Some real estate agents will work harder than others to sell your home so you should ask some very specific questions when interviewing Realtors. You should also interview several agents, even if you’ve worked with one particular agent in the past. Below are a few questions you should consider asking when interviewing agents to sell your home.
What are you going to do to sell my property?
If the agent doesn’t include placing a sign in the yard and your property data in the multiple listing service (mls), plan on interviewing other agents. All agents have access to the same basic sales tools and all should provide you with this basic level of service.
And what else are you going to do?
Agents shouldn’t limit their marketing to the above items. All agents can and should be performing these tasks, but there are dozens of other ways they can market your property. Do they plan on posting flyers? Will they contact local mortgage lenders? Or fax listing information to other local agents? Or go knocking door-to-door? Or get you property listed on Internet sites? There is no one right answer here, but the agent should design the marketing plan with your property in mind. Canvassing a neighborhood with a larger percentage of renters may work very well when selling a starter home, but probably won’t help sell a luxury estate. A virtual tour should probably be a marketing tool of any luxury estate, but because their wide-angle lenses make small homes feel even smaller, it’s often not a good tool for starter-homes.
Will you put your marketing plan in writing?
If they won’t, they should. Continue interviewing agents.
What are your backup plans in the unlikely event you can’t sell my house?
It happens, some houses don’t easily sell for reasons beyond a real estate agent’s control or for reasons not always found on an appraisal. For example, your house abuts a busy street when other comparable properties are in quiet neighborhoods. The agent’s first answer to this question is usually that they will suggest you drop the price. This may not be a bad idea; often sellers have unrealistic ideas about their home’s worth and at the right price anything will sell. However, if the agent has no other plans, you may want to find someone who has a larger box of tools. Also think about what you will do differently in the case your house doesn’t sell easily.
What is the local housing market like right now?
Does the Realtor know how many similar homes are currently for sale, how long they’ve been for sale, and the price they’re selling for? Does the agent know if the local housing market is speeding up or slowing down? Will they give you information on both the listing and selling price of recent sales in your neighborhood.
What are current local lending rates?
A good Realtor knows what your buyers know and this means knowing current lending rates. Buyers are interested in knowing their monthly mortgage payments; sellers are interested in the sale price of their home. A decent agent should be able to work with lenders, buyers, and sellers to help everyone meet their goals.
How long have you been in the business?
Times change, people change-or they don’t. An agent with 20 years experience is not necessarily a better than a real estate agent with 2 years of experience. The older agent may have too many other listings to devote full attention to your property, their client base may not be the target market for your property, they may not be up on the latest and greatest technologies and strategies for selling homes, they may be set in their ways, comfortable in careers and unwilling to work as hard as a newer agent. The real estate market has changed rapidly these last few years, make sure the Realtor you choose to work with has kept pace.
Do you offer a written guarantee?
You should get their marketing plan in writing, but some agents will even go one step further and guarantee their work with a service pledge. If you don’t like the job they’re doing, you have the right to terminate the contract.