knowledgeable person should answer calls, not a recorder, and promptly respond to email inquiries, not a computer auto-responder. We are constantly astounded by the number of listing agents who are difficult to communicate with and/or who respond to inquiries very slowly, sometimes even not at all. The most elaborate and expensive advertising will be ineffective with poor response.

Today, spans-of-attention are short, the competition strong, the distractions many, and the preference is connection with a person, not a machine. Someone needs to promptly and effectively respond to each and every inquiry … while the caller is “hot” … not hours or days later. Unfortunately, the “response” aspect of listing agent performance is normally invisible to the seller.

Suggestion to sellers … in your interview with potential listing agents, discuss with each what your expectations are for phone, email and text inquiry responses. And tell each that you reserve the right to test each of these from time to time … and do that. Given the discussion, agent performance in this critical area is likely to be MUCH better than otherwise, even by those who are normally adequately responsive.

Of course, the job of the Listing Agent also includes negotiating on behalf of the seller, as well as managing the transaction through the escrow process, but these are going to be slow to happen if the Listing Agent does not perform well during the “listing” stage of the process.

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