Selling Soulfully with Jennifer Allan


Nine Attributes of an Exceptional Real Estate Agent

Before Christmas I posted a blog about a show we did in the SWS Virtual Studio called "Are You the Best Real Estate Agent You Know?" In that blog, I described three reasons you might WANT to BE the best agent you know, and promised to continue the conversation with some concrete attributes or characteristics that someone who IS the best agent they know might possess.

So, 'cause I usually keep my promises, below are nine attributes (skills, services and masteries) of what an agent I'd be excited to hire to represent me should bring to the table:

1. Market Mastery - the agent understands the nuances of the local real estate market - at least the segmentNeighborhood of it that affects ME!

2. MLS Mastery
- the agent is intimately familiar with the MLS and therefore makes pricing recommendations based on data that is complete, relevant and accurate.

contract3. Contract (and Disclosure) Mastery
- the agent understands and can explain each and every provision in the contracts and disclosures I'll be asked to sign, and ensures that I understand how each provision affects me.

4. Pricing Expertise
- related to #1, the agent understands the nuances of the specific market area(s) that I'm buying or selling in, and how various features and amenities (or lack thereof) affect the market value of the properties there.

5. Photography Skills
(or willingness to hire a photographer) - the agent understands the importance of having great photos online and is willing to invest the time and money to either take great photos him or herself, or hire someone to do it.

6. Basic Understanding of Home Construction, Repair and Local Architecture
- while I don't expect my agent to be a licensed contractor, I do expect them to understand basic issues of home construction and repair so they can speak intelligently to me about issues that may arise during our transaction. This knowledge will enhance their credibility with me tremendously.

7. Good Problem-Solving and Negotiating Skills
- the agent doesn't fall apart and go all drama-queen (or king) on me when the going gets a little rocky. They stay calm and focused, and tackle the problem head-on. They are skilled, confident negotiators.

8. A Great Team -
the agent has a great team. If I need a referral to the best lender, inspector, handyman, house-cleaner, structural contractor, roofer or painter in town, my agent knows who that is and will set me up.

9. Great Systems in Place to Track Transactions 
- the agent has detailed checklists and follow-ups in place so that things don't slip through the cracks or get forgotten when they get busy or distracted.

So, whatcha' think? Do these sound like the characteristics of an agent you'd hire to take care of your real estate transaction? Any others you'd like to add... or any of these you don't think belong on the list?

If you'd like to participate in a survey I'm doing on the matter, just go here: and tell us what YOU think!


It's Here!


The More Fun You Have Selling Real Estate, the More Real Estate You Will Sell! 
(True Story)
Order Your Here!









Comment balloon 130 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • December 28 2011 08:55AM


#4 is often difficult because we deal with people who are emotionally attached to their home and thus value it higher than the actual market.  Being willing to lose a listing when they won't price it realistically will save you many headaches later

Posted by Ann Gioe, CRP, GMS, Central and Southern Indiana Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Indiana Realty) over 8 years ago

A heaty amen to #%- make sure agent either can take great pictures or will hire someone to do so.  Buyers will completely ignore a home with a limited quantity and/or poor quality pictures.

I think this is a great list!!   I think I would add- Great Communication Skills - communicates in a manner and in a frequency that keeps me in the loop at all times.



Posted by Leigh Anne Monk (Equity Rise Real Estate Group/Keller Williams/Chantilly, VA) over 8 years ago

Top 2 are very important that will help you eliminate time and energy while dealing with unrealistic buyers/seller. Love the blog!!

Posted by Ritu Desai, Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949 (Samson Properties) over 8 years ago

Ann, I think you hit #4 spot on.  The fact that you're willing to walk away from an over priced listing means you have become a pricing expert!

One of the first assignments my Broker gave me when I got into the business was to become a master of the market.  I picked the MLS areas I would focus in and studied them up and down, visited open houses, drove around neighborhoods and studied the data in our MLS software.  It's definitely made me a better agent.

Posted by Gene Donohue, Flat Fee Service...Exceptional Results! (Only Way Realty / over 8 years ago

It is amazing how many agents work by the seat of their pants and still get a lot of business. Two months later the price gets to where your CMA showed it (if not several thousand below to account for the declining market) and then it sells.

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) over 8 years ago

Great list of things that we must know.  It seems this past year when a deal is going bad, it's always the other agent, not the client,  who is creating the drama and doesn't know his stuff.    Getting past their ego is the toughest part of the deal.

Posted by Linda Jandura, Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist (Raleigh Cary Realty) over 8 years ago

FANTASTIC LIST........too bad too many agents dont follow it/know it/get it. I would add that the real estate business is a PEOPLE business and one should have very good if not excellent people skills. should like talking to and listening to people. If not, be an auto mechanic. Clients assume you have the knowledge and skills (even if you dont) but they must feel comfortable working with you and trust that you will REPRESENT their interests. What a concept.......... If you cant change what other agents do, you can change what you do, what you know, how you do it. Jennifer is on the money and on point.

Posted by Rick John over 8 years ago

I think you covered it very well.

