What to Expect Of A Listing Agent

avatarthumbnail.jpgWhat should you expect of a listing agent you hire to sell your home? If you spend enough time poking around online, you’re likely to come up with several answers … and some of them may even be right.

One homeowner in Arrowhead Ranch has been searching for a real estate agent and brought her frustrations to Trulia Voices. The reason? None of the agents to which she had spoken were meeting the expectations laid out in various places online. None were offering open houses. None were offering broker tours or caravans. None were offering print advertisement.

What does this mean? In short that there may be hope for the real estate industry after all. Because those above three methods have next to nothing to do with selling the listed house itself. Rather, they’re all about a listing agent leveraging your home to try and attract buyers for themselves.

Sad but true.

Below is the full answer I provided for additional context. And as an aside, after reading this and other comments, the homeowner has adjusted her expectations so that now she is looking for an agent who will sell her home, not just engage in busy work in lieu of work.

Agents only are paid when one of their listings sell. With that in mind, most will perform those acts that are most likely to cause a buyer to write an offer.

Open houses are extremely ineffective. Most agents who hold houses open do so in the hopes of picking up a buyer, not of selling your house. Why? Because they know the odds of a qualified buyer just happening to drive past their sign, then decide to turn, then decide to walk in, then fall in love with the house, then make an offer and then actually go through with the purchase are extremely thin. Having traffic at an open house doesn’t mean anything if not a single person through writes an offer when it’s all said and done.

Print advertising isn’t effective. It’s expensive. It looks impressive because an agent can show the ad to their seller. There’s a reason the Los Angeles Times has abandoned its weekend real estate section – people are not looking in the paper for homes. They’re looking online. Some agents advertise in those glossy real estate magazines you see in the store. Why? Because they’re hoping to use their listings to attract buyers to purchase any home, not necessarily the ones in the magazine.

Broker tours/company caravans are not effective. Who attends these tours? Agents who have listings on the tour because those are the rules … show a listing, you have to be present. These agents have next to no real interest in any home on the tour other than the one. So why do they do these tours? To be able to point to a stack of business cards on their sellers’ counters.

Most listings agents will schedule showings with buyers’ agents but will not attend for one basic reason … the buyers agent does not want them there. Buyers and their agents want to visit your home without having someone tag along listening to their every word. They don’t want you there. They don’t want the listing agent there. There’s nothing a listing agent can accomplish by being there other than antagonizing the other agent. If a listing agent was at a home I was attempting to show, I’d politely ask them to stay in their car so my client and I could discuss the home candidly.

Many agents are focusing on online marketing because that’s what works. That’s where the buyers are. Of course, there’s online advertising and then there’s online advertising. Settling for one photo on Realtor.com and their company site (or their own site no one visits) doesn’t really get the job done. But it’s eminently possible to provide a large amount of exposure when done correctly.

[tags]Phoenix real estate, Arrowhead Ranch[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.


  • Linsey Planeta 9 years ago

    I love this. It’s nice to hear an agent talk about this. I’m so sick of hearing marketing plans that really amount to agent promotion rathing than marketing the home!

    I’ll be linking back to this. 🙂

  • Jonathan Dalton 9 years ago

    Hi, Linsey … appreciate the mention in your post!

    What gets to me (and what got to me yesterday as the debate continued on) is the folks who won’t admit to what they’re really doing. They’ll swear up and down that they’re sitting an open house to sell that house … yet every new agent is told by their broker to sit open house to get buyers, every buyers’ agent hired has the immediate task of sitting open house.


  • Phyllis Harb 9 years ago

    Great, and honest post. In our market, we try it all but Realtors know that the Internet is the best way to spend our marketing efforts.

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