Selecting an Agent
The agent you choose to market your home is perhaps the most important decision that you’ll make about marketing.
In many brokerages, agents are selected very carefully for their track records of success, unwavering commitment to customer service, and willingness to stay on the leading edge of the industry by investing in ongoing professional development.
The following are some suggestions for you to discuss when you interview agents for the job of selling your home:
- References from recent clients
- Their knowledge of current market conditions
- Their experience and/or training in negotiation
- The process they use to formulate price, and what you can expect to encounter during the appraisal process (beware the agent who attempts to “buy” your listing by suggesting an unrealistically high asking price…that inevitably results in disappointment later)
- Recommendations on staging your home to its best advantage (beware an agent who is reluctant to make suggestions for repairs or improvements), and what you can expect to encounter as a result of home and termite/moisture inspections
- Marketing and advertising strategies (the agent should be able to explain in detail when and where your property will be advertised, as well as how incoming inquiries are handled, and how results are measured; they should also show you samples of marketing materials)
- How often will they communicate with you? Will you speak directly with the agent, or will you work with an assistant?
- How will the brokerage relationship be managed if your listing agent also brings the buyer?
- What systems are in place to insure a smooth settlement?
Questions to ask when choosing a REALTOR
- How long have you been in residential real estate sales? Is it your full-time job? (While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate, like many other professions, is mostly learned on the job.)
- What designations do you hold? (Designations, such as GRI and CRS®, which require that real estate professionals take additional, specialized real estate training, are held by only about one-quarter of real estate practitioners.)
- How many homes did you and your company sell last year?
- How many days did it take you to sell the average home? How did that compare to the overall market?
- How close to the initial asking prices of the homes you sold were the final sale prices?
- What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home? (Look for someone who has aggressive, innovative approaches, not just someone who’s going to put a sign in the yard and hope for the best.)
- Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction?
(While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where them practitioner’s obligations lie. A good practitioner will explain the agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party. It’s also possible to insist that the practitioner represent you exclusively.)
- Can you recommend service providers who can assist me in obtaining a mortgage, making repairs on my home, and other things I need done? (Keep in mind here that real estate professionals should generally recommend more than one provider and should tell you if they receive any compensation from any provider.)
- What type of support and supervision does your brokerage office provide to you? (Having resources, such as in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, or assistance with technology, can help a real estate professional sell your home.)
- What’s your business philosophy? (While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the real estate practitioner-fast sales, service, etc.-and determine how closely the practitioner’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.)
- How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently? Using what media? (Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but that one reflects your desires. Do you want updates twice a week or don’t want to be bothered unless there’s a hot prospect? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit?)
- Could you please give me the names and phone numbers of your three most recent clients.Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine Online by permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Copyright 2005. All rights reserved. www.REALTOR.org/realtormag