Posted by Ann Cordes, Home Ownership is Not a Distant Dream (Century 21 Randall Morris and Associates, Waco) over 8 years ago

Wow - 84 of y'all have responded to my survey already - that's great! Interesting results so far - and the comments are great.

Regarding what I call the "compassion" side of being exceptional - specifically, listening and communication skills - I deliberately did not include those in my list of what it means to be to be an Exceptional Agent for reasons I'll explain in an upcoming blog. But don't take that to mean I don't think it's important - it most definitely is!!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 8 years ago

Becoming a master of your market! The number one agent in my area focuses only on one community/town of 25 000 people.

Posted by Karen Salmon, Okotoks Real Estate Agent (Royal LePage Benchmark) over 8 years ago

I think  the problem is laziness, incompetentency and lack of confidence in the field - aka FEAR.

Fear needs to be overcome, and help is a great thing to have.

Then follows competence and confidence and a great sales person.

More education would help - the required is not enough to be competent or truely confident.

Mentoring is a great tool - I am using that now as I learn benefits through AFLAC - and it helps me build confidence.

Thought I was finished learning - but I am having fun and feel invigorated!

Great companies use these tools - and people who have a soul...

Posted by Dennis Helmstetter over 8 years ago

One additional item could be "reputation" combined with a good relationship with other agents in the area. I know that I periodically work in a high-end area about 30 minutes from my office. Because my office is not located in that area and because I don't do a tremendous amount of work there, I've found it very difficult to get accepted offers, or even a friendly nod from agents that focus on that area as their primary business. And yet, in the areas in which I work most frequently, there's never a problem. Some areas are just closed doors to outside agents ...

Other than that, I think your list is "spot on!" (as my British client likes to say ...)


Posted by Gabrielle Nemes, 206.300.8421, S King & Pierce County RE Advocate (RE/MAX Realty South) over 8 years ago

Hi Jennifer!  You've compiled a great list here and I agree wholeheartedly with each and every point.  The one that has taken rein this year is being able to problem solve.  We seem to have more and more fires to put out these days on both sides of nearly each and every transaction and if you're not masterful at quickly resolving the problem at hand, you can easily let a transaction slip right through your fingers.  It's something that we could write a book on from 2011 experiences!

Happy New Year!  

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 8 years ago

#3 and #5 are pet-peeves of mine. I can't believe the number of agents I do business with who don't read or understand contracts. And I cannot beleeeeeve the number of horrible photographs of client's homes out there!

Posted by Sibley Poland, 15 Years of Professional Experience (RE/MAX Stars Realty) over 8 years ago

Great list Jennifer! I would want the same from my real estate agent. A few years ago I bought a house, and was so unsure about it I almost backed out. Luckily, my Realtor (and sister, Kristine) walked me through the sale. It turned out to be a great investment, thanks to my Realtor.

Happy New Year,


Posted by Kim & Kristine Halverson, Sisters, Realtors (Compass) over 8 years ago

I especially like #5.  This does not mean having the ability to point your iPhone camera out the window of your moving car as you drive by your new listing.  Great list Jennifer.

Posted by Rich Cederberg, eXp Realty Agent Albuquerque (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago

Good list. I hope you have success, especially with #4, as that is one of the big reasons I NEVER take listings. Too many sellers just don't get it!

Posted by Jon Quist, Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996 (REALTY EXECUTIVES ARIZONA TERRITORY) over 8 years ago

Jennifer: That's a great list. In my book being a loan officer, the #1 attributes a realtor can bring to the table are professionalism and knowledge of our industry. That and a sincere humility about how much they may know. Thanks for the post!

Posted by Paul McFadden, Pest Control, Seattle, WA. (Paratex) over 8 years ago

That's very good Jennifer. I like this. I'm passing it on to a junior realtor in training.

I would like to add to your list the mastery of basic business principles in math, accounting & finance, marketing, economics and English literature.

Posted by Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR, Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations (West USA Realty) over 8 years ago

It's the systems that I really need to re-focus on. This is right at the top of my list for things to do in 2012. Thanks for the reminder!

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) over 8 years ago

Great list of skills all agents should work on to make each the best agent she can be. There are so many sub-standard agents out there who just don't take the job as seriously as they should. There are many great agents, too, and they have the above.


Posted by Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate, Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs (Kelly Right Real Estate) over 8 years ago

This is a great list and one I will strive to master! Happy New Years and thanks for sharing!

Posted by Andrea Lueth, REALTOR - Sugar Land Texas Homes for Sale (The Real Estate Experts) over 8 years ago

Good list and I am happy to say I can claim them all.  :)  I am so with you on doing without drama.  Great post!  Thanks,

Posted by Joy Daniels (Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd.) over 8 years ago

Great list.  Might want to be careful with #3 and always remain the real estate agent, and not an attorney.  I would also want an agent who treats other agents with respect and courteousness, even (especially) during negotiations.  Effective negotiations happen best when courteous, not by trying to play the tough guy.

Posted by R.E. Renée Hoover, Salesperson, Poconos, Pike, Wayne, Monroe Counties, PA; PA/NYS (Century 21 Geba Realty, Milford, PA; Licensed in PA & NYS) over 8 years ago

Great list Jennifer!  However, I am still amazed at how many agents have yet to master #3.

