Six Questions You Need to Ask Your Listing Agent in 2014

So you're ready to list your property and jump into the Edmonton real estate market? Congratulations! Nothing is more exciting than making a change or heading down the road to selling a property. One of the most important steps you can make in this process is choosing the right listing agent as they can make a huge difference in how well things work out for you. Before you settle on a listing agent, make sure you ask the right questions so that you can be confident about their ability to do this job well. Below are six important questions to be clear about before you begin.

Five Questions You Need to Ask Your Listing Agent in 2014
Questions You Need to Ask Your Listing Agent in 2014

1. Is This Your Full Time Job?

You want an agent who knows what they're doing and who will be able to be dedicated to you and answer your calls when you need them to. A part time agent is not necessarily a red flag; perhaps they have personal decisions that keep them out of the full time work force. However, you do want to be sure that if they work at this part time, it's not because they're not able to make a large enough income from real estate to support themselves. 

2. How Many Days Does it Take You to Sell a Home?

This might seem like a bold question to ask, however, the listing agent should be able to answer bold questions about their success rates. Ask them how many of their listings actually sell (in 2013 only 69% of MLS® listings in Edmonton sold). Compare the numbers and explanations you get from different agents. This should give you an idea regarding your agent's selling skills.

3. Do You Have a Marketing Plan Outlined?

It's important to be clear about what your agent will be actively doing to get your house sold. An agent with a solid game plan right out of the gate is more likely to get your place sold quickly and for the asking price you've decided on. Be on the lookout for an agent who is vague about their marketing plan or doesn't really seem to have one at all. Find an agent who is on the ball in this area.

4. Who Will I Be Working with Directly?

It's important to be clear about what the channels of communication are. Does your listing agent have an assistant, or another agent that handles most of the communication with clients,   or will you have a direct line to the agent when you need to speak to them? How are showings arranged and what about collecting feedback after showings? Everyone does things differently so make sure you're comfortable with the way your agent handles their business.

5. Can You Provide Recent References?

You'll want to speak with clients that your listing agent has recently worked with to see what their experience was like. It's important that you speak with people who recently listed a property in the current market. These people will be able to shed light on your agent's abilities.

6. How many listings do you have right now, and how many did you sell last year?

You'll want to find the right balance between experience and overload. An agent with 20 or 30 listings at any given time probably has systems in place to handle that volume, but do they have time to meet each client's individual needs? Will your home sell using the same system or plan as others in your neighbourhood, or do you have more personalized needs when it comes to service and marketing? Does this agent really have time to take on another listing when you're ready to hit the market? 

Listing a property is an exciting experience. It's the end of an era and the start of new beginnings. Finding the right listing agent can make this experience a really enjoyable one. If you're thinking about selling, we'd love to talk, contact us anytime.


Sara MacLennan is the Director of Marketing at Liv Real Estate and a licensed Real Estate Associate. The bulk of Sara’s experience and wealth of expertise lies in on-line technology and marketing both for agents and consumers. Sara is the former National Director for Interactive Marketing for Coldwell Banker Canada where she was responsible for an extensive training program traveling to offices across the country training agents and brokers on marketing and technology. Find Sara on Twitter @edmontonblogger. Digg

16 Responses to “Six Questions You Need to Ask Your Listing Agent in 2014”

  1. SpudNo Gravatar 18. Jun, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    I wouldn’t give too much weight to question 2. The person with the quickest turn around may under value homes and hence they sell quickly. Or they may not fight for that extra few thousand as it makes little difference to their commission but will make a big difference to the seller.

    If the answer to Q1 is no I would end it there. If not full time then the job isn’t the be all and end all for that person. Agree that there may be valid reasons. It just doesn’t assist selling a home.

  2. GMNo Gravatar 19. Jun, 2014 at 12:12 am #

    I really don’t understand Question 3. The only “marketing plan” I have ever seen an agent carry out is plunking a sign on the front lawn, quickly pounding out a poorly worded write-up on mls – often many days after you’ve signed the contract to list your house – and answering calls from other agents (if you’re lucky and the agent hasn’t gone away somewhere on vacation).

    Maybe Sheldon and Sara are different, but that is all I’ve ever witnessed.

  3. Inspector GadgetNo Gravatar 19. Jun, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    I have to agree with GM. In the digital age marketing plans don’t mean much. I have never had an agent do more than the sign, and unfortunately put up a poorly written ad with unprofessional photos. Once my high priced and very big name Edmonton realtor had to be told twice that the MLS map was showing the property 10km away from the actual location. Obviously didn’t even review it before posting.

    • GMNo Gravatar 19. Jun, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

      It’s amazing how many MLS write-ups are sloppily put together as if they were watching TV and writing the ad at the same time. These are people who are trying to get word of mouth business and they can’t even write up a decent paragraph on their client’s property. Don’t even proof-read it after they’ve written it. Incredible.

