Atlanta Listing Agents - Ask The Right Questions Before Hiring

Jim Crawford's picture
Atlanta Listing Agents - Ask The Right Questions Before Hiring

Are you planning to sell a home in the Atlanta area in the near future? Well unless you plan to sell it for sale by owner, then you will need the services of a very experienced Atlanta listing agents to get your home sold quickly at the highest possible price.

Most persons assume that all Atlanta real estate agents are the same – they are not. Each agent may be licensed to sell real estate in the state of Georgia, but most will specialize in certain niches where they can focus on being the best in that field. Not all licensed real estate agents focus on residential real estate. Some work only in commercial sales and leasing, property management, auctions, and lots and land. In residential real estate some agents choose to work solely as buyer agents, listing agents, leasing agents and rentals, and others will narrow that focus even further to foreclosures and distressed properties, new homes and resale residential sales.

What you need as a home seller is an Atlanta listing agent – a person that specializes in selling and marketing homes of their clients.

The Problem When Selling a Home In Atlanta
A problem often occurs when an Atlanta home owners wishes to sell a home and is interviewing potential listing agents. They never ask the potential listing agent what’s their specialty. If this vital step is omitted, it will surely create major problems for the home seller and their expectations may not be met. Why? Because it does not make sense for a person that works only commercial real estate to switch horses and now sell a residential property. That’s like a fish out of water on dry land. There is no familiarity with marketing, residential contracts, nor do they have a network of other agents that they can get the deal done in a timely manner. That may not best benefit the seller’s expectations in best sales price, terms and expedited sale. Yes of course the commercial agent may be legally able to list a home for sale due to the fact that they are licensed as a real estate agents in the state of Georgia, but it’s like asking a dentist to do open heart surgery just because the dentist is also a doctor. It does not make any sense at all.

Other items to consider when choosing candidates of Atlanta listing agents is how long have the agents been in business selling homes in the Atlanta area? In the late 1990’s in Atlanta we had only about 8500 real estate agents in our MLS systems, and by 2006 it swelled to over 45,000 agents. We now have over 30,000 real estate agents in the Metro Atlanta area. The reason it is still so high is that job prospects are not so good just yet. With that said, the problem is that most of those real estate agents only do 1 deal a year. Most cannot even afford to belong to the local Realtor organizations. Many work a full time job and it is not real estate.

You need to ask yourself, “Why would someone work a full time job other than real estate?” It’s because they are not making enough to support themselves, and if they cannot earn enough to sustain themselves, how can market your home?

Fast forward to today’s real estate market in Atlanta. In a post-recession world there are many new issues that real estate agents must be aware of when selling a home. Change in real estate is a constant in our industry. On an average day an Atlanta listing agent needs to know and understand recent real estate contract changes, changes in state and federal law pertaining to real estate, ever changing lending requirements, updates in property disclosures, how to deal with inspection issues, and what to do for low appraisals. They need to have that knowledge upfront and not second guess it, because as a listing agent it is your money they are playing with.

Simply put, if you want the best price when selling a home in Atlanta, then you need to find the best listing agent possible. You need to ask for real information and statistics that are pertinent to the sale of your home. National statistics may be find for trends, but as a home seller you need pertinent information and reports customized to the property you are planning to sell. I've compiled a small partial list of preliminary questions that every homeowner should know before listing their home. These are questions pertain to your immediate needs.

Answers Needed from Atlanta Listing Agent

  • Recent Neighborhood and Local Statistics
  • What are the Active Homes in Your Neighborhood You Will Be Competing Against?
  • How Long Have Those Homes Been on Market?
  • How Many of Those Homes have Already Had Price Reductions?
  • Recent Similar Homes Sales in Your Neighborhood within 6 months?
  • How Long were They on the Market – Total Time History Including with Other Agents
  • What Did Those Homes Originally List for?
  • What Did Those Homes Finally Sell for?
  • What Contributions Did the Sellers Make to the Buyers in Closing Costs?
  • What was the Condition of that Property Compared to Yours?
  • Was the Home built by the Same Builder?
  • Is the Home Similar to Yours? Construction, Basement, Pools, Granite Counters etc.?
  • What Upgrades and Updates Did the Home Have Compared to Your Home?
  • What is the Local Absorption Rate (Months of Inventory) for Homes Similar to Yours?
  • How Will You Market My Home?
  • What are the Best Strategies for Selling My Home?
  • What is the Best Price for My Home Given the Current Condition of Home and Market?
  • How Can I Improve My Sales Price?
  • Can You Offer Suggestions to Improve My Chances of Selling My Home?
  • What Experience Do You Have as A Listing Agent? How Long?
  • Will You Be Personally Selling My Home or Passing Me Off to A Team?
  • Do You Work Restricted Hours?
  • Are Your A Realtor?
  • Is Real Estate Your Only Full Time Job?
  • If I am Not Satisfied with Your Services Can We Cancel the Listing Agreement?


Submitted by Arden (not verified) on
How do I go about finding a good listing agent in my region? Do I just search online and contact them? But how do I know who is more experienced and can really sell my house in a timely fashion? Thank you Jim.

Well since most homes are sold online these days, the Internet may be a good place to start your search. Then you have to sit down face to face and talk business with many of the questions that are mentioned above. Do a Q &A. If they are not informed...NEXT AGENT!

Submitted by 40Something (not verified) on
Jim are there any particular questions one should ask a listing agent when he or she finds an agent online in order to determine the expertise of the agent?

Great question! Yes there are some starting points for questions when interviewing potential listing agents. The first ones that comes to my mind if I were selling my own home are: 1. Will you be selling and marketing my home or are you part of a team? 2. Are you a Realtor? 3. Given the current state of my home and nearby comps, what price do you think my home should be listed at? Why? 4. Is this your full time job? 5. What is your marketing plan to sell my home? 6. Do you currently have any buyers available? 7. Personal websites? Internet marketing? Media, Flyers…I would want to see some samples of their marketing. 8. Testimonials from past clients? Etc…. The reason why I ask if they will personally be marketing my home if I were selling is accountability. Teams may be good for the agents, but my experience shows me there is less accountability when things go wrong or something gets overlooked. The reason I would ask if he agent is a Realtor is simple - has that agent made a personal commitment to ethics and professional accountability?

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