Posted by Lisa Dunham, Associate Broker, Alexandria Virginia Real Estate over 8 years ago

#8 really helped my buyer today. One of my "team" came through and really made the difference. Buyer was really grateful! Good list and I'm in on the Exceptional Agent Program!

Posted by Bob Sooy (Realty World Northeast LLC) over 8 years ago

What a great list, Jennifer!  I still need a few more people on my "team" (i.e. a good roofer and a back-up handyman).  

Also excited to learn more about the Exceptional Agent Program...

Posted by Kerry Lucasse, Your Urban Nest Atlanta Real Estate Consultant (eXp Realty - Urban Nest Real Estate Group) over 8 years ago


Congrats on the feature.

This is a well complied list. Numbers 2, 4 and 5 are all essential ingredients to a successful sale.

All the best for 2012!

Posted by Digital Digital, full service over 8 years ago

I would add a 10th: Empahty with the client. In this day and age we aren't cashing people out with six figures anymore with regularity- quite the opposite- I feel like a grief counselor sometimes, and that is where I earn my stripes with some clients. 

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) over 8 years ago

Hi Jennifer, that is a great message for all the agents to see and let sink into their thoughts for the start of 2012.

Posted by Steve Warrene, Pittsburgh Real Estate Investment Specialists (Your Town Realty) over 8 years ago

Jennifer, this is a great list of attributes and a great marketing tool for your tool box.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) over 8 years ago

Those are definitely some important attributes for any successful Realtor.

Good post, thanks for sharing it.

Posted by Anthony Daniels, SF Bay Area REO Specialist (Coldwell Banker) over 8 years ago

Great post. Agents need to take their career seriously and study their trade. Take the time to invest in education and maybe coaching and you can be a great agent. Well done!

Posted by Demarco & Marisa, "The Choice is Clear!" (Remax Kings Realty) over 8 years ago

Great list for 'the Exceptional Agent'.  I'll need to check that website, I'm guessing a new book?

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 8 years ago

This is a great list and should be read by all agents. Congratulations on the feature.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 8 years ago

You've got the list well covered, but like J. Philip, I'd add that 10th item that addresses "Personal Skills" that would encompass empathy, patience, listening and flexibility.  We are dealing with some very emotional clients these days and all the logic, market knowledge, technical knowledge etc. doesn't come into play when a client decides to vent, cry etc. Then you have to take a step back and rely on people/personal skills. Thanks for keeping your promise!

Posted by Charlie Dresen, Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro (Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty) over 8 years ago

Thanks you all for your comments and support. This list has been a long time in the making - but as the Exceptional Agent Project gears up, I really wanted to get it down on paper what EXACTLY makes an agent great (and no, it's certainly NOT prospecting prowess!).

Let me explain why I didn't include "people skills" (communication, empathy, listening, etc.) on The List. I'll probably elaborate on this in a follow-up blog, but for now... here's the deal.

Prior to doing the show I mentioned above ("Are You the Best Agent You Know?") I did a survey of my readers as to what, specifically, they felt made an agent exceptional.

The responses poured in and were overwhelming about "people skills," or what I'm calling "compassion factors."  Empathy, listening, patience, good communication, etc. VERY few, relatively speaking, mentioned any of the 9 items on my list - which I call "competence factors."

While I was pleased that so many recognized the benefits of being compassionate in our work (considering so much of our training advises being anything but!), I was a bit dismayed that so few recognized that COMPETENCE is just as or probably far more important. If I HAD to choose between an agent who has all of the attributes listed above, but wasn't compassionate, and one who is a charming, compassionate people person, but has no grasp of how to competently manage a real estate transaction, I'll pick competence over compassionate all day long.

Here's what I see as the problem, and why I'm making the distinction here...(and why the Exceptional Agent Project came to be)...

I believe that we, within the industry, have downplayed the importance of competence to the point where our own practitioners don't realize how much they can bring the table ASIDE from a great personality! Many agents seem to feel that success has very little to do with their knowledge and expertise, and everything to do with whether or not they are likeable. That our actual SERVICE is a commodity - that every real estate practitioner offers pretty much the same package, so to stand out in the crowd, you have to "compete" either on price or personality.

But that's SO not true. While a great personality can open a lot of doors, it's not going to get the job DONE - that's where competence comes in. And how many of us have been disappointed when we've hired someone (real estate or otherwise) to help us/serve us/represent us because they were charming and later realized they had no clue what they were doing? I know I have... ESPECIALLY in my real estate dealings.

So, to wind up this way-too-long comment... YES... the compassion factors are important, but without the competence factors, it's not nearly enough.



Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 8 years ago

Oh Lord yes a great list. I would add a simple comment, face to face time or at the very least voice time if the client is out of country or out of town. And that works also with agents with whom we are dealing. We are relying too much on gadgets and technoligy and forgetting that it is important to establish direct personal contact. It is the easiest way to prevent potential problems. If clients wanted to deal only with machines, text messages and e-mails they would hire robots.

