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You want to sell your home. You need a listing agent. Now what?

Many of us thinking of selling probably ask ourselves, should I pick a friend who’s an agent? A relative? A neighbor? I know that’s how I think.

In fact, I’ve got a neighbor who became an agent recently, but I have no idea if she’s sold any listings. I would be inclined – just because of the relationship – to give her an opportunity to list our home when the time comes, but REALTOR® Andrew Fortune’s insights tell me otherwise. He owns a real estate firm in Colorado Springs and writes about what’s worked for him.

On choosing a listing agent? He said it should be purely a business decision.

“Why would you choose to use an agent simply because you’re related to them, or they are connected to you socially? Would you choose a surgeon that way? In my experience, that is the worst way to choose an agent,” he writes.

He cites statistics from the National Association of REALTORS that prove most of us DO pick listing agents this way.

“Instead of using the first REALTOR you know to list your house, you should first check out their marketing materials. Ask to view the last few listings they sold. Compare their work with other agents,” he writes. “If it doesn’t compare, don’t hire them!”

When my family sold our Mom’s townhouse in Atlanta, we used her neighbor, who was a part-time agent. She was nice enough, but she wasn’t good at communicating with us, didn’t do enough to properly market the listing, and ultimately we were disappointed in the sale price.

I have a feeling Andrew would have told us that’s our fault. We weren’t focused enough on the goal, and may have chosen the wrong agent.

“Hiring an agent who does not utilize technology to list your house is like going to a car lot and paying 2015 prices for a 2010 model car,” Andrew writes. “It just doesn’t make sense. You are hiring the listing agent to market your home online.”

Listing agents aren’t magicians who can effortlessly 1) excite buyers about your listing, 2) get dozens of showings and 3) field multiple offers. But good ones can accurately assess your home’s value, set the proper price, and market the listing using the latest techniques.

In a neighborhood where Andrew was selling a listing – near another home that had lingered on the market for a long time – he cited marketing as the reason he was able to get multiple offers.

“The major difference between [my seller’s] property and the one still sitting on the market was that one was listed with minimal effort and one was listed to stand out,” he writes.

“My client’s home looked much larger in the photos, and the video was viewed over 100 times within the first five days. The marketing sold the property,” he writes. “We ended up getting multiple offers and got it under contract for our asking price within seven days of being listed online.”

It sort of made me cringe to read that, yet I understand every market is different. My Mom’s listing did sell, after all, but there weren’t multiple offers. Could a more effective listing agent have done a better job?

That’s a good question for agents and sellers.

I’ll keep reading Andrew’s blog for more helpful tips on real estate. You should too.

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