The Right Listing Agent Won't Tell You What You Want to Hear

By Eileen Walsh

4 min read

It is said that in Los Angeles there are 3 real estate agents per city block (in fact, on my very own street in Beverly Hills Post Office, there actually are 3 real estate agents who live on the street, and there are only 17 houses there!) So if you want to list your home for sale, how on earth do you go about finding the right agent to represent you? Here are a few pointers:

Take Your Time to Find the Right Agent

Not all real estate agents are the same. Taking the name from your doctor’s brother’s father-in-law is a bit of a risk, if you don’t interview that agent first. Going by the best business card, the biggest billboard, the agent who always pops up in internet searches, or even your friend from the community or a club, is a starting point, not the end.

When you interview Realtors, ask them what their plan is to market your home. Ask what tools they use. Ask what you need to do to make your home more marketable. If all you get are empty answers or big, bold promises with nothing concrete behind them - like statistics on their past sales, closing rates, time on market, etc. - be cautious. 

Walk Away When You’re Told What You Want to Hear

Unless you’ve worked in the real estate industry for any length of time, chances are a good agent will push back - politely but firmly - against some of your expectations. If your asking price is too high for the market, they’ll tell you. If you need to work on curb appeal or staging, a good agent will tell you.

A good agent doesn’t mean a rude one. They should be able to explain clearly why they feel you need to do certain things. When it comes to pricing, a strong agent can show you the numbers and back up what they’re telling you. They’ll also be able to show you what to do to make your home more appealing for the local market. You’ll walk away feeling better informed about the process and what you can expect, as well as with a more realistic picture of your home in the current market.

Realtors don’t get paid unless they make a sale. Agents who work with clients and customers every day, not only to sell your home but make a living in the business, know they don’t succeed unless you do. You need a partner as you list and sell your home who wants the best outcome for you and your property. The person who doesn’t explain why they disagree with you or who agrees with everything you say without giving their own insight is looking for another listing, not a closed sale.

This may sound strange, but the person you probably want to work with most is the person who disagrees with you when you first meet. 

Tired of talking only to agents who can’t explain the process, how the market works, or what you can do to improve your chances of a quicker close? I’m not afraid to tell you what I think - about your home, the market, and what it will take to sell your home for the best price.