Posted by Gloria Marina over 8 years ago

...and I especially like the unique way you describe each of these attributes! THX for this great post.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 8 years ago

Excellent list - and I do agree that fundamental compentence is often down played in this business.

Posted by Jeanne Dufort, Madison and Lake Oconee GA (Coldwell Banker Lake Country) over 8 years ago

Great list Jennifer.  I did participate in the questionnaire and I thought it was spot on.  Really made me think about my own way of how I am doing business.  I think we can all admit that we may be lacking in one area or another.  Thanks for bringing it to the attention of all.

I look forward to being a part of the Exceptional Agent Group.  And for those of you that have not already done so, I highly recommend Jennifer's books, Sell With Soul, Prospecting With Soul and If You're Not Having Fun Selling Real Estate, You're Not Doing It Right. All great reads!

Congrats on your featured post and keep up the great work and for putting integrity back into the world of real estate.

Posted by Linda S. Cefalu, Broker Assoc., I'll Take You Home (Coldwell Banker Homesale Realty) over 8 years ago

Well done!  Read this yesterday, but TODAY you are a featured Blog in the AR Daily Drop!  Congrats.

I teach all these things, and I agree with your assessment of people skills.  Acccording to Judy LaDeur, 70% of residential agents are emotional decision makers (our industry attracts emotional people) so they already have great skills working with people.  What must be learned seems to be the 9 attributes you list.

Well written, and I'll continue to teach my agents the 9!

Posted by Greg Fox, Techy Broker in Wichita Kansas (Realty World Wichita) over 8 years ago

It was a pleasure reading your list, and serves as a great reminder of what I am trying to master every day.  Unfortunately, too many buyers and sellers assume the top producers are the only ones with these skills.  I my experience, some of the highest income earners im my market lack many of these skills.

I would add to the team your local building officials who can get you through issues such as non-permitted structures, failed or inadequate septic systems, water rights, etc.  Rural properties present a host of additional issues.  I my strong buyers market, properties with "defects" are often passed over when the fix may be as simple as a phone call to the local building department. 


Posted by Steve Earnshaw over 8 years ago

THANKS for such a GREAT List! Love to read your emails too!! Have a wonderful, magical and healthy New Year!!

Posted by Debra Parisi over 8 years ago

After 4 years as an agent and 100k in marketing dollars here's what happens.

You can be all kinds of an experrt but in the end the high producers have one thing in common.

"a great social network and work by referral only."

a referred client is ready willing and able to transact. 

My 2012 Goal. Work my sphere and work referrals.

Posted by Dale Falkowski, The Honest Agent Full Time Pro (Remax Town & Country) over 8 years ago

I completely agree with number 7. 

Posted by Ron Aguilar over 8 years ago

Excellent post. Congratulations on the feature. I will stay tuned.

Posted by Bobby LehmKuhl, Exceeding Every Clients Expectations. Every Time. (4 Malibu Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I would add "marketing mastery."  A good agent is able to do much more then just market a listing on the typical listing platforms.  I always think about trying to take 100% of the "marketing pie."  The MLS and other listing platforms get you 70% of the way there.  Creativity, experience, and a marketing budget can get you the other 30%.

I would also expand the concept of "team."  It's not just about the referrals that can be made.  It's about having at least two experienced agents on the team, showers, assistants, PR agents, etc.  


Posted by Kate Akerly, Manhattan Beach Residential Sales (Kaminsky Group) over 8 years ago

Hi, Jennifer: I came across your post yesterday, and immediately sent it to my associates, along with a link to your fine book, Sell with Soul! It's great that you stirred up plenty of nice comments!

Posted by David Dodge (Margo H. Stanley Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Great list. Some of these I master, others I need work on. Great thing for me to target at the beginning of the new year.

Posted by The Derrick Team - Indy Metro Realtors, Your Pet Friendly Realtors (Carpenter Realtors) over 8 years ago

I think this is a great list. Being a home stager, I of course, love #5 (photography). In order to get those fantastic photographs, a real estate agent could add a professional stager to his/her team to be sure that the home is prepared for sale properly and shows well. Merchandising is an important part of the process and proper home staging has historically been a very successful part of it.

Posted by Kerri over 8 years ago
Great list Jennifer. I would add something about technology. There are so many technology advances that for an agent to be exceptional I think they need to be up to date on the latest technology.
Posted by Cliff Johnson (Solid Source Realty) over 8 years ago

Great list and thanks for the reminders, we all need these reminders, daily! Selling with Soul!!!

Posted by Harcourt Bethel - REALTOR®,CDPE,ABR®,SFR,ePro®,TRC,, Harcourt Bethel, CDPE,SFR®, ABR®,ePro®, TRC, NCHSE over 8 years ago

Great List! No. 3, understanding the contract is the one I can't believe so many agents don't do well! Amazing since the contract is the legal document that makes the sale work. I would add to your team a great Escrow Company! So important to have a good escrow officer watching out for everyone's best interests!

Posted by Lori Renberg Brown over 8 years ago

Great Article!!  This is very true and a good guide to help agents improve! Thanks Jennifer!!

