Top Ten Tips: Selecting the Best Seller's/Listing Agent

By Wendy Carpenter-Israel

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Choosing the best Realtor to market and negotiate the sale of your home or condo is one of the most important decisions when you are ready to sell your home in Washington, DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland. Selling a home should be like any other important business transaction, but unfortunately many Sellers make impulsive and emotional decisions that inevitably cost them loads of frustration, time and tons of money.

When past clients of Buyer’s Edge (Buyer Brokerage Real Estate Company) are ready to sell their home, they often give us a call. They ask about the current housing market conditions, how to sell a home and whom they should hire to help sell their property. They know our exclusive buyers agents never act as seller's/listing agents, since we choose to represent homebuyers 100% of the time. But our past clients still ask our advice, knowing that we work day-in-and-day-out with some of the best seller’s agents in DC, MD, VA. As a result, we know which listing agents are the most professional and work the hardest for their seller clients. Here are the Buyer's Edge:

Top Tips for Selecting a Great Seller’s/Listing Agent.


1. Interview a minimum of three listing real estate agents. 

Okay, so this one’s obvious, but it’s remarkable how many people tell themselves they will comparison shop agents and then don’t. It is vitally important to get pricing quotes and a marketing plan from several listing agents (and make sure they’re from different companies). This will minimize “group think” pricing that may occur when a pack of agents from one office come through the house or condo to help the listing agent price the property. The goal of having a group of agents give their recommendations for price is to get a realistic listing price for the property. However, many times if an experienced agent recommends one price the other agents often will just follow along with the pack.  Interviewing a number of agents also will help you spot low-ball pricing by agents who already have buyers for your property in their back pocket. Most importantly, before interviewing agents, don’t forget to do your pricing homework. Look up recent property sales in your neighborhood with web sites like and You also are more than welcome to call the Buyer’s Edge and we will be happy to provide you with current and reliable home sales data in Maryland, Virginia and DC.

2. Choose a Washington, DC real estate listing agent who is an experienced, full-time professional. 

Listing agents don’t have to have decades of experience to be good at their jobs. However, they need enough experience to guide you through today’s complicated home-selling process in which contracts run to more than 50 pages and hazards abound for seller’s who are not well represented. A good seller’s agent will keep you out of hot water, and, in a multiple bidding war, recognize what is truly the best offer on the table. Often times the highest offer is not, in fact, the “best deal” in the long, or even medium, run.

3. Choose an Realtor who is a tech-savvy marketer. 

When you interview listing agents agent find out how they plan to market your property. A good listing agent will be gifted at staging homes and creating compelling virtual tours. Ask to see examples of tours and brochures. They should be of the highest quality, with photographs shot by professionals. Ask also how they plan to make use of social media. Do they tweet out newly-listed homes? To how many followers? Do they have a personal website or an active FaceBook page, Instagram account? 

4. Be wary of real estate agents who promote the fact that a large proportion of the properties they list are sold “in house.” 

An “in house” sale is one in which real estate agents from a single company represent both the buyer and seller of a house. Such “dual agency” sales generally are not in the best interests of either party. Why? Think about it: If you were being sued by an individual represented by a big law firm in town, would you hire for your defense a lawyer who worked for the same firm? Of course you wouldn’t. And, in fact, in the real world, law firms can’t do that. But in the crazy world of real estate, dual agency deals are still perfectly legal in most states. Indeed, traditional real estate companies like them so much (the entire sales commission stays in house), many offer their agents bonuses for dual agency deals.

5. Consider working with a listing agent who works for a small real estate company.

Big companies with battalions of agents naturally end up doing more dual agency transactions. At the Buyer’s Edge we recommend that sellers always ask prospective listing agents a few key questions: What happens if you or another agent in your company finds a buyer for my home? How do you protect my best interests?  And do you or the buyer's agent receive a bonus if the buyer for my home is working with an agent from your company?

6. Be leery of listing agents who say they’ll sell your home without listing it in the Multiple List Service.

“Save yourself the hassle, inconvenience and dangers of having strangers in your home,” says the listing agent. But whose interests are really served in this situation?  Not yours if you’re looking for the most qualified buyer and the highest sales price. You want all qualified buyers out there to have the opportunity to see your home, and so possibly bid on it. If you’re uncomfortable with a lot of the foot traffic through your home, tell the listing agent not to host “open houses.” The overwhelming majority of house sales don’t start with an open house anyway.

7. Choose an agent who is a hard-nosed negotiator. 

Good listing agents have an excellent reputation in the real estate community and work for respected companies. They love what they do. They are professional and nice, but also tough negotiators, who work hard to sell their clients’ homes on the best possible terms.

