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What Is a Listing Agent? Is It Worth Hiring One in Today’s Market?

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If you have just discovered that you’ve inherited a house you can’t afford, or need to address a large bill, or you just have a life-changing opportunity in a new city, you may need to sell your home – really quickly.

According to an article published on Zillow, average homes across the USA spend 25 days on the market before coming under offer. This, however, was at the housing market peak in 2020, and under offer is not sold.  

This means you’ll want to find the best listing agent to get this ball rolling as soon as possible. But what is a listing agent? 

You probably have loads of questions about finding a listing agent, like:

  • What does a listing agent do? 
  • What are the benefits of recruiting listing agents?
  • How have they evolved in selling houses?

Let’s answer the biggest question first. 

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What Is a listing agent?

Also known as a “seller’s agent,” a listing agent is a licensed real estate agent contracted to represent the seller.  

Because they are contracted for the seller, their role is pretty comprehensive and includes the following responsibilities: 

A listing agent helps set the asking price

As a professional in the real estate game, a listing agent will know the ins and outs of the realtor landscape. With this said, they will need to compile a comparative market analysis (CMA) report

A CMA will factor in several elements to determine the actual value of your home. According to Investopedia, the criteria included in a CMA are:

  • An evaluation of the neighborhood
  • Details about the property
  • Comparison of similar homes being listed and adjusting the price accordingly
  • Comparison of actual selling prices in the area for the past nine months

This is a pretty comprehensive report, and as a seller, you should insist on receiving one from your listing agent. 

Listing agent will advise about repairs

Your listing agent will recommend getting a complete home inspection. This will assist the agent in determining what repairs need to be completed before listing the property. 

These home inspections are usually made for safety reasons and won’t recommend additional renovations. 

When all the repair work is completed, the listing agent will need to perform their next role. 

Assisting with staging your home

When staging a home for viewing, the selling agent will want to ensure that the furnishings show off the house’s features. 

According to the Real Estate Staging Association, when homes are appropriately staged, they spend 86% less time on the market. 

Also, a home properly staged for photographs and 3D tours assists the agent in marketing the property. We honestly see the many benefits of home staging.

Listing agents market your home

Marketing a home and managing communications is a full-time role that needs a special touch. 

The first step in marketing a home requires photos and an accurate write-up. Another element of selling a home is that the listing agent could have contacts in the industry who might want to purchase your home. 

Photos taken during the staging will also be used and uploaded to a multiple listing service (MLS). This is usually a service they subscribe to and which will distribute your listing far and wide. 

If this is all completed correctly, you will likely become a part of the “average offer timeline” of 25 days. By this time, your listing agent should have an offer on the table. 

Negotiate on your behalf

With any real estate deal, there are a million moving parts. Miss any of them, and you, as the seller, can be liable for a fine. 

You will need a professional to review the contracts and complete the walk-through of your property. Negotiating a price for your home is a highly emotional experience that can go south if not appropriately handled. 

First, the listing agent will need to determine if there are any contingencies on the sale. This will likely include an appraisal from a financial institution to determine if the asking price is fair.

The next step is searching for the title deed and checking if it is clear of liens or encumbrances. While it is unlikely that someone has filed this against your title deed without your knowledge, it’s not a guarantee. 

Although a listing agent does a lot of work, is it still worth hiring one? After all, it is common knowledge that most agents will be entitled to 2,5% – 3% commission of the total home selling price. 

For example, if your home sells for $200,000, you could owe your selling agent $15,000. 

However, your can owe your listing agent up to 6%-7%. 

Is it worth it to hire a listing agent? 

If you are planning to forgo the assistance of a listing agent, you will have to sell your home yourself or take the for sale by owner (FSBO) route. 

This will mean carrying all the jobs the agent would have handled – and more. After all, you don’t have connections in the real estate sector. Selling a home is a layered process. 

This will mean finding professionals such as photographers, professional stagers, appraisers, home inspectors, and so on, and lastly, locating an MLS. 

If this isn’t an issue and saving every cent matters, also keep in mind that FSBO sales are usually made below the rate of homes sold professionally.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that, on average, FSBOs sell for 26% less than homes represented by an agent.

Taking the same example as earlier, if your home is listed on the market for $200,000, your FSBO take home will only be $156,880. That’s a loss of $55,120 and your time. 

Another issue is that only 11% of FSBO sales are successful, according to NAR.

So listing agents are very much worth it. 

What is the difference between a listing agent and a selling agent?

Something you might not know is that your listing agent might need to split their commission with a selling agent, but who are they, and what is the role of a selling agent?

