Questions to Ask When Choosing a Real Estate Agent
When you choose a real estate agent, there are ten key questions to ask to get a better idea of what to expect. Make sure that you always invite a potential agent out for coffee or something and have a talk about their experience, their personality, and their level of professionalism. You want to work with someone who has a strong ethical compass and has a history of doing what’s right for their clients. This will allow you to make a rational decision before choosing any agent and then finding out the hard way that they don’t have the experience needed to sell your unique property.
How long have you been in residential real estate? Is it your full time job?
All professions require training, and real estate is no different. Everything in this industry is learned on the job. An experienced, full time agent will have plenty of on the job training. You be sure that you are working with someone who is successful enough to pay all of their bills off of it.
How many homes did you and your brokerage sell last year?
This question will get your agent to open up about their past sales. It will also give you a window into how much they know about the current market conditions in your state.
What Designations or Certifications do you hold?
A real estate agent has to take additional specialized training, similar to the endorsement on a driver’s license that you can get for Motorcycles and RVs. This allows the agent to help in different circumstances. Depending on your situation, it is a good idea to ask your real estate agent what Designation or Certification he/she has and use this to make a decision on who would be best to work with.
How many days does it take you to sell a home? How does that compare to others?
The real estate agent that you interview will typically bring a copy of their performance numbers for you to review. They will also bring the market statistics so that you can see what homes are selling. Take your time to look over these pieces of information thoroughly, because they will show you how long you can expect your home to take to sell. This is very helpful because you will be able to better plan your timeline.
What’s the average variation between initial listing and final sales price?
This information will tell you how long your real estate agent has been on the job and how good he/she is at negotiation.
What specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home?
Your agent should have a plan on how they are going to market your home before they meet you. Make sure that you hear their plan and understand what it entails. While it is usually your agent’s responsibility to list the home, don’t feel put out in marketing it as well. If you are a Facebook, Twitter or other social media user, feel free to list the home on your page. If they want to see your home, have your agent get in touch with the person and set up a time. This can go a long way towards selling your home, and will also help get the word out.
Will you represent me exclusively, or might you also choose to represent the buyer?
While usually legal, your real estate agent may have a different approach to how they handle this. Typically, an agent that represents both the buyer and seller only has their best interest at heart – not yours.
Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, home repairs, or other miscellaneous?
Real estate agents typically have a set list of specialists they work with. Sometimes when real estate agents have an affiliation with a certain business, you can get a discount rate if you decide to go with that particular person.
How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction?
Be clear in knowing if your real estate agent has paid any attention to the way you communicate and they will be able to word an offer in the same way that you do. Communication is tantamount to trust-building. Trust is the key to building a good relationship. Look for both.
Could you please give me the contact information of three of your most recent clients?
Just like in a job interview you should ask for references. If your potential agent has nothing to hide, they will give you their clients’ information. Be sure to contact those past clients and ask if they would use this agent again the next time they are looking for a home. These questions should help you in working with the ideal agent. Good luck!Contributed by James Link