It is truly shocking how little effort and focus has been placed by homeowners on interviewing and evaluating real estate agents before trusting them with the sale of their home. Unfortunately, most sellers are already sold on an agent before they even get their facts straight, just based on positive appearances that have nothing to do with the final outcome of the sale. Let’s face it, it’s not about finding somebody that you like but rather somebody who will help you walk away with the most money from your sale and does it in the least amount of time. Nothing can be more rewarding for the seller than leaving the closing table with the peace of mind that everything has been done to secure the best possible outcome. And that can be achieved only if you pick the right professional to represent you.

So here you are, trying to make the right decision that will significantly affect your financial status for years to come. First, let’s look at the most COMMON MISTAKES home sellers make when considering an agent.

Great personality. Being nice, friendly, outspoken and confident does not necessary make one a great agent. These attributes are great to have but they could also be very deceiving and they make no real impact on the final success of the sale. Don’t go just for appearances but rather concentrate on facts.

Referrals. A referred agent might be a good choice but with recommendations we tend to assume that we are getting the best deal. Usually this is not the case. Some people benefit from giving referrals and those who have good intentions might not even be aware of what they had been missing when dealing with that particular person.

Family or friend. Unless it is your spouse or a very close family member, it usually calls for a disaster. Regardless of the ability of the agent, mixing your personal life with business is a big mistake. If something goes wrong during the process, and it usually does, it will negatively affect your relationship for years to come. It’s just not worth it.

Previous agent. Whoever helped you purchase your current property is most likely more comfortable working with buyers and does not have the right tools and time to represent sellers. You need an agent who only specializes in taking and selling listings.

Neighborhood expert. That could be helpful when an agent works with buyers but when selling a home it has no impact on marketing whatsoever. A great marketer can be extremely successful selling homes in different parts of town.

Top producers. They might have a lot of for sale signs but you don’t know how effective they are. Persuading sellers to list and actually selling the majority of these listings at the right price do not always complement each other.

As you can see, you can’t take anything for granted. You have to use some common sense and do some due diligence. And indeed, picking the right agent is not an easy task. I’m sure you heard stories that most Realtors would only stick a sign in the yard and put the property in the MLS, yet they claimed to be the best in the business. Unfortunately, there is no bullet proof solution but there are ways to maximize your chances for choosing the right professional and even protecting yourself in case you make the wrong choice.

It’s obvious that there are some qualities that a top agent should possess. Experience, honesty and great negotiating and communicating skills are a must, as well as being well organized and responsive. He or she should be a team player capable of walking the tight rope, balancing optimism with realism and diplomacy with brutal honesty. But most of these attributes are not easy to recognize during the initial meeting. Instead, let’s concentrate on those skills that can be assessed and verified right away.

That brings us to the most important, yet most neglected aspect of the sale driven real estate industry – MARKETING. Remember, it’s the marketing that draws buyers to your house. It does not happen by itself. The MLS access (Multiple Listing Service) offered by every agent is only a tiny part of the solution. On the top of it, you need a huge spectrum of advertising efforts to put your house in front of as many eyeballs as possible and to produce the highest possible sale. This is all that matters and agents who developed and perfected this unique skill will most likely be the best choice to list your house and deliver the best results.

And how can you tell you are dealing with the agent that is ready to take the marketing of your property to a higher level? That’s easy. Just do this test and you will considerably increase your chances of picking the right professional.

When you set up the meeting with an agent, just ask them to show up, without going into any details of what you expect from them. Then, after the presentation, when you are done with some preliminary questions and when they have already assured you that they would advertise your house everywhere, ask them to show you their marketing plan in writing. If they don’t have it ready to show to you, it means they have no plan at all. They are bluffing.

Think about it. If you were running a successful business that involved multiple activities to be performed in a timely and orderly manner, wouldn’t you have a check list of these functions prepared for you and your team members? And if so, wouldn’t you have it handy for your clients to prove your point? This is the best way to distinguish a true professional from the average agent. And even if they happen to have a plan, study it step by step and compare to other plans you might have received. For reference, you can always use our action plan.

We do not advertise our 42-STEP MARKETING PLAN on the web site for copyrighting reasons. But we can email you a copy. Just fill out the form in the top-right corner and in the “Question Field” type MARKETING PLAN.