Maybe you listed your home a month ago and haven’t received as much buyer interest as you anticipated. Or maybe, you signed a purchase agreement with a real estate agent and have heard nothing but crickets since. Either way, you’re wondering, “Is my Realtor® doing a good job?”
Stop wondering if the grass is always greener and take action. Run through our list of checkpoint questions below to determine if your real estate agent is fulfilling their obligations.
For added insight on what constitutes a “good agent,” we interviewed top real estate agent Jason Farris who completes 11% more home sales than the average agent in Fresno, California.
Does your real estate agent answer your calls, texts, and emails within 24 hours?
Good communication is essential for maintaining a successful working relationship with your real estate agent. Farris advises that your agent should provide you with regular updates about the steps they are taking to sell the property.
“If your real estate agent isn’t communicating with you — if they’ve basically kind of gone MIA after signing the listing agreement — that’s a good sign that you should be concerned about whether or not you hired the right one,” he warns.
As a general rule of thumb, your agent should respond to your questions within 24 hours on business days.
When it comes to agent-initiated updates, Farris notes that the appropriate level of communication largely depends on your market conditions. If you’re selling in an area where homes are getting scooped up in a week or less, your agent should be touching base at least once a day.
Conversely, if it’s a slower market or you’re selling a luxury property, your agent may have fewer updates to relay, making weekly or biweekly updates sufficient.
Did they suggest how to improve your home’s appearance to enhance its marketability?
Your real estate agent should provide an objective and honest assessment of your home’s condition and styling. If your agent doesn’t offer advice on pre-listing repairs, staging, and light improvements, they’re not doing a good job.
A great agent knows what home improvements are worth investing in to attract local buyers, Farris says. They’ll know which projects will yield a high return on investment by adding value to your home (and sale price, by extension).
For example, our research indicates that spending $486 on decluttering can yield a 432% return, while exterior painting can provide up to a 51% return on investment — with the added bonus of boosting curb appeal to attract more buyers to your home.
Do you primarily interface with the agent rather than their team?
It’s not uncommon for real estate agents to have support teams to assist with administrative tasks — this allows them to focus on the more critical aspects of your sale.
Regardless of if your real estate agent has a support team or not, they should:
- Be available to respond to your calls and emails.
- Craft a property listing that includes professional photos and a compelling description.
- Devise and execute a marketing strategy tailored to your property.
- Serve as the first point of contact for interested buyers.
- Negotiate with buyers on your behalf.
If it feels like your agent is delegating these tasks to support staff or more junior agents on their team, then you’re likely not harnessing their expertise to sell your home.
Does your agent have a comprehensive marketing strategy for your home?
A good agent knows how to craft a killer listing and generate a buzz on social media to stimulate buyers to schedule showings. Since 97% of home buyers used the internet to search for their homes, your Realtor® must have a robust digital marketing strategy.
Here are some signs that your agent is executing a strong marketing strategy:
- They’ve posted your home’s listing on social media channels and several of the top real estate websites.
- Your property listing looks immaculate; the photos are high-quality and on par or exceed the competition’s.
- The listing description is captivating and leaves buyers wanting to see the property in person.
- Your agent is advertising your listing in relevant local outlets like newspapers or community boards.
Does your agent help translate required paperwork and relevant real estate laws?
The paperwork to sell a home is seemingly endless — you’ll need to review and sign a listing agreement, seller’s disclosure form, purchase agreement, and more. These documents are packed with legal jargon and industry-specific verbiage that can even confuse a seasoned seller. Your real estate agent should take time to walk you through each form and contract and promptly answer any questions you may have before signing.
“I wouldn’t want to go under contract to list my home with an agent who doesn’t know how to explain a purchase agreement or disclosures that protect me in case of a lawsuit three to four years down the road,” Farris comments.
If your Realtor® is doing a good job, they should:
- Take the time to explain to you what the verbiage in contracts and other documents mean
- Include you in the process of filling out essential sections of forms
- Accurately fill out such as property descriptions and disclosures
- Answer your questions about relevant contingencies, earnest money deposits, and closing costs
- Use technology such as e-document services to get the process completed efficiently
Is your home priced similar to comparable properties in the area?
Homes that aren’t priced right don’t tend to sell quickly, and it takes a bit of research to figure out the sweet spot list price. While you have the final say on the listing price, your real estate agent should provide you with a recommended price based on extensive market research.
To arrive at a competitive listing price, your agent should conduct a comparative property analysis (CMA) that compares your home’s attributes to those of recently sold properties. The agent should suggest a price that’s close to the determined “market value.” Overpricing is the number one mistake sellers make, so it’s a major red flag if your agent doesn’t push back when you want to list significantly higher than comps.
- Showing traffic is below two to four visitors per week.
- You have lots of traffic but no offers.
- You’ve received offers, but you keep getting lowballed.
- Your days on market keep creeping up, exceeding the market average.
- You went with the agent who priced your home the highest.
- Neighboring homes are priced differently and in visibly better condition.
Final verdict: Is your Realtor® doing a good job?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, your agent is likely doing what they can to sell your home.
There may be other reasons why your home isn’t selling as fast as you’d hoped for, such as:
- Your home has a limited buyer pool due to its style, location, or price point.
- You’ve turned down your agent’s advice on pricing, decluttering, and staging — all factors that could help your home sell faster.
- Your local market is slow, meaning it takes homes longer to sell than average.
If you answered “no” to many of these questions, there’s a chance that your real estate agent isn’t performing to their best ability.
Next steps: Weigh these options if you’re not satisfied with your Realtor®
If you don’t believe that your real estate agent is doing everything in their power to sell your house, take action with the following steps:
1. Communicate with your agent
Before letting your Realtor® go, have an in-person conversation with them about your concerns. Provide specific feedback on how the agent is not meeting your expectations.
Gauge how the agent responds to your points. If they come back with an action plan, you may be able to salvage the relationship and get your home sale back on track. If they get defensive or provide excuses rather than proposed solutions, you may want to consider parting ways.
2. Leave your listing agreement if necessary
If you don’t want to continue working with your real estate agent, you can ask them to terminate the listing agreement.
One caveat to consider is that this will involve taking the home off the market until you find a new real estate agent. However, Farris says that “Going off the market is better than your property potentially being misrepresented by the wrong agent.”
Depending on the fine print on your listing agreement with your real estate agent, terminating the listing agreement early could cost you a fee (though many agents will work with you on this depending on the situation). Some brokerages may give you the opportunity to switch agents on their team without breaching the contract.
3. Hire a new agent for a second chance at a successful sale
If your first real estate agent didn’t work out, learn from your mistakes and take time to vet your next agent.
The agent you choose to represent your home sale can significantly influence your experience and final sale price. Our research reveals the top 5% of real estate agents sell homes for as much as 10% more than the average agent.
Start your search for your next agent with HomeLight. We’ll match you with three top real estate agents in your area based on performance data like their average list to sale price ratio, days on market, and client reviews.
From there, we recommend that you interview your candidates for insight into their experience and proposed plan to sell your house.
Header Image Source: (Lance Anderson / Unsplash)