Choosing the right Real Estate Agent to sell your home can be a tough process. You’ve surely Yelp’d potential agents in your area, searched their social sites, and maybe even visited one of their open houses, but now it’s time to interview them one on one and ask the tough questions! It’s not as scary as it sounds, and we’ve taken the pressure off by compiling the list below.
Here are the top 10 Questions you should ask before signing a listing agreement with any
1. How long have you been a licensed real estate agent?
Longevity in a typical “up-down” market can speak values for any Real Estate agent. The key
is to find an agent who has been consistently active over the past several
years in your area. This will ensure the agent is familiar with current market
trends, and can speak for present buying behaviors.
2.Do you work full-time as a real estate agent?
A full time agent who is dedicated to listing and selling homes will serve as the greatest
advocate while working for you. Keep in mind although you don’t always see your
agent, chances are they are working diligently in the background, trying to
sell your home, negotiating with other agents, and completing reference checks
among potential lenders. You should require the agent you pick to list and sell
your home be a full-time agent.
3. What homes have you personally sold in my neighborhood?
Here you want to see that the agent has sold similar properties to yours, representing a
mix of sellers and buyers. An agent who has present experience with buyers in
your neighborhood will be a wealth of knowledge when setting up an optimal plan
to get your home sold.
4. What is your marketing plan for exposing my home to potential buyers?
A Real Estate agent, who may specialize in Listings,
should have a 30 day calendar, or action plan of events that are to take place
after the listing agreement is signed.
Although this 30 day action plan will vary for every property and every
city, the key is to see the agent is prepared for the next 30 days, with an
aggressive plan. The days of agents simply adding your property to the MLS will not be enough in today’s competitive
market. Wherever the location of your property may be, this 30 day action plan
should include a mix of traditional “street”
marketing and digital marketing. Professional photography and video should
also be included with agents specializing in Listings.
Traditional “street” Marketing – Yard Signs, Open House, Flyers, Brochures, Mailers,
Magazine Ads, Newspaper Ads, and Phone
Digital Marketing – Property Website, Social Media, Video, Classified Ads, Email
blasts, and Third Party MLS Distributors.
5. How long will it take to sell my property?
In most normal Real Estate markets it can take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to sell a
property. What you really want to know with this question is how well the agent
knows the current market and what factors are impacting your area. Look for an
agent who can give examples and references to specific home sales in your market.
6. What do you think the optimal list price for my home?
Real Estate agents have access to in depth recent sales reports and should be able to give
you a range of what they feel is optimal
for your area and features of your home before ever seeing your home.
However, in order for an agent to give
you an actual and optimal list price, the agent must see the current condition
of your home, see any upgrades, exam landscaping, and get a feel for the
neighborhood. An agent should not be able to give you an optimal number over
the phone. Make sure this optimal number is supported with evidence, not just averages.
7. Will I be working with your directly or passed to an assistant?
The answer here will vary based on the sales volume of the agent. An agent with a high
monthly sales volume may have an administrative assistant, or other agents that
work with them to help achieve the goal of successfully selling your home. An
agent who takes on fewer sales monthly, may be working alone and solely
dedicated to selling your property. What you want to know is WHO will be the main point of all
contact and readily available to answer any questions that might arise
throughout the escrow process. An agent who works with a team or on their own
doesn’t necessarily make a world of difference, as long as there is someone in
place who will always be available to you.
If the listing agent does work with a team, or assistant, another great question to
ask is if these associates are also licensed. If you are going to be passed
over to an administrative assistant, it would be beneficial to you that they
are currently licensed and understand the Real Estate process.
8. How much commission do you charge?
This is a very important question. You are not looking to hire the cheapest agent. You
are looking to hire the agent that will make sure your home reaches the maximum
amount of potential buyers in the first 30 days, negotiate for top dollar with
other agents, and will be available to you, the seller, at all times.
Commission amounts will vary widely among states, cities, brokerages, and agents. Make sure
the commission amount that will be paid at the close of escrow, is justified
with the amount of work that will go into selling your property. This would be
a good time to revert back to the 30 day action plan. A good agent will be able
to confidently justify their price.
9. What additional fees go into selling my home?
Often Sellers mistakenly believe the agent’s commission is the only fee’s that will
be paid out of the proceeds. This is not the case. Be sure to see a list of
additional fees that will need to be paid at the close of escrow. The agent
should be prepared with an estimate of charges.
10. Do you have a reference list of past clients I may contact?
An established real estate agent will be happy to provide a reference list. This
list should be made up of past buyers and sellers. Be sure to follow up with
this should you find it necessary. Be sure to find out what they like the
best/least about the agent, how long did it take to find/sell the property, and
honest feedback on their overall experience with the real estate agent and
Be sure to have this list handy when interviewing local real estate agents.