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

see also Brokers and Agents

Listing Agent  … the agent with whom the owner signs a Listing Agreement, who lists the property in the local MLS, advertises it, and represents the seller in negotiations.

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 deliver the purchaser for their property and to 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, etc.

Indeed, these actions are intended to create buyer attractions, but …

The Job of the Listing Agent

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

The local MLS, ARMLS for metro-Phoenix, is the primary means for doing that.

Of course, the descriptions, photos, videos, etc., are syndicated by ARMLS to many Internet real estate websites. And the listing agent may employ the means to syndicate these materials to additional real estate websites. So home shoppers in other communities and states are also going to see these materials and are eventually going to contact a local Realtor® for information or access, typically with criteria in addition reference to specific properties.

Quality of Listing Presentation

The pictures, descriptions and other information entered into ARMLS form the “attraction” to Selling Agents within the context of their buyer client’s expressed criteria, preferences and price range.

If the pictures and descriptions are not well done, the “attraction” will be weak even if the property meets the criteria. So it is critical that the listing agent be able to “craft” a MLS listing that is particularly attractive to agents, not just to prospective 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.

Responsive Communications

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 to connect 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.

Listing Presentation Questions

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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