With the spring real estate market right around the corner many people start to think about making a move and hiring a realtor. But what are the right questions to ask when interviewing an agent? Here are some great ones that will help you make sure that you choose the best agent.
How long have you been in the business?
Agents tend to learn on the job. So generally, the more sales an agent has completed, the more they know. The length of time an agent has been in the business can mean the difference between knowing how to handle a difficult situation or not recognizing the signs of a potential problem before it develops into a crisis. Many agents continue to take courses and attend seminars throughout their career to further their knowledge base. Many new agents have access to experienced mentors to guide them as they learn the ropes.
What is your average list price/sales price ratio?
Market conditions can have a definite impact on an agents list/sales price ratio. But, a rule of thumb in an average market is that a buyers agent should be able to negotiate a sales price that is lower than the list price and the listing agent should be able to negotiate a sales price that is close to the list price.
You should not hire a listing agent simply because they suggest a high listing price and low commission. Agents can’t tell you how much your home will sell for. The buyer will tell you if the price is right. An agent can suggest the list price that will attract a buyer.
How well do you know the area?
It can be an important consideration that your agent is familiar with the area where your property is located if you are a seller, because they will be helping you set the listing price. The same can be true if you are looking to buy in a particular area. Agents who are familiar with an area can help guide you to your perfect home.
What is your marketing plan for the sale of my property?
As a seller you should know exactly how the agent plans to market your property. You should know the marketing efforts that will be employed prior to listing such as staging, photographing and creating a property brochure. After the property has been officially listed, you should know exactly what efforts will be used to market the property. Many agents use real estate websites, email marketing, and open houses among other tactics. Agents with extensive marketing plans provide greater opportunities for exposure to the greatest number of potential buyers.
What is your strategy to help me find the home of my dreams?
You need to know how the agent will search for your new home. If you’re not sure exactly where you want to focus your search, your agent should be able to guide you with their extensive knowledge about all the local communities.
Can you provide references?
All agents will have references that you can call. You should check a minimum of three. You might not need references if the agent has tons of online reviews. If online reviews are available, read what people in your area are saying about that particular agent.
What separates you from your competition?
The characteristics and qualifications that you value most are what’s important here. Some agents will say they are trustworthy, honest, assertive or excellent negotiators. You need to determine what is most important to you.
Can I review the documents I will need to sign ahead of time?
Good real estate agents will provide documents ahead of time for your review and will answer any questions you have about any of the forms. If you see a fee you do not understand, question it. That way you are entering the transaction fully informed.
How much do you charge?
All real estate fees are negotiable. The commission fee agents charge to represent one side of the transaction or the other varies by market. But it is split between the selling and the buying agents, and the seller pays the real estate commission.
Can you help me find other professionals for this transaction?
Agents will often supply you with a list of recommended vendors such as mortgage brokers, inspectors and title companies. You should ask if the agent receives any compensation from any of the vendors.
Do you offer a guarantee?
If you are unhappy with the service your agent is providing, you should know if you will be able to cancel your listing or buying agreement without penalties or obligations. If the agent will not agree to release you upon request from the agreement prior to its expiration, then you should hire another agent.
What else do I need to know?
You want to find an agent who will make you feel comfortable and secure with their knowledge and experience. They should be willing to listen, answer questions and counsel you. And they should have a thorough understanding of what you want. There should be open conversation between you and the agent in order to facilitate a smooth transaction.
Choose the most qualified person for the job with whom you think you’ll work well. The ideal agent is the one who will be your teammate throughout the entire process, quickly and honestly answering your questions, addressing your concerns and listening.
Of course, we would be pleased to meet with you to discuss your real estate plans for 2019. Contact us for a confidential consultation.