Questions Every Seller Should Ask

Potential Real Estate Agents

 

So you've decided to list your home, and you're ready to begin the process.  You know that the first step is to hire a GREAT real estate agent, but you want to make sure that you make this listing count, because this is not only the biggest investment of your life, but you also understand the importance of choosing the right real estate agent to help you along with this process.  From experience to marketing strategies, there are so many things to consider when you are looking to hire someone to help you with this endeavor.  It is so important that you give yourself options during this time.  Be sure that you do some research into the real estate agents in your area, and also know that it's a great advantage to interview more than one agent.  By interviewing a few agents, you can get a good idea of what is working in your market, as well as what isn't working.  The trouble is, it can be difficult to know what to ask, because there are certain things that you wouldn't know about unless you were very educated on the housing market.  Here is a list of questions that you should be asking every agent you meet with, so that you may better understand who would work best for your needs.

 

 


 

  • How long have you worked in Real Estate?
    • This question is general but so important.  A fresh face has a lot of advantages in most cases, but in the real estate market, you're much better off to be working with someone who has been in the industry for a long time.  Those "seasoned" agents have seen the market fluctuate over the years, and they have learned to be successful during all kinds of housing market circumstances.  Furthermore, their experience with all aspects of the buying and selling processes can be such a huge advantage for you, the seller.  They will be able to recommend the best of the best of any service providers you may need, from inspectors to electricians to lendors to movers.  





  • Do you have any advanced real estate designations or education?
    • This particular question is essential in your interview process.  In the ever-changing real estate marketplace, you want to be sure that you choose someone to represent you who works dilligently to keep up with the trends and technologies.  As quickly as technology changes and develops, the best ways to market in real estate change along with it.  Talk with the agents with whom you interview to make sure that they are committed to keeping up with their trade to be more effective.  Ask them how often they attend conventions, and ask them how they plan on continuing to keep up with technology and the changing marketing landscape.  It's hard to know what any of the acronyms they will mention mean, or which ones to look out for, so to help you get an idea, you can find a list of common real estate designations and their definitions here.




  • How much real estate have you sold in your career?
    • This question is in the same realm as, "How long have you worked in real estate," except that the answer to this question gives more insight into effectiveness.  If your agent has been working for many years in real estate, but he or she hasn't sold nearly as much as another agent who has been in the business for a comparable amount of time, you may reconsider choosing the agent.  An agent can work very hard, but if they are not producing the results they should be or could be, they probably aren't the person you want to hire.




  • Where do you rank in market share statistics?
    • This question is important, because these answers will give you more insight into what agent is the best in your area.  By asking to see their market share rankings, you are making sure that you are presented with concrete evidence of their ability to deliver great results.  Talk to them about other realtors who compete with them, and ask what they think is responsible for their ranking as compared to the rankings of others.  Remember, it may seem like an agent has the upper hand in an interview process, because they come in with plenty of information and experience, but you are interviewing them.  If they're good at what they do, they'll be able to answer all your questions with ease, and this question is such an important one.




  • How long have you worked in the area?
    • Hiring an agent that has experience in the area where you are selling is so very important.  Real estate markets can vary substantially from town to town, county to county, state to state.  Not to mention, the demographics of certain areas react differently to different homes and marketing strategies.  You want to make sure that you are hiring an agent who knows your area well, as well as the people who live there or would be interested in buying a home in the area. 




  • How many referrals do you receive?
    • Any real estate agent who really does a good job will be more than happy to show you an extensive list of referrals from past clients.  Reading at least a dozen of these is important, because it will give you a great insight into what the agent focuses on, what their strengths are, and how well they communicate and work with their clients.




  • Do you work weekends?
    • So much of the activity that happens regarding a listed home happens during the weekend.  Those who can't make it to view homes during the week schedule their showings for the weekend.  Also, any Open Houses that take place at your home will be occuring during a weekend.  Ask any potential agents you interview how often they work weekends, because this can often give you insight into how committed they are to the success of their listings being sold.  If the agent you are interviewing works with a team, it's a good idea to ask about the members of their team and how often they work weekends, as well.



  • Can you give me an outline for how you will represent me?
    • To move forward with hiring an agent, you want to feel comfortable with them and confident in them.  A big part of how well they do their job is how well they explain the process to you, because the process of selling a home can be complex and extensive.  You are hiring them to take a lot of that stress and pressure off of you, so it's a very good idea to see how they explain the process to you, as well as whether or not they give you a physical outline of what to expect.  This step shows a level of professionalism that is essential to a successful and smooth real estate transaction.



  • Do you have a marketing program?
    • A marketing program that is intensive and comprehensive is essential in today's real estate market.  You should be listening for an answer that involves your listing being featured on many listing sites, especially the Multiple Listing Service. You also want to be sure that your listing will get plenty of attention on a variety of social media platforms, because the public is visiting these sites more and more to get details and the latest news on listings.  The importance of online listing management and social media promotion is growing, and it is showing no signs of slowing down.  You want to be sure that you are hiring an agent that takes that importance seriously and is committed to staying active, dilligent, and relevant in the online marketplace.  

Overall, the choice of a real estate agent is ultimately up to the confidence you have in them and how well you connected with them as a person.  However, there are many things you can do to make the interviewing experience better, starting with getting great responses out of them when you ask these questions.  A great agent will be able to offer you everything you have asked for, as well as more.