5 Questions You Can't Afford to Ignore When Choosing a Real Estate Agent

By Keith Loria

Choosing a real estate agent to represent you through the home-selling process is just as important as staging the space to attract prospective buyers and listing it for the right price so that it sells in a timely manner. While you may have heard nothing but good things about an agent from your friend down the street, it’s still a good idea to put in some time interviewing agents so that you end up choosing one who’ll have your best interests at heart throughout the process.

Before agreeing to hire an agent, here are five questions you should ask.

1. Do you work alone or with a team? Nowadays, many agents work as part of a team, therefore, you’ll want to know going into the process if the person you hire will be the one doing the work or if the support team will be showing the house and handling the marketing of your home. You may like a particular agent because they have a trustworthy quality that you think will help when it comes to getting your home sold, but if they farm the work off on people you haven’t met—who may not have as much of an interest in your particular transaction—it might put a damper on the process. On the other hand, having more people working for you is never a bad thing, as long as everyone is sticking to your agreed upon game plan.

2. What is your marketing plan for selling my home? This one question will provide an in-depth look at what your agent plans to do in order to get your home sold. In today’s competitive market, just holding an open house and placing the home in the MLS isn’t enough. You’ll also want to ask about their online presence and whether or not they’ll be incorporating videos into their marketing strategy. In addition, find out if there’s anything unique they’ll be doing to get the word out about your house. Try to find someone with a diversified approach who does what it takes to get the home sold while maintaining a clear vision for getting what you want out of the relationship.

3. How does your compensation work? Before hiring an agent, you should understand the percentage they’ll get when they sell your home. This percentage will vary depending on location and market trends, and sometimes you can even negotiate a smaller number. In a hot market, commissions might dip lower because homes are easier to sell. Conversely, in a weak market, an agent might be less likely to budge on their fee. Along with commission, it’s also important to discuss an agent’s cancellation policy.

4. How often will you communicate with me? Some sellers like hearing from their agent all the time via phone calls, while others would prefer just a quick text to update them on the progress. Let your agent know what you want and see how well they communicate back. They should have the tools to communicate on your terms, whether that be every day or not quite as often. Just make sure you express your wants and needs.

5. How many listings do you currently have? You may find an agent who has everything you’re looking for, however, be sure to take into account that they may have a dozen other properties in your neighborhood that they’re representing. If this is the case, how certain are you that they will be putting your home above the others? It’s not to say that a good agent can’t handle multiple listings, but you should decide if this is something that’s important to you. In the end, you’ll want to work with the agent who will put your home at the top of their list.

For more information about choosing a real estate agent, contact our office today.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.