5 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring A Real Estate Agent To Sell Your Home
Selling your home might look and sound easy on the surface but, behind the scenes, it’s complicated with a lot of details and hurdles to work out. Far too often I hear of someone who hired a real estate agent only to be completely unsatisfied, let down, or downright angry with how the sale turned out for varying reasons.
Selecting the right agent to sell your home is a very important decision. Many people work with the first agent they come across with, and that’s recipe for disaster. When you’re talking about selling (or buying for that matter) one of life’s biggest investments, you want to work with the best of the best. Selecting a real estate agent because they’re a family member, friend, or any other reason that isn’t tied to their skill, level of service, and how they conduct business is a mistake. Ask for recommendations, do your research and conduct interviews to find an agent you not only know is qualified for the job but, who is also an agent you like and trust.
One of the signs you should be looking for when looking for a quality real estate agent is the questions they ask you. Chances are, the more the real estate agent knows, the more questions they're going to ask you.
In return, you should also be asking them questions on how they plan on selling your home. Here are some of the most important questions you should be asking them:
How Will You Market My Home?
I’m not talking about putting a sign in the yard or putting your home in the MLS. Those are basics. You want your home to sell for top dollar in the shortest time possible and that means you want an agent who has a custom marketing plan for your home. Ask to see what the agent has done to market their past listings. Seeing examples of their work will show you if it’s the quality of marketing you want for your home. Check to see how they market homes. Do they use direct email campaigns? How often would they advertise your home? What kind of photos would they use to make the home you are selling more appealing to potential buyers? Are the photos high quality with the right lighting? Photos are essential since these will be the primary visuals that potential buyers will see before they decide to visit your home for viewing.
How would the staging be? Staging is also important since this would be the initial preparation of your home to make a lasting and positive first impression on potential buyers.
Do they have a well-established blog that ranks well with Google? Having a highly visible blog on Google will definitely increase the chance of your home to be bought in no time. The more visible the real estate agent's site is, the more people will be able to view the home you have for sale.
Do they target market on social media? Aside from online marketing, a good real estate agent would think of other things to increase the visibility of your home. They could set up an open house so that potential buyers can get a better look and feel of the house that's for sale.
Have they thought about who is likely to buy your home? If you have a 1 bedroom, 1 bath condo, the odds of a family with children purchasing it aren’t high so you need an agent that knows who and how to target. Marketing is not just throwing things against the wall to see if they stick. Effective marketing should be planned out from start to finish, and a good real estate agent will be able to see the potential problems you could encounter along the way.
What Do You Think My Home Is Worth?
Next up is determining a suitable price for your home before you put it up for sale in the real estate market. Pricing is a key component of a listing agent’s job. In order to determine the proper price for your home, a real estate agent must create a comparative market analysis. This would help them gauge the worth of your house by means of comparison with other homes for sale nearby. Having a comparison, you will have a better idea of what your house is actually worth, and how much people are willing to purchase your house.
An agent has to price your home just right and that means they need to understand the current market and be able to thoroughly research and correctly interpret data. Data is readily available to the public but, data is worthless if you don’t know how to analyze and correctly interpret it. Ask the agent why they think your home is worth the amount they tell you. If they’re a great agent, they’ll be prepared to show you the data and then explain it in detail.
And please, do not just go with the agent who gives you the highest number. Although a high price does sound attractive for you financially, remember that your home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay and if an agent gives you a number that isn’t supported by market data, your home isn’t going to sell. There are unfortunately some agents who will tell you what you want to hear just to get you to agree to list with them and then you’ll be facing a price drop when your home doesn’t sell.
What Is Your Average Sale To List Price Ratio On Past Listings?
Determining a real estate agent's ration depends entirely on the market. If you are comparing agents and ask this question, you will get an idea of how accurate the agent is on pricing a home and how well they can negotiate. Remember, a good real estate agent has the capability to haggle sales prices that are close to the list prices. Be sure to ask for the ratio from the original list price. Working with an agent who has a strong sale to list price ratio average can be the difference in thousands of dollars. For example, with an average sale price of $500,000 - if one agent has an average sale to list price ratio of 95% and another agent has one of 97% that’s a difference of $10,000!
What Type Of Communication Will You Provide?
You’re entering into a relationship when you hire an agent to sell your home and while it might be tied to business it’s like any other relationship – good communication can be the difference in success and failure. As a seller, you need to be in the loop and be constantly updated with what's happening with your home for sale. Your agent should be able to tell you how often you can expect to receive updates, what hours of the day you can contact them, how long you can expect for it to take them to respond, and what methods of communication they use. Most of the time, real estate agents fail to give updates to their clients and would only contact them once an offer has been placed. Even though an offer hasn't been placed on your home yet, your real estate agent should be able to give you updates on what people are looking for in your home based on previous viewers. This way, you could make the necessary improvements in your home and be able to sell it as soon as possible. An excellent agent is going to ask you what methods of communication you prefer because they’ll want you to feel comfortable and well informed. Some real estate agents would offer to send you emails, give you daily calls, while others are even willing to go as far as seeing you personally to let you know the status of your house for sale.
Another question to ask about communication is if you will exclusively be working with the agent or if the agent has a team that will be involved. If you want to work with an agent who operates their business by providing exclusive contact with you this is an important question to ask. There is no right or wrong answer, it’s just a matter of what you are looking for in an agent. Not every agent operates their business the same way.
Do You Have Any Questions For Me?
I think this is the most important question you can ask an agent. Anyone can ask how much you want to sell your home for, how many beds and baths it has, or even what you want in a new home but, an agent’s priorities and mindset are exposed by the questions they ask you. As with any other professional, not all agents are created equal. An agent who takes the time to get to know you, learn about your goals and what your priorities are is priceless. What differentiates a good agent from a rock star agent is their ability to learn, understand, and deliver the level of service you’re looking for.
There are still a whole lot of other questions you could ask a real estate agent before you decide to hire them. This is far from an all-inclusive list of questions to ask an agent when it’s time to sell your home. These items are here to give you an idea of where to start to get a dialogue going with the agents you select to interview. Do your homework and work with an agent who you trust and feel confident will not only provide your home with the best marketing but, who will also provide you with the best service.