  4. GaryNo Gravatar 19. Jun, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    Does anyone know a good realtor? One who thinks outside the box

    Another question what rates do most people negotiate with their realtors?

  5. SpudNo Gravatar 20. Jun, 2014 at 12:37 am #

    Sounds like there is a gap in the Edmonton real estate market for a full service agent who takes the time to think about how best to sell an individual house. I must admit, comparing the process of selling a house in Australia to Edmonton (have lived in both) I am astounded at how uncompetitive the Edmonton market is and generally unprofessional. Maybe that is too harsh. But then again, Australia now has the third most expensive housing market in the world so you can understand why agents are competitive!

  6. Sara MacLennanNo Gravatar 20. Jun, 2014 at 2:06 am #

    Why don’t you guys call us? Seriously. We are different, I don’t get why you don’t get it.

    • GMNo Gravatar 20. Jun, 2014 at 9:31 am #

      Probably will next time I sell.

    • Inspector GadgetNo Gravatar 20. Jun, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

      If I decide to sell or buy I will certainly give you the chance to earn my business.
      Not to turn this in to a slag of realtors, but looking on MLS really does show the truth. SOME EVEN TYPE ALL THEIR ADS LIKE THIS!

      In a market like this I understand why there seems to be no need for a good ad, and mediocre pictures. I always thought though that the write ups should be professional, and the pictures should be of professional quality as well. All it takes is a couple day photography course and a decent digital SLR. For the $ being paid to the realtor you would think those things would be a given.
      Imagine hiring a company to market your business with the same quality of work as the more lazy realtors out there…they would be fired immediately.

  7. GaryNo Gravatar 20. Jun, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    I tried to call you but your commission rate is very high and not negotiable I wasn’t going to get what I wanted out of my house after paying you guys

  8. Karl HungusNo Gravatar 20. Jun, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    It is an interesting discussion. Most of the time in life you get what you pay for. But how much is too much?

    Gary, were you expecting less then the standard 7%/3% for a full service broker? If that’s what LIV charges then I don’t think you can complain. Go to a discount realtor if you think your money is better spent there.

  9. GaryNo Gravatar 20. Jun, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    The problem I have for paying 7-3 for 2 600k properties is the listing agent we have now does nothing every showing thus far is a different realtor what does Liv do different if they can sell me on it I’ll gladly give them both homes

    • Sheldon JohnstonNo Gravatar 21. Jun, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

      I guess if someone charges less and doesn’t sell your home then it really doesn’t matter. Our rates our negotiable depending on the level of marketing and service required, and other things like multiple transactions. Here are just a few areas where we are different:

      1. We have a marketing expert who has designed a marketing program for our properties that works. Our results are way better than the average. Most agents try to do everything including marketing and therefore aren’t able to excel at it.

      2. Our online marketing is the best in the business. For certain in this market place. We can deliver more looks to your properties website than anyone else which means more opportunities for showings and that means more opportunities for offers. This includes featuring your property on the most visited real estate search site in the Edmonton area, and a unique domain name that’s easy to remember for your website.

      3. Proprietary details. There are numerous things we do that we don’t want to spill the beans on here but would be happy to share with you in person.

      4. We use professional photos and videos. You tube is the world’s second largest search engine after all.

      5. Attention to detail and knowledge of online marketing. Things like proper mapping make a huge difference when a large amount of buyers are using their mobile devices and if they hit the button “properties near me” and you aren’t found then you property doesn’t exist in their world.

      6. Services. We use professional writers (depending on the service selected), photographers and videographer including drones (again depending on the service selected), and professional stager.

      7. We are the only real estate company in Edmonton that we know that is so focused on your satisfaction that we only have awards for customer satisfaction. That’s right we don’t have sales awards.

      8. Our agents are the best and have the best support and training in the business.

      9. We support our local business where ever we can.

      10. Last year only 69% of MLS® listings sold, we sold 81% of ours.

      I could go on and on but if you can find anyone who does half of what we do let me know.

  10. GMNo Gravatar 20. Jun, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

    I had a good laugh when I watched the movie “American Beauty” where the realtor, after getting the listing, goes over to the house and spends all day cleaning it.

    Pure fiction.

  11. TarazNo Gravatar 22. Jun, 2014 at 12:02 am #

    Here’s a question to ask: if I find my own buyer, do I still have to pay your commission? By the way, some (most?) contracts still require you to pay the Realtor within a certain time frame if you sell shortly after the listing period (I.e., if the Realtor doesn’t sell your house).

    • Sara MacLennanNo Gravatar 23. Jun, 2014 at 11:45 am #

      It would really depend on the situation. If you have someone interested ahead of time, we can exclude people from the contract, but there are so many possible scenarios here we can’t really answer it with a simple yes or no.