8. Don’t favor “neighborhood specialists” over outside listing agents. 

In fact, an agent who hasn't sold a lot of properties in a neighborhood may do a better job for you than an agent who specializes in your community. Outsiders may be more motivated to get the highest price: They have no conflicts about which of several listings to promote with a potential buyer and no neighbors to please. Yes, it’s important for sellers to understand the factors affecting home values in their community. But experienced, first-rate listing agents can and will do the research needed to dig out that information before putting your home on the market.

9.  Work with an accessible agent.

Too often a listing agent will tell sellers not to expect instant callbacks because the agent, too, “has a life.” For most people, however, selling a home is one of the most important and daunting financial transactions of their lives. So, if, for no other reason than this one, listing agents should be accessible 24/7. If you need another reason, though, consider that if your agent responds quickly to you, she’s likely doing the same with agents working with potential buyers. So be sure to ask prospective listing agents when and how (text, email, office or cell phone?) you can contact them. If the answer isn't 24/7, you may want to move on to the next candidate.

10. Work with a listing agent who has a history of pushing up the market price of properties.

Sellers should work with seller’s agent that has a pulse on the current real estate market conditions. This is not the same as pricing a property low and having the negotiated sales price go way up in a multiple contract bidding war if you're lucky.  An excellent listing agent has a history and motivation to consistently raise the bar on the homes and condominiums that they list for sale. 

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on April 12, 2013. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 



Happy Valentine's Day - Love the Colors of the World

By Wendy Carpenter-Israel 

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 At Buyer's Edge, We Simply Love What We Do


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the Way Consumers Buy Homes

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Get Ready for Winter! Here're the Top 5 Fall Home Maintenance Tips from Stephen Mercer|Buyer's Edge

Top 5 Tips - Fall Home Maintenance "To Do" Checklist

By Stephen Mercer, Exclusive Buyer's Agent with Buyer's Edge DC, MD, VA

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Probably the most important system heading into winter. Have a HVAC company check or tweak your system $50 - $100. You can change air filters every couple of months or longer with better quality filters.  If your HVAC includes a built-in dehumidifier make sure you or the service contractor changes that one as well. Radiant heat-radiators will have a circulating pump attached to the furnace- find the tiny oil cap and drop 10-15 drops of (3 in1 oil) to keep bearings lubricated. 

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Outdoor Faucets:  

Remove all garden hoses from outdoor faucets to stop water trapped within from freezing and causing an interior leak.  Extra precaution would be to turn off any shut-off valves feeding those exterior faucets.

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Meet Stephen Mercer, Exclusive Buyer's Agent with Buyer's Edge Buyer Brokerage DC, MD, VA

Lawn Mower:  

Store indoors for the winter if possible.  If you have a gas mower it is preferable to empty the gas.  If you can’t - add engine stabilizer to the remaining fuel in the tank and run for a few minutes to let the stabilizer reach the carburetor.  This will certainly help to get the mower to start come spring.

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Roof & Chimney:  

You may be able to evaluate the roof condition with binoculars from the ground.   You are looking for loose or missing shingles- they should be replaced immediately.   The crown at the top of the chimney should be intact and angled away from flue liner (orange) The chimney cap prevents birds and critters from making a home In your chimney- check it is clear of nesting birds.

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Ensure gutters are free of leaves and gunk as this will help prevent overflowing gutters during downpours – in freezing temperatures it will also help prevent ice damming- which occurs when gutters can’t drain and the standing water freezes- if the ice/snow is then allowed to build up it may make its way under the roof shingles causing damage to the interior once that ice melts. Check to see if your downspouts discharge water at least 6-8 feet away from your foundation - if not, add black pipe extensions and make sure the pipe flows downhill and away from the property.

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What's Important to Buyer's Edge Clients When Selecting an Agent?

What's Important to Our Clients When Selecting an Agent?

In an effort to continue to provide leading Exclusive Buyer Brokerage Services, Buyer's Edge conducted a survey of our clients in 2017. Though our objective was to find out what we were doing right and how we could better serve our clients, it also provided our team with insight into what qualities matter most to homebuyers when picking an agent.

So what did we learn?

When selecting an agent, key factors for our clients were:

  • Finding an agent they could trust to protect their interests...
  • ...that had deep knowledge of the home buying and negotiation process...
  • ...who was well positioned to offer them deep local knowledge...
  • ...and responsive client service

98% Client Satisfaction

In 2017, we were pleased to learn that 98% of our clients surveyed were satisfied with their home buying experience.

Moreover, we found that Buyer’s Edge's Net Promoter Score of 94...

...was on par with some of the world’s leading brands...

...and far above real estate averages 

See here for more info on Net Promoter Score (NPS).

OWN Buyer's Edge Real estate DC, MD, VA NPS Score vs. Benchmarks

What does this mean for our Exclusive Buyer's Agent Model? 

EBA status wasn't the first thing our clients considered... However, our unbiased representation allows us to better protect our clients' interests.

