• Real Estate Listing Agents

    Brandon Cornett

    By Brandon Cornett, Editor
    © 2014 All rights reserved

    A real estate listing agent can help you in many ways, when selling your home. These real estate professionals have the insight and experience needed to sell a house quickly.

    But not all agents are created equally. Some will do everything they can to get your house sold. Others will "coast" along and wait for their commission checks. It's like any other industry -- there are good listing agents and bad ones. Our goal is to help you find the good ones. In this article, you'll learn about the key responsibilities of a real estate listing agent. We've even provided a 15-point checklist you can use when screening agents.

    Before we go any further, we need to cover some terminology. What is a real estate listing agent, anyway? This is the person you hire to help sell your home. They are also referred to as seller's agents. Among other things, they will list your home for sale on the Multiple Listing Service, so that other agents can view it (hence the term real estate listing agent). But this is the bare minimum of their responsibilities, as you will see below.

    15 Responsibilities of a Listing Agent

    There are 15 specific tasks your agent should help you with, at a minimum. Here's a list of responsibilities for real estate listing agents.

    1. Researching the local real estate market
    2. Helping you determine the asking price
    3. Helping you identify the key selling points
    4. Giving you a property disclosure form
    5. Taking pictures of your home for marketing
    6. Adding your home to the MLS
    7. Adding your home to Realtor.com and other sites
    8. Placing a "For Sale" sign in your yard
    9. Putting a lockbox on your door
    10. Coordinating visits / showings with buyers
    11. Making sure buyers have financing (e.g., pre-approval)
    12. Holding an open house, if warranted
    13. Presenting offers from buyers
    14. Negotiating with buyers on your behalf
    15. Attending the closing / settlement, if applicable

    These aren't the only things a real estate listing agent will do for you. These are just the minimum responsibilities they should fulfill. Some agents are truly go-getters, and they will go above and beyond the items listed above. At a minimum, though, you want to make sure your listing agent will perform all of the items on this list (with the possible exceptions of items 12 and 15).

    Print this page and use it as a checklist, if you like. Go down the list and ask the real estate agent how he or she will fulfill each of these key responsibilities.

    Let's take a closer look at the items on this list.

    1. Researching the local real estate market

    Your listing agent should be an expert on the local real estate market. He or she should know how long homes are staying on the market before being sold (which is referred to as average days on market). Your agent should know how much similar homes are selling for in the area. He or she should understand how much leverage you have, as a seller, and how much the buyer has.

    Are you in a classic buyer's market, a seller's market, or somewhere in between? A good real estate listing agent will answer all of these questions for you -- it's one of their key responsibilities.

    2. Helping you to determine the asking price

    Pricing is the most important step when selling your house. Home staging and marketing area also important. But your success (or failure) will mostly come down to the price. This is also where a lot of homeowners make mistakes.

    You live in your home, so you have an emotional attachment to it. But you're also trying to sell it, so you need to view it like a product at the same time. An experienced real estate listing agent will help you separate your emotions from the realities of the housing market. He or she will use comparable sales to determine the asking price. More than anything else, this is what determines the true market value of a home.

    3. Helping you identify the key selling points.

    Buyers will spot some of the good points in your house. They will notice the size, the location, and the general layout of the home. But it certainly doesn't hurt to point some things out for them -- especially when those features might be missed at first glance.

    Your real estate listing agent should help you identify these selling points. He or she should also promote them to potential buyers.

    For example, let's say you're selling a house that is pre-wired for surround sound. This is a nice benefit. But it might not be apparent to someone who is just walking through the home. So you would definitely want to point out this feature to potential buyers. Your listing agent should make a list of such selling points (the seen and the unseen) and present it to everyone who visits your home.

    You can include selling points on the MLS listing, on Realtor.com, etc. I recommend going a step further and having a list of features on paper, available to people as soon as they walk in the front door. That way, they can notice the features while they are on site. This is one of core responsibilities of a real estate listing agent.

    4. Giving you a property disclosure form.

    This item varies from state to state. Depending on where you live, you may be obligated to make certain disclosures to potential buyers. For instance, you might have to disclose the age of the roof, the type of heating and cooling system you have, and other items relating to the condition of your property. Your listing agent should know about your state's requirements, and should provide you with the proper form(s) to fill out.

    5. Taking pictures of your home for marketing purposes.

    In my opinion, every real estate agent should own a high-quality camera. Most buyers start their house hunting online these days. They look at property photos to decide which homes they want to visit, and which ones to take off the list. So in some cases, the quality of the photos can decide whether or not a potential buyer visits your house.

    This is part of a real estate listing agent's job. Your agent should take high-quality photos of the interior and exterior of your house. There are no hard and fast rules as to the number of photos, but 12 is a good start. You need to show people enough to get them interested in a visit. On the flip side, you need photos to weed out the people who will never make an offer on your house (like somebody who wants a contemporary style home when yours is traditional).

    Pictures help bring the right kinds of buyers to your house. That's why it's a key responsibility for a real estate listing agent.

    6. Adding your home to the MLS for marketing purposes.

    The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a database of homes that are for sale. It serves other functions as well, but this is the primary function you're concerned with as a seller. Home buyers gain access to the MLS through their real estate agents. So, if you want to put your listing in front of the largest possible audience, you need to put it on the MLS. This is another one of the core responsibilities for a listing agent. Your agent should add your home to the MLS as part of a broader marketing plan.

    7. Adding your home to Realtor.com and other high-visibility websites.

    Realtor.com is the most popular real estate listing websites online today. Each day, hundreds of thousands of people use this website to view homes for sale. As a marketer, you want to go "where the eyeballs are" -- and you can rest assured they're on this website.

    When marketing your home, you need to put it in front of the largest audience as quickly as possible. This is the key to success. By listing your house on the MLS and Realtor.com, you will accomplish this goal. Your real estate listing agent should list your property on both of these services, at a minimum. It would be helpful if they listed you on Trulia.com and Zillow.com, as well. These sites also get hundreds of thousands of visitors each day.

    8. Placing a for-sale sign in your yard.

    There's not much to say about this one. But it is one the responsibilities for real estate listing agents. So it deserves to be mentioned in brief. Believe it or not, there are still some home buyers out there who prefer to drive around in search of homes (rather than using the Internet as a starting point). This is where the classic "For Sale" sign proves useful. It also helps the Internet shoppers find your house, if they decide to visit.

    The yard sign also tells your neighbors you're listing your home. And they might know someone who would love to buy your house. You never know! So make sure your listing agent uses yard signs.

    Continued >> Responsibilities 9 - 15

    Note: This is a two-part series on the duties of a real estate listing agent. Use the link provided above to access the second part of this lesson.

Apply for a Mortgage

Use the link below to start your request: