Vetting real estate agents is an important part of selling your home. Between pre-sale preparations, locating a buyer, and closing the deal, selling can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The agent you choose will affect how easy (or how intrusive) that experience will be. It could also impact the final sale price on your home.
In all likelihood, there are numerous real estate agents in your area with similar credentials. How do you start the important process of selecting the best real estate pro for your needs? Here are seven valuable questions to get you started:
What’s your real estate experience in my area?
Newer real estate agents still haven’t encountered many of the unexpected hang-ups that can derail a sale. When mistakes get made, it’s the seller who takes the hit. Find a Realtor who comes to the table with a couple decades worth of experience, and you hire one who has seen everything — and knows how to respond appropriately.
When vetting agents, local experience matters, too. Not every neighborhood is the same. You want a real estate agent who understands local tastes from top to bottom, so that you make marketing and renovation decisions that add value to your home.
What’s your sale-to-list price ratio?
The sale-to-list price ratio is one of the most clear metrics that provide visibility into how effective an agent is.
When your prospective agent is consistently selling homes under the asking price in a hot market like Claremont, that should set off alarm bells.
What are your average days on market stats?
With experience and expertise comes speed. Agents that employ advanced marketing and advertising techniques, in concert with effective negotiation skills, tend to achieve much faster turnaround on sales.
That effectiveness will be reflected in the average number of days homes stay on the market. For sellers, this can mean a lot for your bottom line — the longer a home stays on the market, the less likely the seller is to get their asking price.
How (and how often) will you contact me?
Your life doesn’t stop when you decide to sell your home. Part of the appeal of hiring a Realtor versus choosing to FSBO your home is having someone on your team. But you want a teammate who will communicate effectively — and on your terms. Five missed calls from a Realtor when you’re at the office (and can only receive texts) isn’t going to cut it.
What’s the average number of clients you have at one time?
A real estate agent with too many clients isn’t going to have time for you. Don’t let their time constraints interfere with your sale!
Ask questions about client load to get an idea of an agent’s availability. That way you can assess how much priority your home sale will receive. Many agents will operate as part of a larger team to maximize resources and manage properties. Look for a team with a winning record.
What is your process for marketing?
Buyers use numerous platforms and outlets to gather information on home listings in their area, including everything from online search portals like Zillow to popular homebuying Instagram accounts. Many more stick to the basics, looking at print circulars or catching a moment’s inspiration from a direct mail flyer.
How involved is the marketing and advertising strategy that your prospective agent employs? In order to reach the highest number of people, your agent should cast a wide net that includes both traditional and digital advertising.
Do you have any references?
Asking a real estate agent about their performance is one thing, but asking their clients is what really gets the goods.
Get a list of past clients from the agent and ask general questions about their experiences. Read reviews on Yelp and other review platforms with a keen eye for red flags, especially when it comes to responsiveness and tech-savviness.
Are you ready to sell your home? Get some practice asking these questions by talking to Laura today.
Originally published February 15, 2017. Last updated October 15, 2019.