Selling Your Home? 6 Questions to Ask A Prospective Listing Agent
I walked into one of my very first listing appointments, sat down at the kitchen table with the husband and wife and stared at a stack of library books. I saw the titles “House Selling for Dummies” and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Selling Your Home.” Wow - dummy and idiot. This is going to be fun!
“You know, we’re not sure we want to hire a real estate agent,” the wife says, leaning back in her chair.
“Oh. Ok, well I brought infor -”
The wife opens a book to a page marked with a neon pink sticky note.
“Here is a list of questions your realtor should be able to answer. And you’re not our realtor yet.”
On this day, I had been in the business for about a year and a half. I had my professionally bound Comparative Market Analysis in front of me and was preparing to ask the homeowners some questions and break the ice a bit. But the seller, quite literally, turned the page on me. I don’t remember the exact questions, but I answered to the best of my ability and I got the listing. (Phew!) Looking back, I am grateful I was put on the spot. It reinforced for me how important it is to listen to the seller. I may come in with my market plan, but the clients have ideas too - they owns the home after all!
Here are 6 questions your prospective agent should be able to answer:
How well do you know this market? Does the agent know the homes that will compete with yours? Has he been in them? Is he familiar with the comparable homes that recently sold? Does he know average days on market? Aside from these important statistics, is he familiar with the schools and the park district? Are there any upcoming school or tax referendum that would affect your ability to sell the home? Does he know what makes your area special - from different restaurants to the best kept secret coffee spot? Is he familiar with the local amenities - transportation, parks and recreation? He will get asked these questions by prospective buyers and their agents, so he should know this like the back of his hand.
How do you plan to market my home? Every home has different marketing needs, and every agent has a different marketing style. There is not a one-size-fits-all to marketing, but your agent should have ideas specific to your home. Will your agent have professional photos taken? What will the brochure look like? Since most home buyers start the search online, what will your home’s online presence look like? Will there be video? Are drone shots appropriate for your home? Does your agent advertise on social media?
Will you accompany showings? Will the agent be there to meet the potential buyer and the buyer’s agent? How does the agent follow up with the buyer’s agent after the showing to get feedback? Will the agent share the feedback with you? Does your agent pre-screen potential buyers to find out if they are pre-approved for a loan?
Will you hold an open house? Will your agent hold an open house and how will the agent advertise the open house? Agents have different views about the value of holding open houses - what are this agent’s thoughts? How do you feel about hosting an open house? Will the agent host it himself? Will the agent host a broker’s open? Does the agent do anything special (like a lunch or a cocktail hour) to get other brokers into your home?
How will you communicate with us? Ask the agent if he will contact you after every showing? How frequently do you want to hear from the agent? How do you want to communicate - some people like phone calls, some like emails, and more and more, people prefer to be texted. Let the agent know how you like to be communicated with.
Will you provide references? An agent may tell you she is a good negotiator, but a reference can give you more insight. She should be able to provide testimonials from past clients and better yet, have references that you can talk to directly. References can answer questions about how well the agent negotiated for them and if the agent was responsive.
Notice a few other things: Is she organized? Does she listen? Is she scripted or can she handle your 'off-the-cuff' questions? Is she on time? How does she handle your objections? How does she carry herself? All of these things are very strong indicators of how she will handle herself with prospective buyers, other agents, attorneys, inspectors, appraisers and all the other professionals involved in the selling process. It’s team work - and this is your opportunity to pick your captain!
What other questions would you like a prospective real estate agent be able to answer? I would love to know! firstname.lastname@example.org