Here are 10 suggested questions to ask an agent before deciding which one might represent you best:
1. Would it be better to meet with me at the property or in your office?
It is ideal if your agent’s office is within 15 minutes of your home. That will assure greater familiarity with your area and more effective networking with other agents. By interviewing in their personal office you can get a sense of their organization, energy, and the feeling their staff radiates.
2. What is your experience and track record in real estate?
How many years and how many homes they have sold may indicate more wisdom from experience. Reviewing a list of their sales for the past two years and find out what percentage of their listings do not sell too. Note if they share their average sale-to-list price ratio and how it compares to the market average. See if they offer you several names and phone numbers of references to call.
3. Do you have any specialized training or background for this work, or on-going educational activities?
Agents with college degrees may have better writing and verbal communication skills. Those who also have a Broker’s license may have more knowledge. Agents who regularly attend seminars, participate in networking groups and conference calls, subscribe to professional magazines, etc. might have more expertise to better serve you.
4. What preparations do you recommend before we put our home on the market?
See if they suggest any “staging” ideas, which might indicate some expertise in that area. See if they advise pre-inspections, which could show a higher degree of care and willingness to provide extra services to minimize later hassles for you.
5. How would you propose marketing our home?
See how many extra color ads they offer, which publications they guarantee to use for you, and what type of special materials they would produce. Find out if they have a personal Internet website, what extra exposure they would provide on various other sites, and whether they offer “Featured Home” status on key sites such as Realtor.com.
6. What pricing strategy would you recommend?
There is both a science and an art to pricing. Their answer may show the degree of skills in competitive positioning, and if they have a method for assuring you the highest price and at the right time for your needs.
7. What staff or team support do you provide?
Some agents now have an assistant to handle numerous administrative functions. The highest level of service is provided by an agent with a team of specialists – so there is always someone available to answer the phone, attend lengthy inspections, be on top of marketing and advertising details, coordinate scheduling of property showings, keep on top of escrow issues, and help assure that all disclosure requirements are met.
8. How available are you, and how flexible is your schedule?
Some agents generally prefer to work only five days a week. Others are willing to answer calls and pages seven days a week, and will show their listings any day most convenient to the buyers.
9. How would you handle multiple offers?
Some agents have little or no experience or skills to deal with the complex and emotional issues that come up when more than one buyer is found at the same time. Seasoned veterans may have a special system to manage the process to a sellers’ best advantage.
10. Why should I list my home with you?
See if their answers shows a professional commitment to service, a “good fit” for helping you accomplish your goal, a positive and enthusiastic attitude toward the work, an appreciation and honest respect for your needs. Try to feel if there would be a good rapport with them and if you would feel compatible with their style and attitude.
Please call me if you would like additional guidelines on “How To Select A Real Estate Agent.”
Michael Edlen provides real estate counseling services to prospective buyers and sellers and helps over 50 clients each year to move. Most of his business is derived from a referral base of over 900 past clients. More tips and information are available on his website, www.MichaelEdlen.com. He can be reached at 310.230.7373 or Michael@ MichaelEdlen.com.