Posted by Chad Miller over 8 years ago

Hi Jennifer,

That is a very competent list of attributes a real estate agent needs to help their clients but also to do quality business.

I might add that presentation skills are very important and will greatly help in explaining #3 and #4 to our clients and making the whole listing and selling process go much smoother.

Thank you,


Posted by John Maygard (CIR Realty) over 8 years ago

Great post and one worthy of forwarding to newbies or those who have not changed with the times.  Thanks for your clarity.

Posted by Lesley Alward over 8 years ago

Just bookmarked so I can come back to reread. The photography one jumped out at me as I head towards learning my new Nikon !

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge over 8 years ago

This is a great list and certainly anyone wanting to be a success needs to do all these things.

I've got all of these and a few more as well.  One I'd add is "Sales skills" which includes networking, being social, and negotiating.

With respect to photography, there are times when it pays to do it yourself but most often I'll have a professional do the work.  Even with a good camera, getting the right angles can be tricky. 

Posted by Bryan Robertson over 8 years ago

Great post, as usual, Jennifer!  These items should be requirements for any agent to strive for!

Posted by Michelle Fradella-Barfuss, Author of "Top 10 Mistakes Agents Make When Market (Marketing Coach - ERA Brokers Consolidated) over 8 years ago

Hi Jennifer,

Great post and great advice.  This should be required reading for all Realtors.  This profession is just that, a profession.  Unfortunately, too many people get into real estate because they think it's an easy way to earn a living and they give all Realtors a bad name.  This really is an industry where it's buyer or seller beware. 

Referrals are the highest compliment!

Posted by The Keith Kropp and Wayne Rogers Team, Nowhere But Here (Michael Saunders & Company) over 8 years ago

This is a great list, Jennifer, but I would caution that in #3 "and ensures that I understand how each provision affects me" the only way an agent without a law degree can "ensure" is to recommend review by an attorney. While we my understand the a contractual clause, we are not (in Washington anyway) allowed to interpret it for a specific client.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 8 years ago

Also, a helmet that fits well (so when you are getting hit over the head) and a good set of boxing gloves (so when you have to take a couple of good swings), oh wait a minute, that is only for us that play in the short sale arena.

Have a good new year.

Posted by Jim Miner, Loan Modfication & Short Sale Specialist (Miner Noh & Associates) over 8 years ago

Excellent post Jennifer, sending to my new agents now. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Cory Fitzsimmmons, Realtor - Denver, CO ReThink real estate group (ReThink Real Estate Group) over 8 years ago

Hi Jennifer, Terrific list and I especially enjoyed your tease of the competence v compassion factor.  Looking forward to the other shoe dropping !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 8 years ago

Jennifer, this is fabulous!  Always #4, but #8 is great, too.  You always need to have someone to help fix the problem.

Posted by Linda K. Mayer, Realtor, SRES, SoCAL, A REALTOR YOU CAN TRUST (License # 01767321) over 8 years ago

Mastering the local market is really key to both buyers and sellers. Actually your list is the ultimate real estate agent. I am going to share the list with my team. Thanks

Posted by Linda Urbick, Selling San Ramon Valley - 925-786-5132 (RealtyOne Group) over 8 years ago

excellent blog post, I wish it was a requirement that all agents possess these skills prior to earning a real estate license.

Posted by Don Kanare, Incline Village Real Estate (RE/MAX NORTH LAKE - Incline Village, NV) over 8 years ago

Those are great. And I'm also a big fan of the follow-up --- respond to your emails, return your phone calls, get questions answered (notice I didn't say the agent has to answer the questions, just has to get them answered) ... But it would be hard not to be a good agent, if you follow all of Jennifers suggestions.

Posted by Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta (Solid Source Realty, Inc.) over 8 years ago

Jennifer, all 9 points are important. I feel #1 and #2 are critical in relationship to a Realtor business. Follow by #5. 1 and 2 we do each day, we should know and have an understanding of our market place and the effects on price. #5 is a big one. If you don't have the technical capacity to capture real estate photos or want to spend the time in improving, hire some one who will have the knowledge. 

Posted by Frank Rubi, (Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC) over 8 years ago

Love the list Jennifer. #5 is a big one for me as the quality of photography and home presentation are the foundation of the marketing program, both online and off. Next up #7...who does not always want and appreciate working with professionals who tackle problems head on. IMO the key to smooth and successful transactions.

Posted by Doug Anderson, Bay Area Real Estate Views (Tucker Associates Real Estate Services) over 8 years ago

Good check list, thank you!

Posted by Olga Simoncelli, CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management (Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate) over 8 years ago

This is the definitive script for success...thank you!

Posted by Li Read, Caring expertise...knowledge for you! (Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring)) over 8 years ago

Great list of attributes. Makes me want to re-examine things. 

Posted by Denise Watkins, Realtor Serving DC and MD (Samson Properties) over 8 years ago

I agree, you covered it pretty well! If I were in Pensacola Beach and looking for an agent, I would definitely pick you Jennifer!

