If you are in search of a qualified, experienced and trustworthy real estate agent that will help you to sell you home; it is important that before real estate agent hiring, you ask specific questions and make sure that the answers are what you are looking for. I like to call it a game of twenty questions, these questions are crucial in determining what agent you hire.
When it comes to selling your prized home you should never settle for just any real estate agent. Ask these questions as many times as you feel are needed and to as many real estate agents you want until you are comfortable and confident with a real estate agent and are ready to hand over the selling of your home to them.
Here are twenty questions to ask the real estate agents you are considering hiring to sell your home:
1. Do you work as a real estate agent full-time or only part-time?
If a real estate agent works full time at being an agent it is more likely that the time and attention they provide to the selling of your home will be more as well as higher quality.
2. How many homes, in the last year or two, have you sold in my neighborhood?
If a real estate agent has a track record in your neighborhood not only is it ideal as they have experience in your area but it is more likely that they will be in your price range. If the city you live in has different property types such as condo, co-op etc. then inquire into the amount of experience they have in selling your particular property type.
The more information (data and stats such as prices, houses sold, average amount of days on the market, average sale list to price ratio etc.) that a real estate agent is willing to provide show that the confidence they have in their ability and expertise to sell your home is high and that is what you are looking for.
Keep in mind however that stats can be manipulated, you want to request to look at raw data and if you are unsure of how to read it look for a trusted family member or friend that has had experience in this matter and ask them to look over the stats with you and give you their experienced and honest advice.
3. At this moment, how many sellers are you representing?
This can be a double edged sword kind of question. An agent who is very busy may be too busy, however an agent with few or no clients may have more time to sell your home however why the lack of clients?
Personally, I prefer an agent with lots of business.
4. What specific parts of the transaction will be your responsibilities and which ones will you delegate to others?
Delegating is something that many agents do so that is not a negative aspect at all. You do however want to know how much your agent will be involved in personally. This is also a question designed to test the knowledge that the agent has on this process such as open houses, qualification of buyers, title, marketing/advertising/signage, negotiation of terms and price, negotiation of contract, home inspection and of course closing.
5. Do you negotiate on your fees?
If the answer to that question is not then no deal. The compensation for a real estate agent is always negotiable. You can go from a traditional percentage of the final sales price or a flat fee. If you are a bit more creative and have a better idea about compensation then talk it over with the agent, maybe a brand new way of doing business will be born from this.
6. In the current market, how much do you think my house will sell for and why?
This will help you better understand the knowledge the agent has on the market as well as see the thought process they use when it comes to pricing your home which is the MOST IMPORTANT decision you will have to make in this matter. A realtor that is experienced will make reference to recent market data as well as the pool of comparable homes currently on the market.
7. Would you be able to provide me with a current list of homes on the market as well as a written CMA?
Every real estate agent should have a written CMA (comparative market analysis) which they can easily provide to their clients. The detail or lack of detail found in the report will provide a lot of information in the agent and their market knowledge. The answer to this question should be very revealing.
8. What is your exact marketing and advertising plan for my house?
A combination of offline and online marketing has a better chance of reaching a large spectrum of potential buyers. It is important to be aware of the frequency of any open houses or advertising. Professionals highly debate the issue of open houses, it is a hot topic in this industry being as a lot of people believe that buyers are not produced from open houses. There should however be at least one open house for other brokers, particularly for buyers’ brokers.
It is important that you listing have a lot of photos the more photos; the more attention drawn towards your house. Many people debate the use of videos when it comes to selling your home, I believe that a professionally made video of your home, your neighborhood and even the surrounding areas really makes a home stand out and it also suggests that your agent is up to date on the current trends as well as new technology.
Make sure you look over all, marketing material samples. A qualified agent will list your home not only on the MLS but also on their own website so make sure they actually have one. You want to be aware of what others are doing to market their homes and compare your real estate agents material against others.
9. How long must my house be listed with you?
It is reported by the majority of consumer experts that a listing period of three months or less is preferable. In this market however, that may not provide the amount of time needed to evaluate your agent’s abilities but the listing agreement can always be renewed. If however you are not pleased with your agent then this will not be an issue.
10. How many years have you been a real estate agent and what is the extent of education you have acquired?
In my opinion, an agent with at least four years of experience backing them will show a dedication to the profession that is unmistakable. This will also mean that they have had a long time to get a good sense of this market.
In regards to education, it is required by law that real estate agents take classes in order to maintain their license in good standing so you want an education that surpasses the minimum requirements.
11. Have you ever been subject to a complaint from a client and is your license as a real estate agent in good standing?
There are websites you can visit that will allow you information on agents license, request them from the agent in question. This should be something that is quick and easy for a real estate agent to provide to all of their clients on demand.
12. As a form of reference can you provide me with full names and contact information of your past clients?
It is important to make sure that references are not relatives of the agent in question and thoroughly check them out.
13. Do you work with stagers? Will my home be staged?
In this day and age a home must be dressed to sell. In my opinion it is a ‘must’ to stage a home. There is a difference between taking a listing and marketing it and actually selling the home. Request any suggestion that the real estate agent may have in how to make your home more sell-able, this may involve improving kitchen, bathrooms and many other common areas of interest to the buyer.
14. How often will you be in touch with me?
It is ideal for your realtor to communicate with you on a regular basis, providing you with new information, concerns or relative updates. They should also inform you of any and all offers being made. They should provide you with an email and be easy to reach in case you have any questions or concerns. Inquire as to any time they will not be available.
15. Why should you be hired over your competition?
This is something your agent should be able to answer quickly and properly. Generally sellers want real estate agents who are:
- Experienced in the market locally
- Easy to reach by email or phone
- Quick to return emails or calls
- Great at negotiating
- Good at communicating
- Have success and obtain results
16. Could I please have a look at any documents I will have to sign?
These documents should of course include the sales contract and listing agreement. If there is no cancellation clause on the listing agreement ask if you are not satisfied with the services, will you be able to cancel? The length of the listing agreement will not really matter if you are able to freely cancel.
All documents must be read and if there is something you do not understand then make sure you ask. There are a variety of listing agreements and like any legal document is to have it reviewed by your attorney. You should also compare the listing agreements that other agents provided.
17. What is my closing cost going to be?
It is my belief that this gives sellers a better and more complete understanding of the process. Really understanding this point will help you be less stressed and anxious about the entire process.
18. Could you thoroughly explain the process to me?
This will help you understand the steps that will have to be taken to sell your home, it will also help you see if the real estate agent is an expert and someone worth having on your side.
19. Do you have a website as well as a blog?
Basically every agent should have a website. You should visit said website to get a better idea of the real estate agent and their brand. There are not many agents however that have a blog but that is not necessarily a bad thing. If however they do have a blog then visit it and read over all the posts and comments offered. In my opinion the provides plenty of insight on the real estate agent’s local expertise, personality and much more.
20. Is there anything I have not asked and should know?
Asking this question ahead of time opens the doors of communication and prevents unwanted surprises later down the line. You are giving the real estate agent the opportunity to let you know any needed information way ahead of time.
It is my hope that this article has provided some insight as to how to be prepared when it comes to hiring a real estate agent. It is important to ask these questions and be ready to really hear the answers being as this is the person you are trusting to sell you home. You want to get real sense not only to the real estate agents knowledge and expertise but also of their character which is key to not only selling your home but interacting with you and any potential buyers.
Best of luck with finding a real estate agent that will help you sell your home and walk away happy after the transaction has been completed.