This is sponsored content and was provided by Dan Beer

I’ve come to accept one thing.  The barrier to entry for real estate agents is too low and likely always will be.  It’s a sad thing.  But unfortunately, I don’t think that will ever change in my lifetime.  Fog a mirror = licensed real estate agent.                
So what do we do about it as homeowners?   What do we do about it as a community?  The answer is that we learn to demand more!  We demand more out of our professionals and we learn to interview agents in a way that weeds out the hobbyists and leaves the cream at the top.
Nobody ever really learns how to effectively find a real estate agent.  And it’s of course not a surprise.  Most people don’t sell more than two or three homes in their lifetime. For that reason, I am going to arm you with three simple, but massively effective screening questions you should be asking any agent you interview for the sale of your home.  And remember to get proof!
How to Interview an Agent
1.  Do they sell at least 50 homes a year?  That’s the first question you need the answer to.  Sound like a lot?  It’s not. The reason you are really asking is to make sure they win at least once a week, assuming they take a couple weeks vacation.   That’s not a lot to ask.  You are basically saying it’s ok for them to lose 6 days a week and win once. Across San Diego County there are at least 60 or 70 agents that would qualify under this criteria out of the 22,000.  Sure, that may only be a fraction of the group.  But it still gives you 60 to 70 agents to choose from.  And why would you settle for anything less than a consistently productive agent?
2. Do they lock you into a long-term deal?  If so, run.  I find it amazing that any agent would ever hold a seller hostage, but it’s actually the norm.  In masterminding and networking with the best agents across the country, I can confirm that the very top agents in virtually every market allow sellers out of the contract at any time, for any reason, and without penalty.  And, they put it in writing. I call it a minute-to-minute listing agreement. This is just a matter of integrity.  Every day you should go to sleep happy, wake up happy, and you should be free to do as you wish with your home.  Do you really want to test your potential agent’s intentions?  Then simply observe if you have to ask for this (many will agree if asked) or if it was volunteered by the agent without your prompting.  If you really want to ensure you are hiring smart, you will never again sign a listing agreement that locks you in for the long term. 
3. What kind of manpower do they have?  Simply put, one man or woman, no matter how great, cannot accomplish nearly as much as a well-oiled team working together for the same cause.  To run a successful real estate practice, your agent must lead generate, run their marketing, answer phones, operate their CRM, communicate with other agents regarding coming soon and off-market inventory, negotiate contracts, show houses, list houses, hold consultations, process escrows, manage listings, etc.  It is far too much for one person to do effectively.  Teams are proven to sell far more homes and be more effective than individual agents.  Still, and understandably so, the solo agent or small team will try to use scare tactics to tell potential sellers that the large team will be impersonal.  I don’t know about you, but when I go to the doctor’s office I don’t find it at all impersonal that he or she isn’t also the receptionist.  In fact, it would scare the heck out of me if that were the case.  The same applies to real estate.