In today’s market, hiring the right agent to sell your house has never been more important. Hiring the wrong agent can delay the sale of your house for months. You need to interview an agent to learn about their background, to see what they know about your neighborhood, and to find out if they are a good fit with you and your lifestyle.
Here are some important questions you should ask each agent you interview.
1. How many years have you been involved in real estate?
Ideally you want a career real estate agent that has been in the industry for at least 2 or 3 years. Or at least you want to make sure that they are under the direct supervision of someone with 3 to 5 years of experience.
2. Are you a REALTOR and do you have any special real estate accredited designations or certifications? How would those designations benefit me?
All REALTORS are licensed real estate agents, but not all licensed real estate agents are REALTORS. REALTORS hold themselves to a higher standard in addition to the standards required by the state licensing board plus in most areas, only Realtors can access their local MLS.
3. Is real estate your full-time career or a part-time career?
You only want a professional full-time real estate agent to sell your house. To do it right, real estate is a full-time job. You shouldn’t hire an agent that only spends a few hours a week on the job.
4. What makes you a better choice for me than your competition?
Use this question to discover how competitive they are and how well they have researched the market and their competition, especially in your area. Their answers can also reveal their level of experience too.
5. Are you a member of a team and who would I be working with?
A team is a group of agents that service the same customers. Usually one agent does a specific task or works with a particular client or specific area. Find out how their team works. There are advantages to working with teams however their approach may seem less personal. Make sure you feel comfortable with the way their team operates and how they will service you. Also make sure that you have a list of teammates and their duties and contact information.
6. Do you or a member of your team speak a foreign language?
If your neighborhood has a large portion of non-English speaking residents, an agent that speaks the language may be able to better market to those non-English speaking residents. Ask your agent how they would address a non-English speaking customer.
7. How accessible are you and how often will you contact me?
One of the biggest criticisms about agents is a lack of communication. Make sure your agent knows what you think is an appropriate level of communication and that you want as many contact numbers as possible. If they do give you their home number, please be considerate of how you use it.
8. Do you just work with sellers, or do you represent buyers too?
There’s nothing wrong with working with both as long as they don’t spread their time too thin. Buyers take up a lot of an agent’s time when showing homes. Find out their ratio of buyers to sellers.
9. How many clients are you currently working with and what’s the ratio of buyers to sellers?
Once again, just make sure they don’t spread themselves too thin. Make sure they have enough time to sell your house and the buyer connections to show your house to.
10. How do you deal with disclosed dual-agency?
Dual-agency is a tricky situation where the agent represents both the buyer and seller of the same transaction. When representing both sides, they in effect can not really represent either side well. If that sounds like an awkward explanation, I assure you the law is even more unclear. Read “Information about Brokerage Services” to learn about the law of agency. This is a standard form published by the Texas Real Estate Commission for agents licensed in Texas.
11. What areas of town do you specialize in?
Ideally, they should be familiar with your area. However, it may not be the only area they specialize in. If they say they specialize in the entire DFW area, remember that the DFW metroplex is an area of 9,286 square miles, making it larger in area than Rhode Island and Connecticut combined according to Wikipedia.com. Have them narrow it down a bit.
12. What can you tell me about the demographics of my neighborhood? How will you use this information to my advantage to market my home?
This question reveals how much they know about your area and how specialized their marketing campaign can be tailored to your specific location.
13. How will you determine the appropriate sales price for my home?
Usually this is done by comparing sales activity of similar houses. The big debate is how your house compares to other houses that have sold. They may be able to offer ideas to improve your house and make it sell for more. If done correctly, all of the agents you interview should price your home pretty close to the other agents. If an agent prices your house significantly higher or lower than the other agents’ prices, find out why they priced it that way. Remember, if it’s too good to be true then it usually is. Some agents promise to list your house at a high price knowing that once you’ve signed the agreement, they can make you lower it to a reasonable amount later on. That wastes time and the longer your house sits on the market, the less money you’ll sell it for.
14. How are you going to advertise my home? How often will you hold open houses? How will you promote it?
Make sure they don’t just list it in MLS and plant a sign in your yard. They may advertise in newspapers, magazines and other publications both in print and online. Open houses are also a way to promote your house, but their effectiveness is up for debate and in most cases only benefit the agent by attracting new buyer clients. Ask your agent about their views on open houses.
15. What does the listing agreement entail? What are the starting and expiration dates? What’s your commission and how negotiable is it?
Make sure you read the contract and ask them to leave you a copy. Be sure you understand It before you sign it. The important things to know are when the starting and expiration dates are, how much the commissions and fees are, and how to terminate the agreement due to non-performance. Remember, if you have a problem with the agent, you can always ask AgentHarvest to talk with them.
16. What haven’t I asked you that I need to know?
This is the best way to ask for references. You may even be lucky enough to actually know the homeowner. Be sure to ask the homeowner lots of questions related to likes, dislikes, and the agent’s performance compared to what he/she promised.
17. One blog reader recommended that you ask the agent for a list of the homes he/she sold near yours, call those homeowners and ask them how they liked working with that agent.
Learn what they think is important for you to know. Remember, it’s their job to help you understand and become comfortable with the process.
18. The most important question you need to ask is the question you must ask yourself…
Do I think this agent will do a good job selling my home and can I work with him/her to achieve this goal?
Looking for Real Estate Agents to interview? You can find top-selling agents in your area by using AgentHarvest’s free agent-finder service.
Now that you have all this information, what comes next? Read over all the information they gave you. Read over the contracts, look at their handouts and compare each agent. Ask the agents questions if you do not understand anything. You can also email any questions to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org too if I can be of help.