You probably already know that selling a home is a major investment of your time and money. The biggest cost of all will be the commission you pay to the person who’ll be by your side through this whole process: your listing agent, whose commission will typically be in the range of 5-6%.
To put this in perspective, every other fee you’ll be paying adds up to just 1% of your home’s selling price!
Considering the size of this investment, it’s very important to understand the many things a listing agent is responsible for throughout the home selling process. Your listing agent will be responsible for a wide range of tasks, and today we’re sharing the 9 most important duties any listing agent should tackle.
What Does A Listing Agent Do?
1. Pays the Agent Representing the Buyer
In the huge majority of home sales, the buyer is represented by an agent who gets paid by your listing agent. You pay your listing agent 5-6%, then he or she will offer 2.8% co-op commission to the buyer’s agent. This leaves your listing agent with a total of 2.2%-3.2% commission.
2. Assesses the Market & Helps Price Your Home
Your listing agent’s expertise is invaluable when it comes to pricing your home. A great agent will have local market knowledge and be able to closely predict what a house will sell for by completing a comparative market analysis (CMA). Taking into consideration many factors, your home’s CMA should compare recently sold homes (approximately 3-6 months depending on market conditions) to yours and will tell you:
- What homes similar to yours are actually selling for.
- How long they tend to stay on the market.
- The difference between what other homeowners actually got for their houses and what they listed them for.
3. Markets Your Home
A skilled listing agent will be comfortable with the many different methods of marketing your home. These can include:
- Listing your home on the MLS (a service used by a group of real estate brokers, allowing each of them to view each other’s listings of properties for sale).
- Print advertising.
- Placing your home on today’s popular real estate websites and any relevant personal blogs and social media.
- Delving into her own network to find potential buyers.
Your listing agent should have a personal website, samples of virtual tours, and a list of portals where she plans to list your home.
4. Presents Your Home
Your listing agent also helps you stage your home to look most appealing to potential buyers and shoots photos and video for marketing. In the modern era of homebuyers searching for houses primarily online, one bad photo can be the difference between a stressful and successful selling experience. Your listing agent should produce high-quality examples of how he presents the homes he sells.
5. Installs Lockbox & Engages Showing Services
This one’s all about those little details that can be tough to pull together on your own. Your listing agent should make any necessary copies of the lockbox keys (to allow access to your home for potential buyers and their own agents), and make sure the showing schedule doesn’t interrupt your schedule more than necessary.
6. Advises You of Likely Inspection Issues
With her experience, your listing agent can prepare you for potential bumps in the road ahead when it comes to your home inspection. If necessary, she’ll also be able to recommend quality vendors to repair the issues.
7. Evaluates and Negotiates Competing Offers
Your listing agent will have a strategy to help you navigate multiple offers. In the flurry of lender approval letters, copies of earnest money, offers and exhibits signed by the buyers, notifications and verifications – you’ll be glad to have a guide!
You and your listing agent may decide to:
- Simply accept the highest offer.
- Give all potential buyers the chance to submit their best offers.
- Counteroffer, while either putting the others on hold or outright rejecting all others.
8. Negotiates Inspection Demands & Appraisal Objections
After inspecting your home, the professional home inspector (hired at the buyer’s expense) will deliver a written report of the findings to the buyer. On or before the inspection objection deadline, the buyer will inform your listing agent in writing about any concerns and requests for repairs.
Your listing agent will lead the way when responding to these objections. Technically, you’re not required to repair anything, but the buyer may also chose not to purchase the property. Failure to successfully negotiate the inspection items is the most common reason a contract will not close, and your listing agent will be key at this stage of the process.
If your potential buyer is getting a loan, an appraisal is also required to confirm that the purchase price is at or above current market value. If for some reason the appraisal comes in below the negotiated price, the seller can reduce the purchase price to fall in line with the appraised value, the buyer can cancel their contract, or come up with the difference out of pocket. Once again, your listing agent will help you understand this process as it unfolds.
9. Walks You Through the Closing Process
Your listing agent will be by your side at closing, too. All the paperwork gets signed by both you and the buyer, you’ll both pay any settlement fees and the documents are officially recorded. Your listing agent will also help you understand the settlement statement outlining any fees.
The process of selling your home can be time-consuming, intimidating and maybe even a bit emotional. But with a skilled listing agent by your side performing all of his duties, the road to selling your home will be much smoother.