Seller's Guide

Think you’re ready to go steady? Before you sign with a broker, learn what you’re getting yourself into.

How often will we be in touch?

When you’re enlisting the assistance of an agent to sell your apartment—and signing a contract of exclusivity with her—it’s essential to have a good feeling about the relationship. After all, you will be spending plenty of time working together over the next few months, and there may be moments of stress now and then. How do you know if an agent is the right person to sell your home? Do a little detective work, and ask a few pointed questions, before you sign on the dotted line. Above all, finding an agent whose personal and professional values align with yours is the real secret to success.

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Do you have a lot of listings?

The answer to this one is open to a bit of interpretation: Lots of listings can suggest a genuine powerhouse of an agent who gets results fast, or a juggling minimalist who’ll do just enough for each client to keep the lights on. Very few listings can suggest either a meticulous agent who’ll devote himself to your sale, or a greenhorn who’ll hurry things along to get the commission.

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What to Ask a Prospective Seller’s Agent

This is no time to be coy. Ask your agent about her communication style, and if the answer doesn’t suggest the required degree of attentiveness, keep looking. You can reasonably expect weekly status calls and emails, and a careful debriefing after each showing and open house.

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How will you fight for me?

Yes, there may be fighting. Of course, look for an agent who promises a bold negotiation style and pledges without prompting to push for the best terms and conditions for you. But don’t be shy about requesting proof, either by chatting with a former client or simply requesting a few war stories. If an agent can’t effortlessly recall occasions when she fought for a client’s interests and won, you may want keep looking.

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What’s your marketing plan?

In exchange for exclusivity, your agent needs to create a comprehensive marketing plan for your apartment, one that includes advertising, online listings, and a calendar of open houses—both for prospective buyers and for other
brokers. And in markets that are unusually competitive (like New York City), don’t be afraid to turn up the heat.

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What else will you do for me?

It’s the little things that matter, and an agent who makes a big deal of your apartment on social media or makes time to, say, attend your home inspection—and gather feedback from the inspector—may be a keeper.

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