12 Questions to Ask Real Estate Agents Before You Hire Them
Real Estate agents are a big part of the success of your home sale, for the amount you want, and how long it takes.
Ask anyone who has ever had a bad experience when selling a home and they’ll tell you that a lacklustre real estate agent is a nightmare.
There’s a reason nearly 90% of sellers use a listing agent: Selling a home takes time, knowledge of neighborhood trends, and negotiating skills. ~ (Money)
90% of sellers use a listing agent: Selling a home takes time, knowledge of neighborhood trends, and negotiating skills. Click To Tweet
One of the best ways of lowering the chances of getting a bad real estate agent is to ask them plenty of questions. You want to know if this is the person for the job, after all they will be earning a commission for their work and you want to be satisfied.
Below are 10 Interview questions for your next real estate agent.
1. How long have you been a real estate agent?
If they are a rookie agent chances are they are not going to like hearing this question, I know I don’t.
You want to know that the person in charge of selling your home has had a reasonable amount of experience in this line of work. We’re sure there are some great newbies out there but experience is golden in this field.
If you do decide to go with a newb, make sure that they are honest about their lack of experience and are eager to find you the answers quickly and accurately.
A good follow-up question might be; What kind of support system to you have in place if you encounter a snag or unique situation.
2. What is the market value of my home and how did you arrive at that figure?
Most clients that we meet with today have a pretty good idea of what they would like to sell their home for. A good agent will generally present a figure that is relatively close.
If their numbers seem to good to be true, or come in lower than you would expect… ask them to show you the comps and explain the reasoning behind the figures they are presenting.
A good real estate agent will have prepared a detailed CMA (Cost Market Analysis) before disclosing what they think the value of your listing will be.
Take into account:
- The urgency of the home sale
- The time of year
- Your current local market conditions
on how this will affect attracting offers from clients.
3. How will the property be marketed?
There are so many options for advertising property and you need to know whether the agent is up with the latest trends or still in the Stone Age.
All agents will be required to enter your listing into the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), this will display your listing to all real estate agents and will syndicate to most major brands websites. They are also required to take 1 photo of the listing.
Most agents will have a flyer printed out and have a sign posted in the front yard.
A good real estate agent will hardly mention these things because they are bringing so much more to the table to Sell Your Home.
- High Definition Photography
- 3D Virtual Tours
- Video Tours
- High Gloss Flyers
- Facebook Ads
- Custom Web Pages
- Listing Launch Weekends
- Email Blasts
- Social Media Blasts
- Blog Posts
- Broker Tours
- Meeting The Neighbors
- Just Listed Note Cards
4. Have you had properties in the area and how long did they take to sell?
This question can be helpful to find out if the agent understands your local market trends.
Asking these questions allows you to gather a realistic understanding of how good the real estate agent is, how much you are likely to get and also how long it may take.
5. What is their fee?
Another important thing to note before signing anything is the agent fee.
Many agents will try to get a full commission without providing much in the way of marketing, or worse will try to make you pay for their marketing.
Is getting a slight discount from your agent worth not maximizing the marketing effort for your home. Keep in mind that the more eyeballs and more diverse eyeballs you get on your home the more likely you are to get a full price offer, or perhaps even a bid up offer.
6. What are their qualifications?
Ask them if their sales team is qualified and if they a member of any professional group, such as the NAR, NWMLS, or Leading RE.
Ask them about certifications they may have acquired such as Certified Buyer Representative, e-Pro, Certified Seller Representative, Certified Marketing Specialist, or Real Estate Negotiation Expert.
7. Are they part of a team?
Having a personal relationship with your agent is important as you will be spending a number of weeks working together on a major financial transaction.
That being said if that agent is part of a team there are many benefits. A team brings a wider level of combined experience and different team members have unique perspective they can bring to a situation.
They also bring more availability for communication. Often times the agent you have a relationship with will be tied up, and a member of the team will be available for you.
If they are part of a team ask them to clarify what the experience will be like. Do they anticipate you working with all members of the team or will you have a single point of contact and the team works in the background.
8. What is their communication level?
According to the NAR (National Association of Realtors) the number 1 complaint that people have with their real estate agent is a lack of communication.
Make sure to address this from the beginning. What are the best ways to get a hold of the agent, how often should you expect to hear from the agent, what are their communication policies, and do you have access to team members in case you have an emergency and can not reach the agent.
9. Can I have 3 references?
Asking for references from your real estate agent is just as important as if you were hiring a new employee, or renting your house.
Not all agents are created equal. Some agents do just enough to get a home sold, and others go above and beyond to ensure their clients have the best possible experience.
An occasional 3 or 4 star review is not the end of the world… but most agents are striving for a 5 star review.
10. How many clients are you currently representing?
This question is tricky because you want your real estate agent to be doing real estate business, but not so much that they do not have time or energy for your sale.
What are the magic numbers? You will have to determine that as it will really depend on the agent, their skill level, whether they are part of a team or solo, and what systems they have in place.
11. What should I do to get my house ready?
Generally you will be interviewing your real estate candidate weeks before you are ready to sell your home.
Ask your real estate agent what they think should be done in order to get the home ready for market.
This is an important question to not only gauge the agent’s knowledge but could also save or make you money on your sale. Often times sellers want to do work that is not necessary or will not add any value to the price. Or worse, there is something that could be easily addressed that will cost you money.
12. How long will the process take?
While no agent has a crystal ball to predict exactly how long a house will be on market and what it will sell for, a good agent should have a general idea.
The average number of Days on Market in Snohomish County is currently 30 days (11/2/17) but that is just an average and your agent should be able to explain why your home will meet, beat, or take longer than the average.