18 questions you should ask each real estate agent you are considering to help you sell your home:
1. Are you a full time real estate agent?
Knowing whether or not your agent practices full time can help you determine potential scheduling conflicts and his or her commitment to your transaction. As with any profession, the number of years a person has been in the business does not necessarily reflect the level of service you can expect, but it is a good starting point for your discussion. The same issue can apply to professional designations. They are not necessarily an indicator of the quality of service you can expect.
2. Do you have a full time assistant?
It is not uncommon for agents who sell a lot of houses to hire people to work with them. As their businesses grow, they must be able to deliver the same or higher quality of service to more people. You may want to know who on the team will take part in your transaction, and what role each person will play. You may even want to meet the other team members before you decide to work with the team. If you have a question about fees on your closing statement, who would handle that? Who will show up to your closing?
3. How will you keep in contact with me during the selling process, and how often?
Some agents may email, fax or call you daily to tell you that visitors have toured your home, while others will keep in touch weekly. Asking this question can help you to reconcile your needs with your agent's systems.
4. What do you do that other agents don't that ensures I'm getting top dollar for my home?
Marketing skills are learned, and sometimes a real estate professional's unique method of research and delivery make the difference between whether or not a home sells quickly. For example, an agent might research the demographics of your neighborhood and present you with a target market list for direct marketing purposes.
5. Will you give me names of past clients?
Interviewing an agent can be similar to interviewing someone to work in your office. Contacting references can be a reliable way for you to understand how he or she works, and whether or not this style is compatible with your own.
6. How will you get paid?
In many areas, the seller pays all brokerage fees. Sometimes agents will have other small fees, such as administrative or special service fees, that are charged to clients regardless of whether they are buying or selling. Be aware of the big picture before you sign any agreements. Ask for an estimate of costs from any agent you contemplate employing.
7. Can you show me examples of the marketing materials you produced for another client?
If the agent is actively participating in the real estate field, they should have numerous examples of flyers, postcards, and even booklets that they have prepared for other clients. Look to see if the design is eye-catching and contemporary or does it look unattractive and uneven? It could be an indication of how much attention they will pay to the details of your listing.
8. How would you develop pricing strategies for our home?
Although location and condition affect the selling process, price is the primary factor in determining if a home sells quickly, or at all. Access to current property information is essential and sometimes a pre-appraisal will help. Ask your agent how they created the market analysis and whether your agent included For Sale by Owner homes, foreclosed homes and bank-owned sales in that list.
9. How often will I hear from you if I give you this assignment?
It is important that you work out the communication expectations from the beginning to prevent any miscommunication later.
10. How will you determine what my house is worth?
The value of your home is determined by what has sold recently in comparable houses. All agents should prepare a complimentary Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) that will require them to do some research. If they tell you that your home's value will be determined by what else is on the market in the neighborhood, or if they give you a "rough estimate" without having done any research, you might want to ask them to dig a little deeper.
11. Do you have a website that will list my home? Can I have your URL address?
Many buyers prefer to search online for homes because it's available 24 hours a day and can be done at home. You want to make sure your home is listed online, either on the agent's website or on their company's site. By searching your agent's website you will get a clear picture of how much information is available online.
12. How do you intend to find potential buyers?
Targeted marketing is much more effective than hoping the right person will come along. It's important to find an agent that has a marketing plan established, instead of becoming a test subject for their marketing efforts.
13. What can I do to help sell my property?
A good agent should be able to provide you with e-flyers that you can send to your email contact list. It's very possible that they know someone who is looking for a home, or can send the e-flyer on to their contacts. In addition, your agent will be able to give you an idea of what things need to be "spruced up" in order to present your house in it's best light, as well as give you some names of vendors that they have used in the past and have been proven.
14. How confident are you that you can sell my home?
In the heavily regulated world of real estate, it can be difficult for an agent to offer a performance guarantee. If your agent does not have a guarantee, it does not mean they are not committed to high standards. Typically, he or she will verbally outline what you can expect from their performance. Keller Williams® Realty understands the importance of win-win business relationships: the agent does not benefit if the client does not also benefit.
15. What percentage of your listings have sold?
The true indicator of a successful agent is not how many listings they have, but how many they have sold.
16. Can you describe current market trends for sellers?
It is important for an agent to understand the market before they can knowledgably guide you into making these important decisions.
17. Based on what you know about my situation, should I sell?
Understand that if you don't choose to sell your home, the agent won't get paid. Most agents are honorable and will give you sound advice, even if it means losing out on the possibility of listing your house.
18. If I give you the listing, what are the first seven things you will do to sell my property in the first week?
Catching an agent off-guard with this question can give you a good indication whether they have a systemized approach to listing and marketing homes or if they just list the house and hope for buyers to come knocking on their door.