The Good Life in Austin Texas


What sellers want to know about a potential listing agent!

Austin Skyline I answer questions for buyers and sellers in several on line forums and recently had a number of requests for what a home seller should look for in a listing agent and what questions to ask. 


•1.  Start by doing a few hours of research on line and with friends who live in your area. Ask around... get to know who has the most signs, ads and marketing material in your neighborhood. Compile a list of agent names and use these questions to help you determine which agent is right for you.

•2.     Who are the most active agents? Not just the name you see most, the "neighborhood specialist" often is not as objective because of the perception that a sign in the yard is more important than listing your home at a realistic price. Look for at least three in the neighborhood.

•3.  Interview prospective Realtors and ask for information. You can often get a good idea of which agents are the most professional by looking at their promotional materials. If their own materials aren't professional, how well are they going to market your home? Track how long each agent takes to respond to your request and how quickly they follow up. If they don't respond efficiently to your listing requests imagine how they'll handle potential home buyers.

•4.   How long the agent has been in business and what professional organizations are they associated with? The length of time a real estate agent has been licensed is not a sure fire sign that they've been an active seller. They may have been in business for 10 years but only part time and an agent needs to be in business full time at least 2 years to be viable. So take into account what the time they have worked and also the professional organizations they belong to. The minimum should be a licensed professional who's a member of the local real estate board and multiple listing service as well as the state and National Association of Realtors.

•5.   How many homes has the agent listed and/or sold in the area? Look for an agent who has experience with homes similar to yours and is active in your area. If your home has special features look for an agent with experience in those areas. Your agent should have a good record of selling homes, not just listing them. After all, this is your ultimate goal.

•6.   Do the agent have an assistant or support staff? By employing someone to handle the details of their business the agent can spend more time servicing your needs.

•7.   How often will the agent hold open houses? Simply putting a sign on your lawn and holding open houses every Sunday will not sell your home. Too frequently open houses are used for a newer agent in the office to attract buyers. No one likes to be pressured and it is best to have the listing agent hold the open house because they know more about your home and the area and are better able to help with all prospective inquiries.Look for an agent with a specific plan for each open house. The plan should be just one facet of a complete marketing plan.

•8.   What listing price do you recommend and what is that price based on? Pricing is the most critical step to selling your home. Take great care in choosing an agent with the knowledge to price your home effectively. Keep in mind the selling price should attract prospective buyers to your home, get you top dollar in the current market and reflect the condition of your home. Be realistic and avoid ‘yes agents', who will say ‘yes' to any request or price while your home languishes on the market. Low ball agents will try to talk you into an artificial price simply to sell as fast as possible.

•9.    What does the listing agreement entail, what are the beginning and expiration dates, and what are the fee amounts you will be paying? Have your agent go over every detail in the listing agreement with you until you understand it completely. Make sure the beginning and ending dates are on the agreement; in this market a good standard for length is four to six months. Know exactly what fees you will be paying and remember that less is not always better. If the agent stands to make very little commission you can bet it will be reflected in the amount of time and effort that is spent marketing your home. If the agent reduces their commission to get the listing it may mean they intend to spend very little money promoting the property.

•10.   What types of things separate you from your competition and will you give me some feedback? - How effectively will they advertise? Do they have Internet presence? Will all the leads be followed up on by your agent? Agents who are innovative and offer new methods of attracting home buyers will measurably outperform agents who rely on methods of the past. Marketing effectively these days requires progressive strategies that add value and service for both buyers and sellers!

If you or anyone you know is anticipating purchasing or selling real estate in the Balcones Neighborhood or anywhere in Central, West or Southwest Austin or the Westlake/Eanes School District area, I would be happy to be of assistance. Let me put my nineteen years success helping upscale buyers and sellers in Austin's finest neighborhoods to work for you. Contact me for a private consultation at your convenience!



Russell M. LewisPage copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape 

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20 commentsRussell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI • July 22 2008 09:12AM


These are all great advice for someone looking to list their home - also a reminder to those of us listing homes and what our clients are looking for in our services.

Posted by Hope Goss Ventura Real Estate (Ventura Property Shoppe) over 2 years ago

Russell, I think the amount of time in the business may be offset with training and previous experience. Also just because someone has multiple signs does not mean they will sell the home; competition is a great thing.

Thanks, Ray

Posted by Raymond Camp (Prudential Discover Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Thanks for the good points.  I always try to present myself in the best possible light up front with professional looking marketing materials.  I don't have a support staff to do my marketing and listing work.  My wife and I are a team so we help each other out... we don't need a support staff - yet.  It's a trade-off for my time training someone else to do the work I want done, or doing it myself.  I choose to do it myself; for me, that ensures that it gets done right.