Posted by Mitch Muller - Charlotte NC Real Estate, Certified Residential Specialist (ProStead Realty Charlotte, NC CRS SRES over 8 years ago

Number 10 - Pick up the screws in the parking lot!

Posted by Marjorie Taylor, New Homes in St. Augustine Florida (Riverside Homes) over 8 years ago

O I  like this list! It's great!

Posted by Mickey Kinser, CA Realtor (714) 931-3158 (ReMax Select One) over 8 years ago

I have been in the business for four years; a relatively short time in comparison to some here. I pride myself in knowing my market extremely well. I often bring up things that I know other agents do not. I was once talking to a seller about absorption rate on the telephone. Another agent overheard my conversation and asked me, "What is absorption rate?" This was not a new agent. While I do believe I am very personable, it's my competence level that my clients rely upon.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 8 years ago

How about contract negotiations, closing skills, problem solving?

Great stuff though. Happy New Year.


Carl W Jones Sr

Exit Bayshore Realty

5223 S MacDill Ave

Tampa Fl 33611




Posted by Carl W Jones Sr over 8 years ago

Great post! I agree 100%. Being "charming" should be #10 though.

Posted by Anonymous over 8 years ago

Great post!  Jennifer.  The one thing I like to add, even though it's a given, but a good reminder, is to ALWAYS put our clients interest first.  Without that, none of the above really works.  


Posted by Sylvia Barry, Marin and Sonoma Real Estate Leading Expert (Coldwell Banker Previews International (#1 Marin_Sonoma_San Francisco_North_Bay)) over 8 years ago

Simple, to the point, A+.  Just add a measure of "sense of humor" and button this list up.


Posted by Anne Edwards Johnson, Austin Realtor | HookemhomesATX (512)917-5260 (JP and Associates) over 8 years ago

Great post and a Great list of attributes. Happy New Year

Posted by Michael Deery (Citywide Financial Corp) over 8 years ago

Love all the support for the concept of being Exceptional!

Carl - See Attribute #7!

For those who have mentioned #3 being problematic (understanding and explaining contracts) - perhaps this is something that varies by state. In Colorado, we did not typically use attorneys in our transactions and as long as the provision was pre-printed (that is, we didn't add it as an additional provision), we were expected to understand it and be able to explain it. We were not supposed to add any legal language to the contract, but if it was IN the state-approved contract, it was our responsibility to understand.

I'd like to comment on Greg Fox's comment which concurs with my decision to leave "people skills" off the list - in my experience, having good people skills isn't something that is easily taught or learned, so if someone had a lousy bedside manner, so to speak, they probably won't change all that much even if they realize they should. I'm not charming at all and while I suppose I'd like to be, it's not something I feel I can change about myself without coming across as phony. However, the 9 attributes listed above CAN be learned/taught/improved upon if the person chooses to do so!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 8 years ago

Jennifer, this was a great and relevant post.   I would add that no matter how capable an agent was "yesterday", today's market is different and we must keep educating ourselves to be of the best possible service to our clients - sellers and buyers alike.  What worked well last year may not be even appropriate in today's market. I look forward to more of your posts. 

Posted by Branka Doych (Prudential Fox and Roach) over 8 years ago

That is a great list of stuff everyone should have in place.  Some of them give me a challenge, but I always feel there is room to improve.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Thanks Jennifer for a good thought out article.  Agree with it all.

Posted by Ronald S. Accornero (OC Signature Properties) over 8 years ago

The negotiating is the hardest for most agents to accomplish, I believe. The challenges of the unknown scare most people. Being a Supreme Court County mediator, has given me the skill to see things in a different light. What I mean is the one's you think are a slam dunk don't work out, and the others that look like a long shot do.

Posted by Winston Heverly, GRI, ABR, SFR, CDPE, CIAS, PA (Winston Realty, Inc.) over 8 years ago

Hi, Jennifer! 

What a great list.  I hope to be able to place each of these items into my listing presentation so I can convey to my clients that they are working with the best in the industry.  Thanks for adding something meaningful that we can all use.  Have a prosperous new year!

Posted by Cookie Hooper, Real Estate Sales & Property Management (True Blue Realty) over 8 years ago

Great post Jen

Thanks so much for sharing

Posted by Anonymous over 8 years ago

Thanks for taking the time to post this Jennifer. I love you line "Are you the best Agent You know?" Makes you stop and go hmmm.

Posted by Daryl Motes, Real Estate Consultant (John L Scott) over 8 years ago

Jennifer all great points, thank you for reminding us all!!

Posted by David Krichmar, ( - Legend Lending) over 8 years ago

You always do what you promise. Good survey and lots of good comments.

Compassion without competence does not get the house need em both.

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 8 years ago

I try, Margaret... and VERY well said...

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 8 years ago

We never stop learning and improving.  I made the comment (jokingly of course) that with all the crazy years we have had not much could happen to surprise me--boy I will never say that again. 

Posted by Bob Jakowinicz, Michigan Real Estate Agent-- MI RE Adventures (National Realty Centers Livonia--Bob Jakowinicz) over 8 years ago

May I add:

  • willingness to add services like staging and inspections
  • willingness to constantly improve, change and adapt
  • willingness to update the client on a regular and timely basis
  • ability to communicate efficiently, timely and to the point

I probably can come up with a few more, at the end of the day it is :"be on your toes and work really hard and very efficient!"

