Choosing a great Realtor to sell your home is tough. Decide with confidence after learning 10 Questions Sellers Should Ask Their Realtor!
Here are 10 questions sellers should ask their Realtor to be sure that they’re making the right choice and that there’s no surprises during the home selling process.
1. Are you a full-time professional real estate agent? How long have you worked full time in real estate? How long have you been representing buyers? What professional designations do you have?
Knowing whether your agent works full time in this business can help you determine potential scheduling conflicts, accessibility and his or her commitment to getting your home sold. Do you really want someone who only sells homes part-time, as a hobby? 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.
2. Do you have a personal assistant, team or staff to handle different parts of the sale? Who are they and how will each of them help me in my transaction? How do I communicate with them?
It’s 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 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. If you have a question about fees on your closing statement, who would handle that? Which person on the team will show up to your closing?
3. Do you have a Website that will list my home? Can I have your URL address? Who responds to emails and how quickly?
Many buyers prefer to search online for homes because it’s available 24 hours a day and can be done at home. There are a ton of public sites which will be “syndicated” with your listing. But you also want to make sure your home is listed online, either on the agent’s Website or on their company’s site. Again, additional opportunities for buyers to find your home for sale.
4. How will you keep in contact with me during the selling process, and how often?
Some agents may email, text 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 match your needs with your agent’s processes.
5. What do you do that other agents don’t to ensure I’m getting top dollar for my home? What is your average market time versus other agents’ average market time?
Marketing skills are learned, a real estate professional’s experience in successfully marketing homes they list can make the difference between whether a home sells quickly. For example, find out what marketing services the Realtor plans to provide beyond a sign in the yard and listing your home on the multi-listing service.
6. 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.
7. Do you have a performance guarantee?
In the heavily regulated world of real estate, it can be difficult for an agent to offer a performance guarantee (we actually DO provide a guarantee). If your agent doesn’t have a guarantee, it doesn’t mean they aren’t committed to high standards. Typically, he or she will verbally outline what you can expect from their performance. But having a performance guarantee is like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae.
8. How will you get paid? How are your fees structured? May I have that in writing?
In Colorado, the seller pays all agent commissions. 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. We don’t charge any extra fees or minimums when we sell a home for clients. But we’ve become aware of some who do. You should make yourself aware of the big picture before you sign any agreements. Ask for an estimate of extra costs, if any, from the agent you’re thinking of engaging.
9. 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; and the “market” determines the value of your home. Access to current property information is essential, and sometimes a pre-appraisal will help. Ask your agent how they created the market analysis for determining the best selling price, and whether your agent included For Sale by Owner homes, foreclosed homes and bank owned sales in that list.
10. What will you do to sell my home? Who determines where and when my home is marketed/ promoted? Who pays for your advertising?
Ask your real estate agent to present to you a clear plan of how they will market and advertise your home. If there are other forms of marketing available but not specified in the plan ask who pays for those. Request samples or case studies of the types of marketing strategies that your agent proposes (such as Internet Websites, print magazines, open houses, and local publications).
When you’re ready to sell your home, give us a call and ask us these ’10 questions sellers should ask their Realtor’. Hopefully, you’ll like our answers!