Posted by Jon Miller (United Country-Marshland Realty) over 2 years ago

Great post! Thanks for sharing!


Have a great week!

Posted by Justin & Katie Keisler (Realty Executives of Hickory) over 2 years ago

If every homeowner went exactly by your recommendations, then no one new to the Real Estate profession, ( less than 2 years) per your post, would ever have a listing or sell a home.  Now, please do not take my reply in the wrong way.  It is meant for discussion, not an attack.  Everyone starting off has to be new.  I know plenty of people with years of experience, loads of credentials but I would not want to buy anything off of them, nor sell my home.

In my opinion, a new person is not bog down by bad habits, nor by to many listings.  Provided they have the proper emotional makeup and maturity, they more than likely would bust there hump to prove themselves.  Personality is important, and ability to get things done without procrastinating.  When a homeowner talks with an agent, hopefully they can tell if the person has anything on the ball.  Most new agents have a mentor, and with that teamwork and the right attitude they can get the job done.  jmho


Posted by Paul LeMay (Caretaker Property Services) over 2 years ago

Being prepared and setting expectations is everything.  Thanks for the info.

Posted by Team Honeycutt (Allen Tate) over 2 years ago

Russell- I didn't see any Intro Post, so I will use this one to say Welcome to Active Rain.  As you have already seen this is a great place, with many people writing Posts like this one to help educate.  thank you.

Posted by Kathy McGraw, Riverside County CA Real Estate (CELLing Realty) over 2 years ago

Definitely a number of good points. I also agree with Paul L.'s comment. We all know of experienced agents who have gotten many listings, have had many signs planted but didn't necessarily move the property. Hunger, passion and the pursuit of excellence vs. a complacent resting on laurels; I'll take the former in this case. Conversely, when experience is combined with a high skill set and intense motivation - watch out!

Posted by Risa Liebster, Toluca Lake Real Estate (Realtor - Keller Williams Realty) over 2 years ago

Russell, thank you for your insights. 

Posted by Jon Wnoroski, Summit County Realtor (Keller Williams Chervenic Realty) over 2 years ago

Did you wanna mention that sellers will GOOGLE you to see what they can find? ha

Posted by Sandy McAlpine -Search Lake Norman Homes For Sale - Lake Norman NC Neighborhoods (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 2 years ago

Thank you for this good information!

Posted by Russell and Sandy over 2 years ago

This is really good information that can be edited to help a newer realtor as well as an experienced veteran!

Posted by Allysoun Musslewhite (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Kathy, Risa, Jon and Sandy

Thank you for commenting, I received some great feedback and several emails with more suggestions to improve our performance when lsiting homes!l

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Thank you for your post.  Some sellers are sophisticated and research their agent while others simply look for an agent to represent them and rely on referrals from people they know... or may use an agent they had a good experience in an earlier transaction.  I had one such sophisticated seller who did all the research and chose another agent with more experience in the business... to date, her listing is still active after 177 days on the market and may eventually expire.  I imagine I could have done that too... and that's not a "knock" on the listing agent.  He is an experienced agent with years of success.  However, the market is what it is and there are several factors that contribute to why a good home doesn't sell. 

Posted by Jon Wnoroski, Summit County Realtor (Keller Williams Chervenic Realty) over 2 years ago


I just read another of your blogs about competing with agents that cut commissions and thought I would see if you had any other useful advice. I also "list" upscale homes for lease and this is helpful in both fields. Thanks for the information; I am new to active rain and look forward to reading other posts to learn more!

Posted by Scott Harvey (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

Jon and Scott

Thanks for your input. It is very important that we share this information so that we can help our clients better understand what they are actually getiing for their money!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Well now days, it looks like people want to know where we rank on google as well so I am glad i learned about active rain. It's all important in building a professional listing presentation.

Posted by Anne Giles (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 2 years ago


Thanks again for reading and commenting. You and I both know the importance of maintaining a high level of proficiency. I am always amazed at the number of people in this business who do not prepare and follow through and I am glad to know you as a consummate professional!

Have a great week!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell I was scrolling back through your previous posts and came across this one. it is an excellent outline that would be helpful to some of our agents so I am going to send the link and get some feedback! Thanks always. Ally

Posted by Allysoun Musslewhite (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Allysoun This was one of my first posts and I still think it's a good idea to know what potential sellers AND buyers want when employing us to handle (their biggest single investment!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago


What does the graphic say?