What kind of a home seller are you? Years ago, I noticed that sellers typically fall into three basic categories:

Pie-in-the-sky sellers. These sellers price their property higher than anything that’s ever sold in their neighborhood and then wait to see if someone bites. Real estate agents often have a difficult time with pie-in-the-sky sellers because they’re completely unrealistic about how much their property is worth.

Often, these sellers will price their home so far out of the ballpark there is a real danger the property will become stigmatized by the length of time it has been listed. On the other hand, when you have a hot sellers’ market like the one that ran from 1995 through 2001, homes were selling for unbelievably high prices – prices so high agents kept shaking their heads in disbelief. In this case, pie-in-the-sky sellers had a field day fielding multiple offers in excess of the list price.

Realistic sellers. These sellers do a thorough investigation of the market to find out how long it takes to sell a home like theirs and then price their home competitively. Agents prefer to work with realistic sellers because they understand market forces. In a hot sellers’ market, realistic sellers will often field multiple bids because the competitive initial pricing of the property lets buyers know that this seller understands what his or her property is really worth.

Desperate and anxious sellers. It’s normal to have some concerns about selling your home. It’s even normal to have a small anxiety attack from time to time. But there are sellers who are classic worriers, who spend an inordinate amount of time and energy thinking about every detail involved with a home sale, and the amount of time it’s taking to produce the right offer.

If you need to move quickly, or if you feel you need to get a certain amount of money out from your sale, then you’re at risk for making decision out of desperation rather than thinking things through objectively.

Knowing what kind of seller you are will allow you to choose the right sort of agent. Just as there are different types of sellers, agents, too, have various temperaments. Certain agents will better meet your needs than others. There are two basic types of agents:

Laid back agents. These agents take a more relaxed approach to selling a home. They may work part-time or full-time, or they may take plenty of vacations. But in general, their style is to stay relaxed and get things done in a slower, orderly way. As a seller, you may get more time and attention from an agent who works at a slightly slower pace, because he or she typically won’t have as many clients as an aggressive agent.

Aggressive agents. These agents are usually busy serving a variety of home buyers and sellers. They may be working with people buying or selling condos, townhomes and single family homes, with properties that are priced moderately and those that are at the very top of the local market. Often, aggressive agents have assistants who prepare the paperwork and who may even do showings.

Of course, agents come in every shape and size. There are agents who chain-smoke and talk non-stop, and those who spend more time listening. Some agents eat only salads and drink black coffee while others indulge in fast foods. There are agents who have small children, grown children and no children at all.

There are agents who are technologically savvy and use tools like email and Internet-based scheduling software to stay in close communication with their clients, and there are agents who are tech-adverse, for whom email is difficult. There are young agents, just starting out their careers in the business, and those like my mother, Susanne, who have seen housing prices rise and fall, during their 20+ years selling residential real estate.

In other words, there are agents to match every personality quirk a home seller could have. The trick is finding the right agent to match your home selling temperament. Why?

Finding the right agent is like dating. Listing your property means a short-term marriage between you and your agent or broker. If you’re not truly compatible with your agent, you won’t be able to communicate effectively, and perhaps won’t be able to stand each other. (Yes, it’s true. Some agents hate their clients.)

Either way, if the relationship isn’t right, you’ll have a harder time selling.

Published: Apr 22, 2002