Top Q's To Ask When Hiring a Real Estate Agent
Sometimes when I meet people to sell their homes, they say “I really have no idea what to ask. I haven’t sold a house before so I just figured you would tell me whatever I need to know.” This made me think about how many other sellers don’t know what to ask when listing their house for sale. So, this month I wanted to give you the top questions to ask a real estate agent when getting ready to sell your property.
Selling your home can be a stressful process. Hiring the right agent will make the process much easier if you know what to look for. Your home is typically your most valuable asset and you want to make sure your agent is going to do the right things to get you the highest price possible for your house.
What should you ask when choosing a Realtor?
1. What are your credentials? Is your agent full time or part time? How long have they been selling real estate? Make sure you are hiring a full-time agent who is available for phone calls and showings 7 days a week. You do not want to limit the availability of the buyer or buyer’s agent getting into the house or getting questions answered in a timely manner. You want to make sure they will have the schedule and time needed to focus on finding you the best buyer for your home.
2. How many sales did you close last year? According to the National Association of Realtors the median number of houses sold for agents in 2020 was 10 homes. Many agents do this job as a second income or part time. Choosing a full-time agent that sells over 20 houses a year is important. Every transaction is different and a more experienced agent will have tackled more problems and know how to avoid them.
3. Are you an expert in this area? A local expert is important. Knowing the secret spots in town, knowing the access to internet, local amenities, where to shop, benefits of living in your community are all important things. I can’t tell you how many times I have sold a house because I was also able to show the benefits of living in our community.
4. The listing price. Ask the agent you are meeting with how they came up with their suggest listing price and why they think that is the perfect number. Don’t just go with the agent who proposes the highest number. They might be trying to give you a higher number to get the listing and then ask for a price reduction later. This could actually hurt you more that you think. Pricing the house correctly from the start will get you the most money. It is ok to challenge the agent you are interviewing. Make them prove to you why their list price is the best one for your home, neighborhood, upgrades and the timing you are choosing to list.
5. Who will you be working with? Does the agent have a team? Do they pass you off to a transaction coordinator to handle the paperwork? Are you going to be working directly with the agent you are meeting with or will they disappear after you sign the contact and you will be working with someone you haven’t met before?
6. What does it cost to sell my home? There are expenses to selling your home. Your agent should be able to review these expenses with you prior to listing so you know how much money you will walk away with after you receive an offer.
7. What is your marketing and sale plan? Are they going to use a professional photographer or take photos with their phone? Do they do internet marketing? Will they do internet paid ads or just posting on their own social media? Do they do any newspaper ads or direct marketing? If so, where and how many? Make sure the agent has a marketing plan and isn’t just listing it in the MLS and waiting for phone calls. Also, make sure they are targeting the right demographic for your home. Targeting the right people with the marketing is extremely important. It is a waste of time and money to advertise to the wrong demographic of potential buyers.`
8. What should I do to get my house ready? Agents know what buyers are looking for. We work with buyers everyday and hear what they want to see. Your agent should be able to give you tips to making your house appeal to the buyers that are looking in the area. There might be little things you could do prior to listing that will help sell your property.
9. How do you communicate? Are they going to call, text or email you? What times of day are they available (especially important if they have another job)?
10. How long will it take to sell my property? Find an agent who has a clear strategy for listing in a specific time period, a marketing plan, showing schedule and a clear plan for how long they expect before your house is under agreement and then sold. You need to review the plan with your agent and make sure the timing works for you.
I have found many homeowners don’t know what to ask so they just go along with whatever the Real Estate Agent says. Knowing what to ask could help you make the best decision on which agent is best for you. Interviewing more than one agent can be extremely helpful. Every agent has different strengths, find the one you think will do the best job and sell your house for the most money possible.