The Top 14 Questions to Ask When Interviewing Listing Agents
The Top 14 Questions to Ask Your Listing Agent
Smart sellers interview potential listing agents before deciding on whom to hire to sell their biggest asset. It’s in your best interest to ask them some or all of the following questions to gauge their knowledge and to see if they are the right person you want representing your home.
Do you work as an agent full time?
You don’t want someone doing this as a hobby and last year the average agent only closed 4 transactions. Some would debate that constitutes as a hobby.
How long have you been selling residential real estate?
There’s no right or wrong to this question, but a good guideline is to select an agent with at least five years of experience selling in your area.
How many homes have you sold in my area in the last 12 months?
Are you knowledgeable about my area?There’s no right or wrong answer to this question either, but you probably don’t want someone who hasn’t done any transactions in an area that has hundreds of listings every year. There’s no issue with people learning, but probably not at your expense.
What is the average sales price of your transactions?
Most agents can work across a wide variety of prices, but if they typically sell $2 million-plus homes and you have a $600k home, then they might not make you a top priority. Similarly, if you want to sell your luxury condo in an urban area but they typically sell single-family homes in the suburbs, then they might not know how to market your home effectively.
How do you plan on marketing my home?
This is an extremely important question. You don’t want someone who will just put up a for sale sign in the yard or on the curb. A good Realtor will have a solid portfolio of tactics that they will use to market your home. Some of the tactics that agents will use include putting your home on the MLS listing, advertising and hosting open houses, print advertising and flyers, and placing your home on their personal or brokerage website. Well-connected listing agents will also be able to work their network to find potential buyers pre-MLS. In addition, tech savvy agents will promote your property on their own blogs and social networks to hundreds of buyer agents in the area.
What is your online marketing strategy?
This is a question that is one click down from the previous one. A savvy listing agent will have a very crisp plan to market your property online. They know that the vast majority of buyers use the internet to look for homes, and a good agent will know how to capture a buyer’s attention online. Ask to see their personal website, samples of virtual tours, web pages, and a list of portals where your home will be listed.
What other professionals do you typically partner with to help sell homes?
A good agent will not be doing everything on their own. They are well-connected, and have a team of other professionals, like a preferred mortgage broker or someone to help with staging, but you should never feel pressured to use their recommendation. On top of that, it’s illegal for an agent to force you to use their lender or other service provider.
How will you keep me informed? How often and what method?
There’s no right answer, and this all comes down to personal preference. However, if you prefer to communicate over email in a timely manner, but they prefer to use the phone or are not responsive, then they will not be a good fit for you. We pride ourselves on not only being tech savvy but responsive to our clients and all potential buyers.
How many clients both buyers and sellers are you currently actively representing?
While there’s no magic number for how many clients an agent can effectively handle, a number that’s staggeringly high, like 40 listings or 15 buyer clients, could indicate that their time will be divided and you won’t get much one-on-one attention.
How much time will I have to review documents before I have to sign them?
A good agent will work with you and provide you with ample time to review important documents. Some agents are genuinely busy and don’t have time during business hours to prep documents. However, there are others who purposely show you documents at the last minute to try and minimize the number of questions they have to answer. Selling a home is a big endeavor and can be stressful. A good agent will minimize any stress related to reviewing and updating documents by doing it ahead of time, rather than at the eleventh hour.
Do you offer electronic signatures?
An electronic signature, or e-signature, is an electronic indication of intent to agree to or approve the contents of a document. In asking this question, you can gauge how tech-savvy an agent is. Time and money are saved because you eliminate the need to print, fax, scan, and ship documents. On top of that, you’ll get faster results and create a complete audit trail and tamper-proof virtual seal of the signed documents.
Do you have your own website? Why not?
This question can be used to assess how marketing-savvy an agent is. If they don’t have their own website or are listed on popular real estate sites, then how can you expect them to market your property? Online presence is extremely important, and it is also a great way to view an agent’s past reviews from buyers and sellers.
An agent told me they can sell my house for $100k over your CMA. Will you list at that price?
This question can be used to filter out agents who employ bait-and-switch tactics. For example, an agent might come to your home, point out all the great features, and name an impressive price to list at. Later, however, while showing your home to potential buyers, they may come back and say that potential buyers have found a host of flaws, and ask you to lower your home price. Why would they do this? To get your business, but also make for a quick sale, so that they can move on. A good agent won’t use such tactics, but rather stay within a reasonable band around their market-price analysis. Ask about our 15/21 Selling Strategy.
Can you provide me with at least 3 references?
Three is a good guideline, but you may not want to talk to three references (or feel three is not enough). A good agent has nothing to hide, and if they have a good track record, then they should have more than enough previous clients to vouch for them.