Posted by Annette Sievert, Corvallis, Oregon (CB Valley Broker) over 8 years ago

I think you've pretty much nailed it - but I would add "Staying in touch."

Now, although I'm not an agent, I'm off to see your survey...

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 8 years ago

Communication is a big deal for sure.  Also important to work a niche instead of trying to be all things to all people.  It is a lot better to be the best agent if you work a niche.

Posted by Rob Arnold, Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.) over 8 years ago

Jennifer--Great list.  How many times have we had an agent across the table from us that follows these principals and makes for a better transaction for us and the buyer/seller.  Kudos to all the great agents I've had the opportunity to work with!

Posted by Tamara Perlman (Referral Network Inc.) over 8 years ago

I put this in my listing presentation:)

Posted by Anonymous over 8 years ago

Great post.  Will pass on to our Managing Broker for training aid.

Posted by Jerry Henson (Bachman & Assoc.) over 8 years ago

Great list!  I am going to use it to remind me to strive to be the best agent I can be for my clients and for myself.  I am ging to print it out and post it at everyone's desk.

Posted by Karen Steed over 8 years ago

Loved it!!!  I am going to attach this to my daily check list for 2012.  You can never remind yourself enough on a continuing basis of the values and steps it takes to be a great agent.  Thank you.

Posted by Rustie over 8 years ago

I'd like to add my take on the "compassion factor". When searching for an obstetrician 23 years ago, a co-worker highly recommended hers. "He doesn't have the best bedside manner, but he's the best there is!" And he didn't...and he was! I had some medical issues that were challenging, and during labor with my daughter there were several things that could have ended in disaster...but his competence helped me make it through 2 pregnancies and childbirths. And when I look at my 22-year old daughter and 19-year old son, THAT'S what matters the most. Not his people skills...or lack thereof.


Posted by Sue Gabriel over 8 years ago

This is a great list! I really think the negotiation point was huge, when an agent gets emotional during negotiations, it can ruin a transaction so easily. You have to keep level headed and in control.

Posted by Sylvie Stuart, Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta (Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765) over 8 years ago

Real good thought provoking list. I would like to add one more. Tell the truth even if it hurts.

Many years ago we took our 6 month old son to the hospital for tests. Spent most of the day there. At the end of the day we talked with the doctor and said "We want to know the truth and don't spare us." He said your son is fine and just a little slow and will grow out of it. A few weeks later we took our son to John Hoptons Hospital and on the way down we read the doctors report of the day of testing. He listed 7 major defects. Congential heart disese etc. Our son died at 7 months old.

We were devasted. Later we confronted the scumbug (notice I didn't say doctor)! I said you lied and why? He said "most people don't want to know the truth". 

It didn't matter how skilled he was or how many degrees he had.  I can not think of one good thing about how he preformed that day. And to make it worse we paid about $3000 for the worthless tests. 

Being trustworthy should be number one.




Posted by Daniel Z Stoltzfus over 8 years ago

Great List. I especially like #7. It's funny how many agents go all "Chicken Little" at the slightest glitch.

Posted by Karl Mengers, Main Edge Realty (Main Edge Realty) over 8 years ago

Great post. I will use it as my own new checklist for myself as I reassess for 2012. Thank you!!

Posted by Rachel Tipton (KingOne Properties International) over 8 years ago

Daniel - what a tragic story and unfortunately, it happens all too often, even if life and death situations. I'm so sooo sorry...

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 8 years ago


10. THE CO-OPing AGENT! Without whom no closings would happen.

Posted by David Evans, HUD NLB Cumming GA (RE/MAX TOWN AND COUNTRY) over 8 years ago

Hi Jennifer, Great post and great list.  And very original post!

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) over 8 years ago

This is an awesome article, Thanks Jennifer! 

In a time when tons of information is readily available to everyone online, it's nice to point out the essential knowledge and expertise that an agent brings to the transaction.  While I agree that this is a "people" business, I would definitely add the "HONESTY and TRUST" factor as well, because that is really what people value, not how bubly your personality is. 

Posted by Corinne Whitehead, Realtor Jersey Shore Homes for Sale (RE/MAX At Barnegat Bay) over 8 years ago

Jennifer - This is a very good list you've put together. I'm sure there are more things we could add. I don't think people realize what's involved in being a Realtor! Happy New Year!

Posted by Carla Freund, Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489 (Keller Williams Preferred Realty) over 8 years ago

Excellent list!  #6 is on my to-do list for 2012.  I think it is really important to know basic home repair skills, especially when working with first time buyers.  Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year!

Posted by Julie Stevenson (Coldwell Banker Hubbell Briarwood, Okemos, MI) over 8 years ago

I know I'm a little off topic, but after reading through Daniel's heartbreaking story, I just had to plug in my 2 cents. 