In particular, our clients cited: 

  • Our team’s expertise, style, and responsiveness...
  • ...and that exclusivity helped foster a relationship of trust

We also learned that our buyer-centric philosophy boosts our clients’ confidence in recommending us to friends, family, and co-workers going forward. Greater than 75% of our clients in the past 2-3 years have recommended us two or more times.

Ultimately, the Buyer’s Edge experience is about loyal, friendly & responsive representation and education that helps our clients “find the right home." We love what we do every day because of clients like you. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Or check out the full

Buyer’s Edge Home Buying Process & Client Feedback Survey here.

#1 Best Kept Secret for Selling Your Home Fast

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Every day houses for sale in the Washington, DC metro area and Baltimore, MD region are imputed into MLS online. Preparing a home for sale in VA, DC, MD can be a momentous task both for sellers and listing agents, especially if they want to make it picture perfect. After all, home sellers and their listing agent’s objective is to get the highest price at the best possible terms for the property. As the listing agent and listing broker, they have a contractual fiduciary relationship with their seller/clients.

There’s a lot of information written about all the prep work that needs to be completed before a home hits the market. Most sellers paint their homes inside and out, replace tired carpet and wash windows until they sparkle. They plant flowers outside and spruce up the exterior curb appeal. Closets and kitchen drawers are cleaned, de-cluttered and downsized. Sterling silver candlesticks, heirloom jewelry, expensive china figurines and personal photos of Great Aunt Frinks are put away.  Lastly, many homes are staged to give them that glamorous, generic look that seems to really “trick” homebuyers according to numerous studies.

As Exclusive Buyer’s Agents, we don’t let our homebuyers get “tricked” by staging. However, we do know what items are deal busters for many of buyers in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. 

Here’s the #1 Best Kept Secret for Selling your Home Fast That is Often Overlooked by Listing Agents and Sellers in DC, MD, VA.

#1 Hire a Professional to Wash the Roof

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Sellers shampoo carpets and power wash decks before their house is put on the real estate market, so why do so many sellers fail to wash their roofs Don’t do it!  It’s so easy and it actually works. If your roof is dirty don’t throw away money because it looks like it is on its last legs. Homebuyers are fixated with the condition of a home’s roof, since it ‘s such a big-ticket item.

A home inspector will give homebuyers the actual lowdown on the roof condition, but don’t let a dirty roof discourage qualified buyers from making offers. If sellers make the roof look fresh and new, it’s one less thing buyers have to do when they move in. It’s a win-win for everyone. It doesn’t cost sellers that much and it adds to the total “dream house package.”

Cleaning the roof before resale is clearly a no-brainer. Victor Fedoseyev with explains, “The results are simply amazing for most homeowners. Customers find that our eco-friendly, biodegradable roof cleaning removes ugly stains caused by algae, lichen, moss and fungus.”

I love these Before and After Photos, don't you?

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Do you want to sell your home fast?

Now you tell me sellers, which house would you like to buy?

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6 Key Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Renovate? Are you a Fixer Upper or a Turnkey Homebuyer in the Washington, DC Metro Area?

6 Key Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Renovate? Are you a Fixer Upper or a Turnkey Homebuyer in the Washington, DC Metro Area?

6 Key Real Estate Questions Every Homebuyer Should Ask Before They Do a Home Renovation? Are you a Fixer Upper or a Turnkey Buyer in the Washington, DC Metro Area? Exclusive Buyer Agents with Buyer's Edge DC, MD, VA help homebuyers make good choices.

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Happy Earth Day! - 23 Incredible Sunrise|Sunset Photos to Remind You Just How Lucky We Are to Live On This Planet

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Happy Earth Day. We live on a beautiful planet. Sometimes it's nice to be reminded of that during the home and condo buying process in the Washington, DC metro area. With the hot, Spring real estate market in full swing, homebuyers find themselves running all over town looking at new real estate listings in DC, MD, VA with their exclusive buyer's agent. They frantically wonder, "Will we ever find our dream home? Will we ever win a multiple bidding war at our price point? Will we live in Arlington, VA, Bethesda, MD or Logan Circle, DC?  Will I still want to live with my partner after this process?"

Photograph by Washington, DC Photographer: Monica Sawyer

Photograph by Washington, DC Photographer: Monica Sawyer


Yikes! Time to take a deep breath and remember that there will be other homes and other condos to call your dream home, if this is not the time or the place for you. It's better to take you time and purchase a home that is at the best possible terms and price. Buyer's Edge is in your corner and we have your back. Exclusive buyer agents and their broker choose to work for homebuyers 100% of the time. One focus, one vision and persistent determination for homebuyers in DC, MD, VA. No dual agents and no sellers. No conflicts of interest. What a concept.

Yes, it's a beautiful world - from sunrise to sunset.

 Search for Active Real Estate Listings and SOLD Listing Data Now.

Or call Stephen Carpenter-Israel, President and Exclusive Buyer's Broker of Buyer's Edge in VA, DC, MD.