The Listing Agent's Job is Not to Sell Your Home. A listing agent is responsible to get it sold.

When you bought your home, you probably used the services of a real estate agent. You found that agent through a referral from a friend or family member, or through some sort of advertising or marketing. The agent helped you in many ways and eventually you found the house of your dreams, made an offer, closed the deal, and moved in.

For whatever reason, now it is time to sell your home and you need a real estate agent again. Many home sellers, especially those selling their first home, tend to think all agents are similar to the one that helped them buy their home.

Although real estate agents can (and do) work with both buyers and sellers, most tend to concentrate more on one than the other. They specialize. When you bought your home, you probably worked with a "selling agent" – an agent that works mostly with buyers. Because of the nature of real estate advertising and marketing, the public’s main image of the real estate profession is that of the selling agent.

It's not that difficult once you know a few simple rules. Here are protocols you can use while shopping for a home that will keep you out of hot water:

1. Understand Agents Work on Commission
   Very few real estate agents work on salary.
   Most real estate agents are paid commission. If an agent does not close a transaction, she does not get paid.
   Agents are not public servants and do not work for free. Do not ask an agent to work for you if you intend to cut the agent out of your deal.

2. Keep Appointments & Be On Time
    Be respectful, use common courtesy and don't expect an agent to drop what she is doing to run out to show you a home. You are probably not that agent's only prospect / client. And if you are, lord help you.
    Do not make an appointment with an agent and then forget to show up.
    If you are going to be late, call and let your agent know when you expect to arrive.

3. Choose A Real Estate Agent
    Decide whether you want to work without representation: dealing directly with listing agents, or if you want to hire your own agent.
    If you decide to hire your own agent, interview agents to find an agent with whom you are comfortable.
    If you are interviewing agents, let each agent know you are in the interview stage.
    Never, never, never interview two different agents from the same company. Trust me, don't do it.

4. Do Not Call The Listing Agent if You Are Working With a Buying Agent
    Listing agents work for the seller, not the buyer. If you hire the listing agent to represent you, that agent will now be working under dual agency.
    If listing agents show you the property, the listing agent will expect to represent you.
    Listing agents do not want to do the buying agent's job. Let your buyer's agent do her job.

5. Practice Open House Protocol
    Ask your agent if it's considered proper for you to attend open houses alone. In some areas, it is frowned upon to go to open houses unescorted.
    Hand your agent's business card to the agent hosting the open house. Sometimes this agent will be the listing agent, but often it is an agent also looking for unrepresented buyers. Announcing you are represented protects you.
    Do not ask the open house host questions about the seller or the seller's motivation. Let your agent ask those questions for you.

6. Always Ask For and Sign an Agency Agreement
    By law, agents are required to give buyers an Agency Disclosure.
    Signing an agency disclosure is your proof of receipt. It is solely a disclosure. It is not an agreement to agency. Read it.
    The best and most practiced type of agency is the single agency. This mean you are represented by your own agent who owes you a fiduciary responsibility.

7. Make Your Expectations Known
    If you expect your agent to pick you up at your front door and drive you home after showing homes, tell her. Many will provide that service. If not, they will ask you to meet at the office.
    Let your agent know how you want her to communicate with you and how often. Do you want phone calls, e-mails, text messages, IM's or all of the above?
    Set realistic goals and a time frame to find your home. Ask your agent how you can help by supplying feedback.
    If you are displeased, say so.


1. - Rules for Working With Agents
2. - My Job as a Listing Agent