Analyzing a Real Estate Agent’s Track Record

Agent Stats

When narrowing down the field of agents to interview, analyzing an agent’s track record helps to separate the agents that can sell a house from the agents that just interview well.  These stats will help you weed out the bad agents from your list of prospective Realtors.

Analyzing an Agent’s Track Record

Your agent should provide you with a copy of these statistics during your interview.  Ask them to run a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) Report on all of their listings to show how well they have done and to show what they are currently doing.   Ask that the report cover at least a year’s worth of transactions or more.  Also have them run a report that only covers their listings in your neighborhood too.  Make sure both reports only show their listings.  Because these reports are limited to just one agent’s data, they can not be used to determine your house’s sale price, just to show the agent’s track record.

When interpreting an agent’s data, you should pay attention to:

Days On Market – Days on market (DOM) refers to the amount of time a house has been on the market from the day it was first listed on MLS to the day that it sold.  For this statistic to be useful, you have to use average DOM as a baseline for comparison.  Less days is better than more days, when compared to the average DOM.

Number of Houses Sold – This is a cumulative count of how many houses an agent or team sold.  Preferably this count is based on your area and on similar sized houses.  The higher number of sold houses the better.

Sales Price as a % of List Price –  This statistic determines how well the agent priced the house or how much of a discount was given.  The closer to 100% the better.  The average SP%LP is a useful statistic for determining neighborhood pricing.

These stats reveal how well agents in your area price homes, sell homes and discount homes when compared to other agents.  They also reveal the agents that can’t sell a house too.  As you can imagine, these are very useful stats for comparing agents.

How to Read a CMA

The following information may be helpful for you to understand the MLS’s output of CMA data.   Many people think this section is overkill, but I like to include it anyway.  Most MLS systems share the same terminology, so this info will probably relate to your local Realtor Board’s MLS system.  The MLS system CMA report format referenced in this article came from the Dallas/Fort Worth area NTREIS MLS.

At the top of each report, the search criteria for this list are printed out in raw data format. Here’s how to interpret it.

Look at the top of each report on the following pages and you’ll see a block of text that looks similar to this:

Your initial search criteria were: ((LISTSTATUS IN ‘ACT’,’CON’,’OPT’,’KO’,’PND’,’EXP’, ‘SLD’,’WTH’,’CAN’,’TOM’,’WS’))) AND (LONGITUDE>=-97.45963275422413 AND LONGITUDE<=-97.28771030913036) AND (LATITUDE>=32.57602990224634 AND LATITUDE<=32.720788050715626) AND (CASE WHEN POWER(69.112822 * ( LATITUDE -32.64840897648098), 2) + POWER(69.112822 * 0.8419968910735207 * (LONGITUDE – – 97.37367153167724) , 2) < POWER(4.99742948094231,2) THEN 1 ELSE 0 END=’1′ ) AND LISTDATE>=CONVERT(DATETIME,’01/01/2008′) AND
PROPSUBTYPE IN (‘S’) AND (S1.FULLNAME LIKE ‘AGENT NAME%’ )

Here’s what each section of the search criteria paragraph means.

((LISTSTATUS IN (‘ACT’,’CON’,’OPT’,’KO’,’PND’,’EXP’,’SLD’,’WTH’,’CAN’,’TOM’,’WS’)))
This means that the search includes all properties with the status of : ACTIVE, ACTIVE CONTRACT, ACTIVE CONTENGENT, ACTIVE OPTION CONTRACT, ACTIVE KICK OUT, PENDING, EXPIRED, SOLD, WITHDRAWN, CANCELLED, TEMPORARILY OFF MARKET, WITHDRAWN SUBLISTING.

(LONGITUDE>=-97.45963275422413 AND LONGITUDE<=-97.28771030913036) AND (LATITUDE>=32.57602990224634 AND LATITUDE<=32.720788050715626)
AND (CASE WHEN POWER(69.112822 * ( LATITUDE -32.64840897648098), 2) + POWER(69.112822 * 0.8419968910735207 * (LONGITUDE – -97.37367153167724) , 2) < POWER(4.99742948094231,2) THEN 1 ELSE 0 END=’1′ )
This section of the criteria is the geographic area of the search. It is usually a 5-mile radius around your house. If it isn’t listed then the search is for the entire DFW area covered by MLS.

LISTDATE>=CONVERT(DATETIME,’01/01/2008′)
This is the date range and it means all records from this date to the date the search was run.

PROPSUBTYPE IN (‘S’) AND (S1.FULLNAME LIKE ‘AGENT NAME%’ )
This item limits the data to only houses listed by the named agent.

The Status of Each Property is defined by the Dallas/Ft Worth MLS system as:
ACT – Active – Property is available for sale (showings).

CON – Active-Contingent – Property has an offer on it but there is a contingency (i.e. financing, inspections) – still taking showings.

OPT – Active-Option Contract – Property has an offer on it that has an option period – still taking showings.

KO – Active-Kick Out – Property has an offer contingent upon the sale of another property.

PND – Pending – Property has an offer (contract with to contingencies, kick-outs or options) – no more showings. Pending listings do not expire, they will stay pending until closed.

