With so many real estate agents competing for your business it can be tough to decide who to trust with your listing. Use this list of questions when interviewing potential agents to help you find someone you can count on to be putting up a “Sold” sign soon.
1. How long have you been selling real estate in this area?
The answer should give you some insight as to their experience level.
2. How many homes did you sell last year?
This is another indicator of their level of expertise and familiarity with the market, as well as their level of success in the business.
3. Have you recently sold any homes in this neighborhood, and what did they sell for?
You want to ask this question to make sure they are familiar with your segment of the market.
4. How would you suggest marketing this home?
Look for creative ideas and a sense of enthusiasm.
5. What would you suggest listing the property for, and what do you think we could realistically get?
Beware of an agent that only tells you what you want to hear. Some will suggest you can get the price you want to get the listing and then be talking about reductions almost immediately. You will be better served by an agent who shows you a market analysis that supports the price they suggest.
6. How long do you think it will take for the home to sell?
Again, look for an honest answer, not a sales pitch.
7. What is your negotiating style?
Do they play hardball and always get the best price; are they the friendly agent who can tap into their good relationships to get a favor; do they rely on lots of research and data to back up their position. There is no right answer, it’s just important that you are comfortable with their style.
8. What are your normal working hours?
It is important that you are able to effectively communicate with your listing agent. Be sure his or her working hours line up with the times you are likely to be available for phone calls, signing paperwork, etc, or that they are willing to accommodate your schedule.
9. Do you work well with other real estate professionals in the area?
If you plan on working with a certain escrow agent, real estate attorney, or mortgage lender ask the agent if they are familiar with those companies. Watch out for a real estate agent that can’t work with certain other professionals due to previous deals that went south – you don’t want to be punished for your agents’ burned bridges.
10. What is the fee for their services?
The standard listing fee is 3% of the sales price, with another 3% going to the buyer’s agent. This fee is negotiable and should be discussed before the agent takes the listing. Be careful not to make a decision based on price alone – you could be better off going with an agent who won’t discount the fee if he or she is able to sell the home for a price that is a few % more than a lower priced agent.
Remember that there are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but they will give you a good idea of whether a particular agent is a good fit for you, and your goal of selling your property.