Important Questions to Ask a Potential Real Estate Agent
- How long have you been in the real estate business?
- While an agent’s number of years in the business and experience may not be the deciding factor in selecting the best real estate agent to market your home, you want to make sure your agent knows the “ins and outs” of marketing a home for sale.
- What is your area of expertise?
- This may seem like a silly question to ask, but it is actually a pretty important one. Are you selling a condo, a single family house, a duplex or commercial property? Like most professionals, real estate agents have specialties and it is important that the agent you pick has experience marketing your particular type of property.
- How many current listings do you have in the area?
- It is important to find out how many listings a particular agent currently has in your area or town. Ask yourself, do I trust an agent who has no other listings in town. If others in the community do not have faith in this particular agent, why should you? In the alternative, you do not want to hear that a particular agent has 50 current listings in your area. Now you have to wonder about how much attention and marketing is your property going to get from this particular agent if they are also marketing so many other homes.
- What separates or distinguishes you from your competitors?
- While it is important to take the advice of your real estate agent after you hire them, it is just as important to feel comfortable in your agent’s ability to either sell or find you a home.
Different agents have different philosophies and strategies that they use when marketing a home. Find out what makes this particular agent stand out from the rest in their field, then see if their methods fit your needs.
- How long is the term of my listing agreement with you?
- This is important to know before signing an agreement with an agent. A three month listing agreement is usually a reasonable amount of time to gauge your satisfaction with your agent. In today’s market, three months may very well not be enough time to sell your home, but if you are happy with your agent you can renew the agreement. If you are not satisfied, then you can opt out.
- What hours do you work and how can I contact you?
- How accessible is your agent to you? Do you have a tight schedule and can only look at houses after 5pm on weekdays? Some agents are part-time and only work on weekends. Will your agent give you his/her cell phone number? You want to find an agent who is easy to get in contact with, and most importantly, that will make every attempt to work within your particular schedule.
- How much will you charge me?
- The Seller in a real estate transaction usually is responsible for paying for both the seller’s and buyer’s realtor fees. Normally a total of 6% (3% to seller’s agent and 3% to buyer’s agent). These fees are not standard so make sure you know what you are responsible for paying in your particular agreement before you sign.
- How do you plan to market my house?
- Will your agent market your house online or in newspapers? What marketing outlets will they use to market your home and why? Get this information upfront, therefore you will not be surprised or disappointed when you don’t see an ad in the paper for your home or can’t find your listing on the internet. Agents have different marketing strategies, make sure you are comfortable with the way your home is being marketed.
- What listing price do you recommend for my house and what did you base this on?
- Selecting the correct listing price for your house is commonly the most determining factor in whether your house sells or not. You want to choose an agent that is going to list your house to sell but is also going to get you as much value as they can for you in the current market. It is important to be reasonable and take the advice of your agent in consideration, after all, they are the professionals. It is common for people to grow attached to their homes which can cause them to sometimes overvalue the actual worth of their houses.
A good agent will not tell you what you want to hear just to get your listing, they should be tell you their honest valuation of your home and have the facts to back it up.
- Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that I need to know?
- You have now asked your agent nine detailed questions and are starting to feel more comfortable in evaluating their skills and strategies, let them tell you anything else they feel you need to know about them or their company.
If you would like a list of experience and qualified realtors in your area, please email me your request and I would be happy to send them out to you.