11 Questions to ask a REALTOR before you list your house with them.

Selling your home is a big life time project and finding the best agent for you to work with is critical to ensuring a positive experience. Interviewing a few different agents, asking the same type of questions will help you decide what the best choice is for you at this time. After collecting the information, make the choice that is best for you and how you would like to work.

1.   How long have you been selling residential real estate? Is it your full time job?

There is no right or wrong answer here. It is really about what is important to you and your specific piece of property or home.

Just because an agent has been in the business for a long time, does not automatically make them better than the agent who only has a year of experience. Years of experience can be a benefit, when it comes to difficult negotiations and sticky situations, however newer agents typically have more motivation and more time to spend focusing on you since they are still trying to build their business.

A full time agent may be more available to you, than an agent trying to fit real estate into a limited number of hours.

Another thing you should know about is how the agents work in the real estate office. When you phone an office, does only one agent know about a specific property? Or can multiple agents in the office answer your questions.  How available with the information to your listing be for people that may be interested in learning more? Offices that work collaboratively, could be a great help in spreading the information and being helpful with potential buyers.

2.   What is your business philosophy?

Listen to this answer and determine if it fits in with your own personal goals. There is no right or wrong, but they should have an answer!

The answer to this question will help you better understand what you can expect throughout the process.  How transparent will they be? How do they like to work with their clients? This is a relationship that you will have for the time of your listing to sell and potentially for many years afterwards.  Many real estate agents rely on referrals and word of mouth for acquiring new clients.

3.     What is your average List Price to Sales Price ratio?

Listing price versus Sales price… A good agent will be able to tell you what their (or their team/company) average List/Sale price ratio is and compare it to the market as a whole. You want an agent/agency that has an average of 95% or greater.

4.      How will you price my home?

This answer should depend on the type of market you are in. Is the market on the upswing or decreasing at the time of listing? Your home should be priced accurately based on the comparable sales and your competition in the market. Make sure your agent goes over the comparison report with you and ask questions if you don’t understand it.

5.      What is your marketing plan?

Most agents will have a mixed media marketing plan including print ( newspapers, magazines), online ( website, e-newsletters, blog) and social media (Facebook, Pinterest, etc) advertising.  Ask to see examples of their ads so you can compare with other agents materials.

Photographs are essential to your online presentation so make sure your agent has the capability of taking high quality photos or are using a professional photographer.

Your agent should also be able to make recommendations to you regarding staging your home so it is presented to buyers in the best way possible and makes the photos of your home stand out!

6.     Will you be handling every aspect of my transaction on your own or do you have support?

Some agencies offer support staff such as an office coordinator to help set up showings, a sales manager to assist with difficult questions or situations, and a marketing manager to assist the agents in their marketing plans and presenting their listings in a positive, consistent manner.

Each agent has strengths and weaknesses and a great agent will know when to delegate a task to someone. Delegating is not a bad thing.

The ultimate goal should be to provide the best level of service to you as the client.

7.    How will you communicate with me and how often?

Communication is a key component to real estate sales.

Make sure your agent knows which way you prefer to be contacted…email, phone call, text, and have them follow up with you at least once a week with an update and after each showing with feedback.

A good agent will make recommendations to you based on the feedback they receive from buyers or buyer’s agents. Find out which way of communication is the easiest way to reach the agent if you need something.

A collaborative office will have someone available to assist you if your specific agent is unavailable at the time.

8.     May I have copies of the documents I will have to sign?

You have the right to review all documents prior to signing them.

Ask for copies up front so there won’t be any surprises when it comes time to sign them. You should see an Agency Disclosure Form, Listing Agreement, Property Disclosures, required State Disclosures, a Purchase and Sale Agreement, potential Addenda and any others that are company specific.

Read these documents carefully and highlight where you have questions so you can discuss it with your agent.

9.     Can you explain the process to me?

There are many details to cover in the process of selling a home. Make sure you allow enough time for the agent to explain it to you.

Your agent  should be able to tell you all the steps taken from Listing to Closing and how you will be involved in that process.

10.   Do you have a website and or other social media sites?

Just about all agencies will have a website. Make sure you visit their site and see how user friendly it is.This is one way that buyers will find the details on your home. Make sure it is what you expect.

We at Morton  make every effort to assure that clients’ homes that are listed with us, show up at the top of search results .

If they have other sites like Facebook or a blog, take a look and see how involved this agent/agency is.

11.   Why should I hire you over the competition?

Most consumers are searching for an agent who will be Honest, Friendly, Trustworthy, Experienced in the local market, Good Communicator, Available, and Successful in closing the transaction.

After your agent has answered these questions, make sure to ask them “Is there anything else I should know?” They should always have more to add.