3 Signs It's Time to FIRE Your Listing Agent

Below is a guest post from Ruth Lerner, an associate in our Brookline, Massachusetts office.  You can follow more of Ruth’s thoughts on real estate by connecting with her on twitter, @BostonRuth.

Homes don’t sell by mistake.  If they did, real estate brokerages would not exist.  So if your agent is leaving your home selling up to chance, it’s time to question your hiring choice.Marketing a home for sale requires planning and action steps.  But if you are sitting and waiting for your listing agent to call, wondering if anything was done in the past two months, well, it may be time for a shake up!

Here are the top three signs your listing agent may be lazy or clueless, and it’s time to do something about it.

  1. No plan of action.  You should know what your listing agent is planning to do in order to market your home.  The property has a target market, such as first time home buyers, downsizing homebuyers, young families, etc.  What is the listing agent going to do to reach the target market?

Ask for copies of the marketing materials the listing agent prepared.  Feel free to request links to where your home’s listing appears and to be CC’d on email marketing.  For more details on what to expect from your agent, read my recent piece, “The First Seven Steps Your Realtor Must Take.”

  1. No Market Updates.  Even if there is little activity in your home, something is going on somewhere.  Your listing agent should be updated on everything going on in your property’s market.  A good listing broker will not allow other homes to sell while yours linger without questioning either marketing or price.

Understanding the local market’s dynamics answers the question of why a home does not sell.  When similar properties are selling, the problems lay in the home’s presentation, price or marketing.  If nothing is selling, make decisions on how to react to the quiet market.

  1. No Feedback.  I recently read a quote, “Success can be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations you are willing to have.”  Agents unable to have uncomfortable conversations with clients will have lacking negotiation skills and compromise easily.  Whatever the feedback, you should know.

Your listing agent doesn’t need to convey every piece of nonsense people said in your house.  But, if there are issues which buyers are pointing out, your listing agent should be able to have an uncomfortable conversation with you.

For whatever reason you find your agent is not working for you, your first step is to speak with the agent directly.  Ask questions and request a thorough update.  Sometimes agents assume clients don’t want to be bothered, but are working hard behind the scenes.  Start with the benefit of the doubt.

Remember, the listing agreement is with the Brokerage firm, (William Raveis Real Estate, for example), and the agent is hired to sign on its behalf.  The agent has no authority to cancel a listing contract.

In cases of incurable dissatisfaction with your agent, speak with the office manager who will find a more suitable Realtor.  Don’t dismiss the whole company because of an agent.  It will be to your advantage to honor the contract you signed and have a different agent, supervised by the manager, see you through the sale.

Expect more from your agent, speak-up, and be heard.  We’re listening!

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