Some of the pitfalls in selecting a listing agent

Selecting a listing agent is a tricky business these days. Besides your local real estate agent who will actually do the work, a whole crop of middleman businesses have cropped up. You have seen them on TV. They will sell your home for as little as a 2% commission. Actually they don’t sell anything except for your name and contact information to a local agent who will pay them a hefty referral fee for that info. It ads nothing to your home selling experience or your bottom line. In fact, it detracts from both because the agent you could have called on your own will have less resources to spend on the marketing of your home because he or she is paying the referral company.

Then there is the guy on the TV who will make you a cash offer on your home in 24 hours no matter the condition. This is usually someone with a real estate license who might in fact make you a cash offer for hundreds of thousands less than what the property is worth in its present condition. If you don’t take the lowball cash offer he or she will refer you to a local agent for a referral fee.

There are other variations on these themes but the one constant is that while you can still interview other agents, you chose to investigate a path that hopefully took you out of the decision-making process. Experience shows that people who start down this path will simply use whoever is sent their way.

You will be best served by going through the process of investigation and interviewing real estate agents to hire when selling Marin County CA homes.

  • Get help with the process

Many people are intimidated by the process of selecting a real estate agent as this is one of the largest transactions anyone will conduct in their lifetime. They are fearful that they will be taken advantage of by a slick real estate agent or will make a mistake and not choose the best agent for them.

While your father who sold a home in 1984 wants desperately to help, he might not be the best choice. Much has changed in real estate, even from year to year.

Find someone who has sold a property in your area in the last few years to give you pointers. Take this advice with a grain of salt as well as there are many different scenarios that come up in the sale of a home. The sale of your home may be nothing like the sale of your friends’ property. Whether you are looking for a Mill Valley CA trusted listing agent or a San Rafael CA trusted listing agent in the end you will need to make the decision on your own.

  • Should you work with the agent who sells the most in the area?

Top Agent, TopProducer, Number 1 Agent, etc. are all buss words that are claimed by many agents. What is rarely explained is Top of what or Number 1 at what? This is where their explanations get a little fuzzy.

Very often the agent who sells the most in an area has the least amount of time to give to his or her clients and very often will pass tasks off to a “team member” of lesser experience.

More importantly than selling the most is how much time they have for you. If you have been in a home for years and raised a family there, selling can be an emotional process. Finding an empathetic agent with a good reputation and the time to guide you through the process is usually more important than finding the agent who sold the most in the neighborhood.


  • Selling a home has legal exposure

Omissions and mistakes on disclosures are the number one cause of legal action and litigation in residential real estate. Some of these disclosures are required by law and some are not. When done properly, disclosures protect the seller as much as the buyer. When properly disclosed, a buyer is hard-pressed to claim that they were damaged because they didn’t know about a condition.

This is where agent selection gets tricky. Most agents provide the forms to the seller disclosures only. The courts have said that real estate agents are not qualified to view government documents and other material dealing with building inspection. In fact, the employing broker will not allow sales associates to help clients fill out disclosures. This is where the sole proprietor real estate broker is an advantage where they have a background in architecture and or building inspection and are willing to take on the risk of helping a selling client close the best language to describe a disclosed condition.


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