My hubby went in for a normal physical about 8 years ago.  They did all the normal tests and found that his cholesterol was higher than it should be.  They hounded and hounded us, even calling me and threatening me that if he didn't take the meds they prescribed that he would die from this and it was my duty as his wife to persuade him!!

We did a lot of research and found that stress also causes high cholesterol.  He changed careers, stopped eating peanut butter, added almonds and Cheerios daily to his diet and low and behold three months later the doctor was so impressed that the medicine was working.  Huh?  My hubby told them he hadn't taken one single pill, but just made some life changes.

The doctor and nurses were shocked and when we asked them why they didn't suggest diet change first?  Their answer was, "because we find that most people won't follow it anyway".  Needless to say, I was livid. 

Oh, and by the way, the medicine they wanted him to take?  It was on the national news two weeks later.  They pulled them from the shelves because they were causing people to die of sudden heart attack and are no longer being sold to this day.   Go figure.

It is not up to the professionals to determine what our patients or clients want to hear.  It is up to us to speak the truth and nothing but the truth and let them decide for themselves how to proceed.  

And Daniel, I too am so truly sorry for the pain this must have caused you and your family. 

Posted by Linda S. Cefalu, Broker Assoc., I'll Take You Home (Coldwell Banker Homesale Realty) over 8 years ago

This is a great list, and really makes me think about which items I should brush up on.  I will suggest that my clients demand all of these things from their realtors, whether they choose me or not.  Every realtor is not a good fit for every buyer/seller, but clients definitely deserve this type of service.  I LOVE this website, and all of the positive things I learn here.  THANK YOU JENNIFER!  And to all of the SWS agents out there, Please let me know if you ever come to Maui. :) Alohaaaaa, Gail  

Posted by Gail Swanson over 8 years ago

Excellent list, Jennifer and I'm in! Loved the "shirtless guy video"!

Posted by DeeDee Riley, Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas (Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA) over 8 years ago

This business is really for the perfectionists. Meaning to be perfect at everything you do or else outsoure to a perfect professional. Otherwise, you won't last.

Cruel but true.


Posted by Susan& Charlie Ahern, Owner & Broker, Coronado Real Estate 4 Sale 619-92 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties) over 8 years ago

Hi Jennifer and thanks for the post!    The competencies you list equate in my mind with professionalism, and I'm still surprised when I find an agent lacking in professionalism but selling lots of real estate anyway based on prospecting or closing skills or some kind of magnetic personality.

When I encounter  incompetence, it makes me wish for a higher barrier to entry to this career where we are responsible for handling one of most peoples' largest investment and biggest decisions of their lives.

But even assuming competence, I suspect some agents are at best very disorganized, or more likely, just lazy.   Case in point: one of my first time buyers often brings his mom along.    I was apalled to hear that she'd purchased a home from an agent who was double ending the transaction, but did nothing for her.    In fact, when she called him, a few weeks into the escrow to ask how the transaction was going, he didn't recognize her name.

I'm looking forward to your upcoming blog (your comment #39).


Posted by M.C. Dwyer, MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist (Century 21 Showcase REALTORs) over 8 years ago

Thanks, M.C. and I appreciate the nudge to DO that follow-up blog I promised... I'll get that on the list!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 8 years ago

Hello Jennifer...great points!!  If you don't mind I will re-blog.  Very well said.  Thank you for sharing.

Posted by Sergio Rebollo Jr. (Real Estate TeamMates) over 8 years ago
Thanks for giving that information,This is very useful to us.thanks again,we visit your website again.
Posted by Grpestate over 8 years ago

Jennifer, yet another great post!  I've copied it and pinned over my desk.  Thanks for the info!

Posted by Ron Cooks, Texas Real Estate, Ft Hood/Killeen Homes for Sale (The Real Estate Marketplace) over 8 years ago

Great list, I've passed it on to my friends in real estate.

Posted by Walethia Aquil, Transforming professionals from Invisible to Impec (Grace and Charm) over 8 years ago

Thanks for this Jennifer. As always I appreciate it!

Excellent timing for refining our goals for the year and as we move forward as a professional in this business.

Posted by Christine Blaski, Frisco, Summit County CO Realtor (Cornerstone Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Well said!  That is a terrific list.  Not a drama king/queen is the best advice!

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) over 8 years ago


Well after reading this list, I feel a LOT better about myself! I am 9 for 9! Yeah, and humble, too. =)

Posted by Aaron Vaughn, REALTOR© 512-845-4204, My knowledge is your power | eXp Realty (eXp Realty) about 8 years ago

Excellent list of skills to make one a competent real estate agent.

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

Great list! I have most of them. I'll work on my weak areas.

Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) over 7 years ago


Great post!....although I haven't read all the comments and I see there are many. These are all great attributes a good agent should strive to deliver to each and every client and some others  that come to mind are.. have a good ear to listen to what a clients motivation is and any concerns they may have. The client needs to be reassurred that they have an agent that communicates well with agents showing their home and is on top of their game when it comes to "answering their phones" and setting their appointments. Thanks for having a soulful selling heart!..and great blogs!

Posted by Robin Holliday (Wainwright Real Estate, Virginia Beach, Virginia) over 7 years ago

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