In a house sale, the seller is represented by a listing agent. The selling agent represents the buyer. 

A selling agent assists the buyer in locating a property. The two roles are usually performed by the same person/agency. But why the name change? It’s for legal reasons. They have different legal responsibilities.

For those now interested in selecting a listing agent, you will want to interview a few candidates. But what traits and qualities make the best selling agent for you? 

How to select the best listing agent

As you can imagine, selecting the right listing agent goes a long way to getting the right buyer for your property. Whether you need a cash buyer or are okay with a financed deal, it’s their job to find that buyer. 

So, what should you look for in a listing agent? 

Career length

Nothing is more valuable in the real estate game than experience and connections. Agents who have been in the industry for several years have made valuable connections. 

These connections include contractors, photographers, and more. In some cases, they have a list of buyers they can call who will want to buy your home. 

We recommend someone who has been in the game for at least two to five years. 

How many clients are they working with?

You want a listing agent in demand, but one that’s too busy is going to miss opportunities. Slow responses to emails, missed calls, and texts can happen when agents are overworked.

As the real estate game is all about commissions, you will encounter agents juggling as many clients as possible. Make sure that they can manage their workload efficiently. 

What’s their experience selling homes in your price range? 

It’s a question many forget to ask, but it is essential when your property is at the higher or lower end of the market. 

A listing agent who is well acquainted with the demographic you want to sell to will be able to link you with the buyer you need. 

What’s their knowledge of the neighborhood?

A listing agent needs to have local knowledge. Selling a home is more than just about the structure but also the lifestyle the area will offer the new potential owner. 

Local listing agents will also be talking from experience and not reading cue cards. Buyers will appreciate the local insights, and if they do purchase the property, new owners might contact them in the future for information. 

How many properties did they sell last year?

As they say, the proof is in the pudding. You need to make sure that listing agent you’ve chosen can move stock. 

As the market lacks stock in many areas around the country, their closing rate should be relatively high. 

A simple Google search will reveal the average amount of homes sold in your area. Depending on the figures, you will have to decide what number of homes constitutes success to you.

Preferred method of communication

An agent that’s a poor communicator is a lousy realtor. Establish which method of communication works the best for them, and be aware they will have other clients. 

Again, if they are slow to respond with more than 24 hours between turnaround times, you’ll want to select a different agent. 

Another question to ask, which is related to communication, is their working hours. While we might be obsessed with the status of the sales process, they are human and have lives. 

What’s their strategy?

Not planning is planning to fail. Asking about their strategy for marketing your home is essential. 

While the USA is experiencing a buyer’s surge, it’s still crucial that their strategy attracts the clients you want. 

Do they have referrals?

Making sure that past customers are happy with the service the listing agent delivers is essential.

While we’d love to say that by asking all these questions, you’ll be guaranteed to have the perfect listing agent, the truth is, sometimes you will hire a lemon. 

So, can you end a contract with a listing agent? 

Can you end a listing agent’s contract?

Generally speaking, when you sign a contract with a listing agent, you’ve agreed to work with them exclusively for at least 90 days. Depending on the terms and conditions, it’s best to wait out the entire period.

If, after that allotted time, they haven’t met your expectations, you can reach out to new listing agents to assist with your property. You can officially hire as many agents as you wish to sell your property. 

But there’s nothing worse than having to manage multiple realtors. Also, a property with numerous realtor signs on the lawn will signal to potential buyers that you are, in fact, desperate to sell. 

If you’ve been through the 90-day waiting period already and are looking for alternative methods to sell your home, why not sell it to an iBuyer service? 

What is involved with iBuying services?

iBuyer companies eliminate the biggest hurdle in the real estate industry – finding the right buyer. With cash on hand, almost all iBuying services are ready to take your property as is. 

That means no repairs, no marketing, and no hassle of dealing with bad listing agents. 

So what is an iBuying service? Well, we think our website says it best:

“An iBuyer is an Instant Buyer in the real estate industry who uses data-driven, online, home value assessment tools to determine what your house is worth and then makes you an instant cash offer to buy your house.”

This means an instant, fair market value valuation, supplied with a market report to ensure that all is above board and includes a cash offer. If you have any other questions, refer to our FAQ section.

Don’t worry about finding a good listing agent

No need to struggle with finding the right listing agent for your property. With iBuyer.com, you can find qualified buyers for your home without going through the hassles of finding a good listing agent.

You just have to submit your address and create an account to find out the value what our pool of buyer would pay for your home. We’ll contact you in no time with no-obligation cash offers.

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