How To Hire A Real Estate Agent

Dated: July 7 2015

Views: 543

Selling (and buying) a house is one of the biggest transactions you will ever make. One of the most important decisions you have in regard to selling your home, is selecting your real estate agent. Choosing the wrong realtor could delay the sale of your home and cost you money. After all, you will be paying a realtor a lot of money to sell your home. So do your research and make sure the one you pick has a proven track record of success and will meet your needs. (You don’t want an agent to take advantage of your inexperience and end up costing you a pretty penny!)

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I encourage you to use some or all of these interview questions to gather the information you need from potential agents in order to find a good fit.

Q. How long have you been in the real estate business?

A. We were all new once upon a time – but you’ll need to decide if you want to trust this job to a newbie.

Q. Is real estate your full time job?

A. You’ll want to decide how important it is to you that real estate is your agent’s #1 priority.

Q. Ask the agent if they’re a member of a team. 

A. Teams have pros and cons. Find out if you’ll be working with just the agent you’re meeting with or if another team member will have assigned responsibilities to sell your house.  Just know who’s in charge of what.

Q. Contact information and hours of accessibility are important to understand up front.

A. If your agent only returns calls between 8-9am and you can’t reach them the rest of the day, that might be a problem.  Find out what their schedule is and the best way to contact them if you have questions.  Personally, I try not to work past 8pm and try to take at least one day off a week.  Every agent is different.

Q. How often does the agent plan to contact you?

A. You deserve regular reports on the marketing exposure your agent is achieving for your house.  They should also be able to provide feedback after showings and make recommendations so that you can help the house look better to prospective buyers.  This question will also help you communicate your expectations to the agent.  If you want to be contacted by phone every other day at 9:45am – this is your chance to speak up.

Q. How many listings did you sell last year?

A. This is a tricky question because quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality and vice versa.  You can also ask how many buyers they represented in sales last year.  Overall you want to make sure that the agent has a clear strategy for listing homes and it doesn’t hurt to have knowledge into the buyer’s mind.

Q. You can ask the agent for their sales statistics. For example, how many days on average were their listings on the market last year?  What was their average sale price to list price for those listings? 

A. The agent’s answer will tell you many things. Not all agents track their performance but wouldn’t it be good to work with someone that tracks everything?  The average number of days on the market is a good discussion point for many reasons.  If the days on the market are very low – was the market hot? On the flipside, if the days on market are higher than average – is that because the agent prices the home too high to start?  Or, perhaps they let the seller price the home (too high!) and didn’t provide guidance to the ramifications of this decision? OR, maybe it was one listing that was against all odds and just took forever to sell which ruined the statistic for the year? (It happens.)  Similar conversation points with the average sale price to list price.  The key is for you to gain confidence in your agent – that they know what they’re doing and are competent to represent you.

Q. Make sure you understand how the agent intends to market your home. 

A. Having any strategy is better than none at all.  But, be careful with this one - is posting the listing on the company website enough?  Does the agent advertise your listing? What about professional photography? (Instagram doesn’t qualify here.) Do they believe in using national websites to their advantage?

Q. Does the agent you’re interviewing offer a cancellation policy?

A. This is a tricky area because the agent deserves to protect the results of their efforts (in hopes to be paid) but if they are legitimately not doing a good job – do you have the right to terminate the contract early?

Q. Does the agent have references for homes sold?

A. This one is a no-brainer – if they’re a rock star, there will be references.  Here’s a hint – I have more than 100 reviews on Zillow. Rock star status? You decide:

Q. If you’re still not sure about this agent you can trip them up with a standard interview question, “What separates you from your competition and why should I choose you?”

A. Personally, I would have covered this information much earlier in the conversation (as the agent being interviewed) so if you still don’t know the answer to the question – that might be an answer in itself.

Q. You can ask the agent if they negotiate on the commission to sell your house.

A. Remember, you get what you pay for.  I would wonder if an agent cut their commission that fast – do they know their value?  Are they ultimately going to provide you the best service? Or, will you get cut rate service? 

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A good real estate agent will make sure you feel comfortable and secure with his/her knowledge and experience.

While many of these questions are straightforward and specific, these are all things you deserve the answers to.  And I can assure you that a confident, experienced, and hard working realtor will have NO problems answering all of these and more. You owe it to yourself. No one will judge you about being a little choosy. Every agent is different,and you HAVE the right to be choosy. Pick a WINNER!

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I’m in the business of giving it to you straight, I won’t shy away from uncomfortable subjects - even if it means that I might have to work a little harder to prove that I’m the kind of agent you want working for you. Contact me and let’s discuss why I am the right fit for you.

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Heather Wright

In the competitive Des Moines market, Heather Wright combines client-focused service, innovative marketing techniques, and a decade of experience to make sure that your buying or selling experience is....

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