Ten Questions You Should Absolutely, Positively
Get Answered Before You Sell Your Home!
Not all real estate agents are the same. If you decide to seek the help of an agent when selling or buying your home, you need the right information before you make a decision to sign a listing agreement.
Picking the right agent is one of those critical issues that can cost or save you thousands of dollars. There are very specific questions that you should be asking to ensure that you get the best representation for your needs. Many agents would prefer that you don’t ask these questions, because the knowledge you will gain from their honest answers will give you a very good idea of what outcome you can expect from using this agent. Let’s face it – in real estate, as in life – not all things are created equal.
Hiring a real estate agent is like any hiring process – with you on the boss’ side of the desk. It’s critical that you make the right decision about who will handle what is maybe one of the single largest financial investments you will ever make. You should ask your agents the following questions:
1. Do you make it easy for buyers to get information about my home?
In addition to using the multiple listing service you may be surprised to know that the other two marketing tools that agents use to sell homes (open houses and big company ads) are actually not very effective at all. In fact, according the National Association of Realtors®, less than 3% of people purchase their home as a result of calling on a company ad, and less than 1% of homes are sold at an open house.
Furthermore, the prospects calling for information on your home probably value their time as much as you do. The last thing they want to be subjected to is either a game of telephone tag with an agent or an unwanted sales pitch.
2. What is your commission and why are you worth it?
Don’t ever agree to any commission unless you are shown exactly how this agent earns it. Fact: real estate commissions are NOT set by law! Your new agent should be able to show you how to make money, not cost you money.
3. Specifically, how do you attract buyers?
The agent should be able to explain, step-by-step, how they attract buyers and show you evidence. If they can’t, hire another agent! Do not hire any agent who tells you their reputation will somehow attract buyers. Make them prove it!
4. What has been sold in my area?
Agents should bring you a list of comparable sales in your area. It should include expireds, cancelleds, and pendings. They should be scientifically compared by square footage, amenities, and emotional aspects.
5. What specific advertising will you be doing to get your home sold?
If they expect to get your home sold by using only a big company ad, open houses, or a mediocre website then you are in big trouble. Make them be specific and put what advertising they promise in writing.
6. On average, when your listings sell, how close is the selling price to the asking price?
Their performance on this measurement will help you predict how high of a price you will get for the sale of your home.
7. How many buyers are you currently working with? Do you have a list? How do you track your buyers?
Obviously, the more buyers your agent is working with, the better your chances are of selling your home quickly. It will also impact price because an agent with many buyers can set up an auction-like atmosphere where many buyers bid on your home at the same time. Ask them to see the list and describe the system they use for working with these buyers. They should have the list of buyer with them at ALL times. If they have a lot of buyers, they will certainly need a computerized system to keep track of them. If they can’t or won’t show you a list of their buyers, hire another agent.
8. What makes you different? Why should I list my home with you?
It’s a much different real estate market than it was even one year ago. What unique plans and programs does this agent have in place to make certain that your home stands out favorably among other competing homes? What things does this agent offer you that others don’t to help sell your home with the least amount of hassle and for the most amount of money? What type of technology do you use to help sell my home? Can you give me a demonstration of that technology?
9. Can I cancel my listing at any time? Don’t ever sign anything unless this agent can guarantee, in writing, that they will cancel your listing at any time if you decide not to you’re your home, if you are not satisfied with the service being provided, or if the problem cannot be solved.
10. Ask them how their services compare to other companies and be specific. Ask them about specific companies.
If they say anything negative about another company and try to make another company look bad, hire another agent. Get the facts for yourself. Also, if they brag about how many homes they sell, how good they are, or that they are number one – run the other way! It seems that every real estate company is claiming to be number one anymore.