Ten Questions to Ask a Realtor Before Hiring

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Real Estate

Choosing the right agent to handle the sale of your home can save you thousands of dollars. If you are considering selling your home and are interviewing agents to help you, here are some questions to use during the interview process.

10 Questions To Ask Your Realtor

1. Are you a full-time professional Realtor? How long have you worked full time in real estate? What professional designations do you have?

Knowing whether or not your Realtor practices real estate on a full-time basis can give you a piece of the puzzle in foreseeing scheduling conflicts and, overall, his or her commitment to your transaction. As with any profession, the number of years a person has been in the business does not necessarily reflect the level of service you can expect, but it is a good starting point for your discussion. The same issue can apply to professional designations.

2. Do you have a personal assistant, team, or staff to handle different parts of the sales transaction? What are their names and how will each of them help me in my transaction? How do I communicate with them? Do you offer a complimentary Buyer's consultation prior to working with me?

It is not uncommon for high real estate sales producers to hire people to work for them or with them. They typically work on a referral basis, and, as their businesses grow, they must be able to deliver the same or higher quality service to more clients. You may want to be clear about who on the team will take part in your transaction, and what role each person will play. You may even want to meet the other team members before you decide to work with the team overall. If you needed help with a certain part of your home sale, who should you talk to and how would you communicate? If you have a question about fees on your closing statement, who would handle that? Who will show up to your closing? These are just a few of the many important considerations in working with a team.

3. Do you have a website and app that will provide me with useful information for home research, communities, your services, as well as more information about you? 

Some home buyers prefer to initially search online for homes and home buying information. There are certain privacy and comfort levels that you might appreciate in starting a preliminary search this way, and often it is just a matter of convenience, having 24-hour access to information. 

4. How will you keep in contact with me during the buying process, and how often?

It's a good idea for you to set your expectations reasonably in accordance with how your Realtor conducts business. You may be looking for an agent to call, text, or email you every days to tell you about prospective buyers who have seen your home. On the other hand, your Realtor may have access to systems that will notify you automatically each time a new visitor tours your home (which could happen several times a day or several times a week). Asking this extra question can help you to reconcile your needs with your Realtors way of doing things, which makes for a far more satisfying relationship and allows the Realtor to adapt to your needs.

.5. Can you explain one thing that you do that other agents don't do that ensures I'm getting top dollar for my property? What is your average market time versus other agents' average market time?

Marketing skills are learned, and sometimes a real estate professional's unique method of research and delivery make the difference between whether or not a property sells quickly. For example, an agent might research the demographics of your neighborhood and target online ads to them, as well as call active buyers in this demographic.

6. Will you give me names of past clients who will give references for you?

Interviewing a Realtor to help you buy a home can be very similar to interviewing someone to work in your office. Contacting a Realtors references can be a reliable way for you to understand how he or she works, and whether or not this style is compatible with your own. The Realtor may list reviews on their website and you can also look at reviews on sites like Zillow. and Realtor.com.

7. Do you have a performance guarantee? If I am not satisfied with your performance, can I terminate our listing agreement?

Understand, that especially in the heavily regulated world of real estate, it can be increasingly difficult for a Realtor to offer a performance guarantee. Sometimes you may find a Realtor who is willing to guarantee that if you are dissatisfied in any way with their service they will terminate your listing agreement. I offer a cancellation clause to all of my home buyers and sellers. I understand the importance of win-win business relationships, and that I do not benefit if the client does not also benefit.

8. How will you get paid? How are your fees structured? May I have that in writing?

In many areas, the seller still customarily pays all Realtor commissions through the listing broker. Sometimes, Realtors will have other small fees, such as administrative or special service fees, that are charged to clients, regardless of whether they are buying or selling. Be aware of the big picture before you sign any agreements. Ask for an estimate of costs from any agent you contemplate working with.

9. How would you develop pricing and marketing strategies for our home? Will you commit to the marketing strategy in writing?

Pricing a home correctly is the single most important factor in determining if a home sells quickly, or at all. Although location and condition also affect the selling process, price is a primary factor. Access to all current property information is essential, and sometimes a pre-appraisal will help. Ask your agent where he or she obtained the information to create the market analysis and have them walk you through it.

10. What will you do and what will you not do to sell my home? Who determines where and when my home is marketed/ advertised?Who pays for your advertising?

Ask your real estate agent to present to you a clear marketing and advertising budget, and how those dollars will be spent. Ask if there are other forms of marketing media that are also available but not mentioned in the budget/plan, and who pays for those. Request samples of the various media that your agent proposes. Asking the right kinds of questions when you interview agents can help you determine who the best person will be to market your most valuable asset. For complimentary information about the value of your home, call me today! (727) 278-9090