Questions to Ask a Realtor When Selling a Home
Since home prices have gone up almost everywhere , you may have decided to sell your home. To get the most out of your property, you need to hire a good real estate agent who knows how to appraise, sell, and negotiate effectively. To find the right agent, you will need to ask the right questions – for example, the ones below.
Find a potential agent first
You can find an agent by researching local agents online or using the Find a Realtor search tool, but more often than not, home sellers find an agent through their personal network (40% according to the National Association of Realtors ). Of course, even a recommendation from someone you trust should be treated with suspicion. You will want to schedule an interview with any potential agent and ask them the following questions:
What are your real estate credentials?
Knowledge is confidence. Make sure your agent is licensed by your state and meets the minimum education, training and testing levels. Also, ask if they are a realtor, which means that they have received additional training and adhere to a strict code of ethics as members of the National Association of Realtors (approximately 50% of agents are realtors). The organization also has all sorts of impressive certifications your realtor can hold, including the top certification known as Certified Residential Specialist (which is held by about 4% of realtors nationwide). “Broker” is another designation associated with additional education (it gives the realtor the right to control ordinary agents).
What is your experience selling homes?
Ideally, you will need an agent with some experience. Look for at least three years of experience selling residential properties, especially ones like yours. Since selling a home is a legal process with many moving parts within a limited time frame, an experienced agent will have a better understanding of potential pitfalls (such as changing market conditions or bad checks) and how to deal with them calmly.
The trade-off here is that you are likely to pay for this experience with higher fees (6% – national average ). You may be able to negotiate a lower commission rate with a less experienced agent, but that comes with some added risk. But that doesn’t mean they’re not a rising star. You’ll want to ask about their track record, which leads to our next question:
What is your level of success?
Ask your prospective agent about the listing and sales dates of their most recent transactions; you are looking for completed sales within a couple of months, not homes that take months or years to sell (especially in a good market). A good agent should have a clear understanding of how much your home is worth. Ask for their average selling price to list price ratio : More than 100% means your agent consistently sells homes at above the list price, which is what you would expect from a top selling agent. However, the ratio of market value to price has its limits: market valuation is not an exact science, and even good agents can post list prices that are slightly overpriced. But experience has shown that an average rate below 100% tells you that your agent is consistently selling homes below the quoted price.
How much do you think my house is worth and why?
You don’t want to hire an agent just because they offer the highest list price. Your agent’s job is to accurately estimate the value of your home using the latest market data and apple-to-apple comparisons in recently sold similar homes. They should be able to explain their thought process and convincingly justify their price with specific examples. You will also need an agent who knows your area inside and out.
What’s your marketing plan?
When hiring, your agent will add your home to a home database called the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), schedule open house days, or otherwise arrange for buyers to visit your property. But this is just the minimum. Your potential agent should be able to offer both offline and online marketing. They should be able to take high-quality images of your home, both video and photo; promote your property on social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter); and print quality glossy brochures (especially for open houses). A good agent will have good ideas for the production and will be able to suggest a professional director if you agree that it is necessary.
The interview will help you determine if your realtor is right for you. You need a patient, objective and resourceful agent. If you feel like they are forcing you to hire them, leave.
What other good questions could you ask a potential agent? Let us know in the comments.