Putting your home on the market is a great idea— but first things first, who will be your listing agent?
Start asking friends, neighbors and family for their Realtor® recommendations, then check out their professional online presence. Narrow down your choices and pick the top three you’d like to schedule for a listing presentation.
Next, be a savvy seller and know the questions to ask during their presentation. This will help you compare each agent fairly and select the one who fits you best. Get started with these 7 questions:
1) Can you tell me about your experience in residential real estate? Years of experience, number of listings and homes sold in a 12-month period, average days on the market and how they express their passion for getting your home sold tells the whole story. Getting all this information instead of just bits of it keeps you from eliminating an agent based on only one or two stand-alone factors.
2) Are you knowledgeable about my neighborhood? Do you typically work in my home’s price range?
While not a necessity, it could help to have an agent familiar with your area, age of your home, type and style of your home, and price range. Follow up with finding out if they have buyers waiting for homes in your neighborhood to go on the market if your area is “hot.” Again, this shouldn’t be the only determining factor, but can give you an indication of how well the agent knows your target buyer.
3) What would be your marketing strategy? How is that plan customized for my house?
Marketing is critical piece in selling your home. You want an agent who knows how to make your listing stand out to buyers online, in print and in person, with a reputable and established company brand behind him or her. Make sure the plan is unique to your particular situation.
4) Will you host an open house?
This may be something you are all for or are lukewarm on. Hear the reasoning for yay or nay. Find out if they have anyone else on the team who will handle it, and how they will follow up on the attendees, who could represent serious leads. Understand how the agent gathers and communicates valuable feedback on your home from the open house (and during the time it is listed).
5) What are the flaws in my home?
This is a great question to ask, not only to assess if the agent has experience and a keen eye, but also whether they are willing to offer an honest opinion. A good agent will be able to pick out credible drawbacks to your property, which you will likely need to address to sell your property quickly and at the top of the market.
Willingness to help you find solutions and overcome your home’s not-so-good points shows dedication and expertise. Try to hear with an objective ear. The realtor you hire should be able to help you decide what can stay, what really, really has to go, and where you’ll get the most ROI in staging and curb appeal expenditures.
6) What sets you apart from other listing agents?
Listen carefully to an agent’s answer to this question. What they say can be the differentiator that makes your final selection easier. Do you feel more comfortable with one over the others? Ask yourself why and make sure it is about getting your house sold and not an unrelated reason.
7) How did you arrive at a listing price for our home?
Finally, it’s time for the money talk. The best agents have done their homework and come up with a comparative market analysis based on the local real estate market as well as trends specific to your area and neighborhood. Discuss how they will negotiate for you as you determine the right price. Is listing higher than your target price the way to go? How would they handle a bidding war? Would repairs and improvements result in a good return on your investment? How much should you expect to make on your house given your equity position, and after fees and commissions?
These interview questions should get you started. Notice throughout the interview whether you and the listing agent have a good rapport. Communication is critical, so don’t hesitate to come up with your own questions to add to these, because getting the right listing agent is the first step in getting your house sold.