29 Critical Questions to Ask a Realtor Before You List, Part One

Selling a home involves many critical and personal decisions. However, one of the most important decisions that will impact your entire home sale is this: Which real estate agent should you work with? Unfortunately, many people make this decision based on the idea that all real estate agents are basically the same. They sign with the first agent to come along, only to realize too late that they should have shopped around.

To help you avoid making this mistake, over the next few days I will be equipping you with what to look for in selecting your next agent by going over 29 critical questions you must ask them before listing.

1. “Could you send me some information about yourself?”

To begin your search for the perfect realtor, ask your friends and family for the names of agents they know. Look around your neighborhood for the signs, ads and marketing materials of active agents in the area. Once you have compiled a list of several names, ask the agents for some information about themselves before you actually meet them for a listing presentation. You can often get a good idea of which agents are most professional and most committed by looking at their personal marketing materials—brochures, direct mail, listing presentation book, etc.

When you get the personal brochure or other materials, look them over and determine your initial impression of this person. Are the materials they presented professional? If not, you might ask yourself, “If they don’t have the wherewithal to properly market themselves, how will they market my home?” Also, keep track of how quickly and efficiently they respond to your request for information. Are they friendly and helpful, or just pushy and hungry for a listing?

Does this seem like someone you’d be interested in talking with? If they aren’t organized and professional enough to respond promptly to your first request to find out more about them, they’ll probably handle potential buyers for your home the same way. If you like the way they respond to you and are impressed with the information they supply, call them and invite them to make a listing presentation for you. It’s always a good practice to meet with more than one potential agent before making a final decision—usually three to five for sellers. Just make sure you don’t meet with more than one from the same company. This could cause internal strife which would be counterproductive in marketing your home.

2. “How do you approach your work?”
First and foremost, what you should be looking for is an honest and knowledgeable individual who works full-time, represents a solid and reputable real estate agency, and will treat your best interests as paramount. Length of time in the business, a track record of success and expertise in the local real estate market are all factors to consider.

While the right agent to market your home may not be number one in every aspect, you want to make sure that the person you hire is a well-rounded individual whom you can trust and respect as a professional.

3. “How many homes have you listed in the last six months?”
Look for an agent who is active in your area and has experience dealing with homes and situations like yours. This is especially critical if your home or transaction has special features or terms that may make it more challenging than the typical home sales.

4. “How many homes have you SOLD in the last six months?”
Beware of agents who simply gather listings and let them sit and wait for someone else to sell them. Your agent should have a good track record of getting homes sold— which is your ultimate goal.

5. “What’s the average length of time your listings are on the market?”
You may automatically assume the shorter time on the market, the better. But take note—if an average length of time on the market is significantly faster than the average for homes in this area, is it because this agent is more effective or because he or she likes to low-ball the asking price in order to get homes sold more quickly?

Also, take a look at what the original asking prices are for homes the agent lists, versus what the homes finally sell for. This “swing” number will tell you how effective the agent is at helping clients determine the right asking price and if they are doing what it takes to get it.

One Response to “29 Critical Questions to Ask a Realtor Before You List, Part One”

  1. Tweets that mention 29 Critical Questions to Ask a Realtor Before You List, Part One « Markseiden's Blog -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Seiden, Mark Seiden. Mark Seiden said: I am doing a blog series on 29 critical questions to ask a realtor before listing. Check out part one! http://ow.ly/3MWmr […]

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