Buying a home is a big deal. Selling a home is a big deal. You’re feeling overwhelmed and need to call on the help of a professional to assist! But you shouldn’t jump on the first agent that appears in your Google search. Savvy consumers interview potential real estate agents before deciding which agent to hire. Don’t expect a top producing agent to meet you at home. Chat it up on the phone or meet in the agent’s office. Make sure to limit your questions to the most important ones for you and your needs. Below are seven of the most important questions to ask a real estate agent.
What Is Your Area Of Focus?
This question requires an answer that is two-fold.
1. Area means city or neighborhood. The answer will give you an idea of how many local transactions they have done. It’s advised you ask how many homes they have sold in a particular area in the last twelve months.
2. It also means the type of property: condo or detached, recreational, luxury, fixer-upper, and brand new. In every field, some specialists can help you handle one thing better than another. Real estate is no exception. If your agent is a pro with condos, ask which were the last three they closed on. If they were houses, ask about those too!
Are You A Full-Time Real Estate Agent?
There are plenty of agents dabbling in the business part-time to make some extra cash. While these agents are probably okay, they lack the knowledge and commitment it takes to market, show your property and sell. Also, they are likely less skilled in the art of real estate negotiation needed to score the best deal on your behalf.
Inexperienced agents may not know the best way to prep a home for sale. They might miss details such as condo association regulations, for example. They may not understand the nuances of specific building materials and how they hold up over time. You want somebody seasoned, with more than a year or two under their belts.
How Many Clients Are You Currently Working With?
The higher the number, the more you should question whether the agent will have the time to devote to you and your needs. On the flip side, if the answer is zero, that could be a red flag that this particular agent might not have the experience or level of success you’re looking for. You shouldn’t judge an agent only by their number. However, you should feel comfortable asking some follow-up questions to get an explanation, and the agent should be confident in their answers.
Can You Provide References?
An experienced and skilled agent should be able to give you a handful of people on the spot. You should be careful to ask for the last three clients they worked with. It’s your chance to get some honest feedback since the agent can’t go way back in time to select particular clients. Call up these people and determine if the agent is the professional they say they are.
Don’t hesitate to do your own investigating. People know how to speak their minds on the internet. So lucky for you, the agent is likely to have reviews online. A quick Google search could tell you all you need to know.
What Is Your Marketing Strategy?
The “for sale” sign pitched in the front yard is great and all, but it just skims the surface when it comes to selling strategies. The internet is flooded with digital marketing tactics that are essential to getting your listing the exposure it needs in the competitive climate.
Will your home be posted on Multiple Listing Service? What about social media sites, like Facebook and Instagram? Online virtual tours? Print advertising, like newspaper ads and flyers? Open houses? Get all the details. People will judge your house before they even step foot in the front door. Everything from the property description and photos to Facebook feature should scream “Buy me!”
What Is Your Average List-To-Sale-Price Ratio?
The agent’s list-to-sale-price ratio tells you how close the agent has come to scoring the amount of the asking price. Remember, the agent’s average ratio depends on the market. An excellent buyer’s agent can negotiate sales prices that are lower than the list price for the buyers. A competent listing agent should hold a track record of negotiating sales prices that are very close to list prices. So the higher ratios closer to 100% is what you’re looking to score. Keep in mind that sizzling seller’s markets can skew this number. So while the rate is essential, you want to consider the whole picture.
Will You Help Me Find Other Professionals?
Let the real estate agent explain to you which professionals they choose to work with and why. The agent should be able to provide you with a healthy list of contacts–everything from mortgage brokers to home inspection services to title companies to roofers. Ask for an explanation if you see the term “affiliated,” as this could mean the agent and broker could be receiving compensation from one or all of the vendors, and you could be paying a premium for the service.
You got all the technical aspects covered, but there is still one question: Do you feel comfortable working with the real estate agent? Be wary of agents who don’t ask you questions and probe you for your motivation. You’re not about to work with any real estate agent off the street. Good agents will be just as selective about their clients, too. If your real estate agent discusses prices with you and takes the time to explain his or her side when you disagree, then you know you’ve found a good agent.
Finding a great real estate agent shouldn’t have to be difficult. That’s why we created Clever. Clever uses top local real estate agents to help you buy and sell while saving money. Call us today at 1-833-2-CLEVER or fill out our online form to get started.