Choosing a Realtor – How to Interview a Real Estate Agent, Part II

Here is part II in the How to Interview a Real Estate Agent series.  Be thorough and consistent with each Realtor you interview.  If you decide to use a Real Estate Agent just because they are related to you or perhaps they were referred to you, ask these questions before you sign any contracts – you may be surprised.  Good luck and may the best Realtor win your business! 

What is Your Average Sales-Price-to-List-Price Ratio?  Ask to see market data for the past six months, and then ask to see data supporting your potential Realtor’s sales price to list price ratio.  If you are interviewing a listing agent to sell your home, make sure to review this ratio looking at original listing prices.  This will help to understand if the agent is effectively pricing homes for sale.

How Long Do Your Listings Stay on the Market and What is the Market Average for a Home Like Mine?  If your Realtor has a track record of selling much quicker than the market averages, he may be obtaining low list prices.  If his average time on market is much longer than normal, then perhaps your agent does not have the confidence or savvy to clearly inform you of the market conditions and obtain a realistic list price.  Make sure your agent can explain how much time you can expect to have your home listed at a certain price range and can show you data to support his suggestions.

How Will You Help Me Find Other Professionals?  From maids and plumbers to lenders and home inspectors, your Realtor should have strong connections to professionals who can help or save a deal when things go south. You’re certainly not obligated to use any of these connections; however an agent’s network of service providers can be a valuable resource even after the sale.               

What Are the Top Three Things That Separate You From Your Competition?  Any Real Estate Agent worth his salt should be able to quickly rattle off several reasons why they stand out from the crowd. If an agent can’t successfully sell oneself, ask how they could possibly sell your home!

 Will You Please Provide References?  ALWAYS check references!  Most Realtors are happy to give you a few past clients to call.  Keep in mind you’re not going to get contact info to anyone who might be unhappy with your potential Realtor.  Be prepared with a list of thoughtful questions, (which could be an entire blog post for another day) which require more than just a yes/no answer.  Sometimes agents will post past sales on their websites.  If so, ask if you can speak with the clients who bought or sold a home similar to your own.

 What is Your Best Marketing Plan or Strategy for My Needs?  Times change. So do technologies, economies and markets.  Make sure your agent is adapting to those changes.  According to the National Association of Realtors, 89% of buyers searched the internet looking for homes and 38% of buyers first learned about the home they purchased online.  It’s imperative that Realtors are leveraging the internet and new technologies to maximize your home’s exposure to the market.  YouTube and QR Codes are two resources today’s Realtors should be employing to help sell your home.  

What is Your Opinion of Open Houses & Why?  This is a controversial subject.  Many agents today will not want to hold an Open House.  Statistics show that seldom does a sale result from one.  It’s usually the real estate agent who stands to gain the most from holding an Open House, as they frequently pick up more buyer clients this way.  NAR states that 11% of buyers first learned of the home they purchased from a yard sign or Open House and that while searching for a home, 45% of buyers went to Open Houses.  There are many reasons sellers sometimes do not want to open their homes this way, but if you would like your Realtor to hold an Open House, then insist upon it.  Furthermore, make sure your agent has a plan to create a desire for neighbors to come to the event.

Do You Offer Staging Help?  “Life ain’t certain… Ride your best horse first!”  I read those words on a pint glass, and they apply to selling your home.  Use every advantage possible in today’s – or any market.  If your Realtor gives you staging advice, or even better, provides professional staging help, take it!  A properly staged home can decrease your time on market and increase your sold price.  If your Real Estate Agent does not offer quality help with staging, then find another Realtor!

What Haven’t I Asked You That I Need to Know?  A truly superb Realtor will explain thoroughly every aspect of the home buying or selling process in advance, answering any questions you may have.  Having a proactive agent will greatly help to ensure your experience is a good one and keep your stress levels to a minimum!

I hope these questions will help you, and here’s the link to Part One. How to Interview a Real Estate Agent, Part I.  If you need any Real Estate assistance or help in finding the perfect Realtor in your area, please call me.  I’d love to earn your business!

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