EXP – Expired

SLD – Sold

LSD – Leased

WTH – Withdrawn – No longer available for showings or available to be re-listed with another broker (under “conditional release”).

CAN – Cancelled – Unconditional release – free to be re-listed in MLS.

TOM – Temp Off Market –Owner has a reason they would not like to show the property for a period of time but they are still under a listing agreement. Temporarily off market used for various reasons (i.e. remodeling, owner illness, etc.)

WS – Withdrawn Sub Listing – Under the sub-divided listing function, you can have a main listing with several sub listings….withdrawn sub listing would mean the sub listing is no longer available on its own.

When you use a CMA for the purpose of comparing agents, remember that you are not concerned with pricing. This data can not be used to determine a sale price for your house. Without closely analyzing your house, comparable houses or the neighborhood, an accurate price can not be obtained. Your agent will conduct that study and explain the results.

If you are buying or selling a house and are looking to hire a successful real estate agent to help you through the process, take a look at AgentHarvest's list of top-ranking local Realtors in your area. We found these agents by examining their sales track records, awards, rankings, client testimonials and by conducting personal interviews.



This entry was posted in Hiring an Agent by Bill Petrey, Realtor. Bookmark the permalink.

About Bill Petrey, Realtor

Bill Petrey, the CEO and Founder of AgentHarvest, has been written about in the Los Angeles Times, Inman News, AOL Real Estate, and Inman Next, among others. He founded AgentHarvest for the sole purpose of making the process of finding a good Realtor better and easier. Bill Petrey is an author and editor of both The AgentHarvest Blog, Real Examples of Really Rotten Realty Blog, and the creator of Really Rotten Realty.

10 thoughts on “Analyzing a Real Estate Agent’s Track Record

  1. I’m very hesitant about purchasing a foreclosed property. On one hand it seems like such a steal, but on the other hand, I feel nervous – like I should wait for a year to see how the market pans out. I really need some expert opinions on the topic

    • If you read the following article, http://blog.agentharvest.com/real-estate-market-conditions/how-is-the-real-estate-market-doing-in-dallas-texas/ it describes the events that influence not just the Dallas / Fort Worth economy, but the economic forces that effect all areas. Right now, however, I’m waiting to see when the banks start releasing their huge inventories of Other Real Estate Owned assets. This should flood the market and drop prices. Furthermore, if the interest rates go up and Fannie and Freddie tighten up, it could spell bargain basement if that perfect storm happens. Unfortunately it’s artificial government intervention that allowed all three events to happen to simultaneously and on such a large scale.

  2. Another often overlooked but critically important piece of analysis the prospective seller client should investigate is the agent’s Sell-Through rate in their neighborhood. Sell-through is another term for success rate… and as Agent Harvest has suggested, YOU WANT the agent that lists and successfully sells homes (competance), not just list / sit / withdraw.

    For example, one agent in our neighborhood has a ‘perceived’ dominant amount of signs in the community, however, his Sell-Through is only 70%… meanwhile, another agent is behind him in ‘volume’ but has a sell-through rate of 100%.

    Seriously, don’t be fooled by appearances – do your homework, ask each agent what their sell-though rate is for the past 6-12 months.

    Good luck!

  3. Bob:
    That’s a great addition to this post. I’m only sorry I didn’t think of including it first. While including sell-thru rate, it’s also helpful to calculate the % breakdown of all of that agent’s transactions in your area especially actives, expires, cancelleds and solds. Create a breakdown based on the total of all sales that agent has done in your area and then get the % of each. This data makes nice pie charts too. Of course it’s really only useful if you get it for all the agents you interview. If all agents suffer the same numbers then either they’re all guilty of over-listing, over-pricing, under-selling or there are factors in the market outside of the agents’ control.

    Bob, thanks for sharing. Any other stats you recommend?

    Bill

    • Aaron:
      Great question. The best way to guarantee the numbers are correct is to ask for the same thing from multiple agents and see if the data is similar. If it comes straight from MLS, with all the MLS branding and disclaimers, then more than likely it hasn’t been altered after the search. What they can do is trim the search pattern, narrow the timeline or area, filter out certain agents, etc. However most agents don’t know how to do this and they probably don’t want to spend the time especially if it opens them up to false advertising or fraud.

      If you ask three agents for the same data, you should get similar data with only a one or two house difference if the reports were run on the same week.

      More than likely you’ll get excuses why some agents did better or why they did worse than you will see forged data. Besides, when in doubt, don’t hire them.

    • MLSs are local in nature and unless an agent is a member of that local real estate board they don’t have any more access to that MLS system than you do. You need a local Realtor to pull a CMA in your area.

  4. Hi Bill,
    Thanks for your blog. Where is the best place to get information about realtors transaction history?
    Thank you,
    Eric

    • Unfortunately the best source is MLS, and you need to be an agent to access it. I’m really not aware of any other source since all of them cut off detailed info regarding the house once it’s sold. Best you can do is get a recent sales price, but I don’t know how you could find out who the agent is that sold it.

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