Questions to Ask a Realtor
1. What’s your experience with selling property?
There’s no right or wrong answer requiring a full resume, however, you may wish to know if the Realtor sells real estate full-time or part-time and how long they’ve been in the industry. It’s also reasonable to ask how they resolve issues such as discovering a lien after the fact, disputes with property lines, negative property inspection prior to closing etc.
2. How do you determine the best listing price for my home?
Most sellers often feel there home is worth more than the current market will bear and that’s simply due to ownership pride and sentimental value it often holds for the owner. Unfortunately, not all potential buyers will realize the value of your repairs and upgrades. Keep in mind market value is actually the amount that a buyer is willing to pay for a property at the current time. With this in mind you’ll want to know what kind of analysis is done to determine the best listing price for your home to sell quickly and for best value. It’s ok to review the agent’s recent sales data and pay attention to the number of “days on market” for their current listings. Hard data always speaks the truth. Should you notice a property still on market for a lengthy period, ask for the reason; remember listing above the reasonable range can result in prolonged listing time frames. This is where your Realtors experience comes in.
3. What is your marketing plan for listings?
The Realtor is working for you, you’ll want to know if you’re listing will be included in any print advertising, the agency’s web page and which social media platforms will be utilized to get your listing on the internet. Also inquire if a professional photographer will be used to take the listing photos and who pays for that expense.
4. How much will selling my home cost?
Ask the rate of commission you’ll need to pay for the agent’s services as well as any other costs associated with the transaction such as, fees to the closing agent, deed preparation, recording fees and other out of pocket expenses such as filling the fuel tank prior to closing.
5. What do I need to do to get my house ready to sell?
This is best determined with an on site visit with your agent. Your agent will walk through your property with you and make whatever necessary suggestions. It’s always best to work with an agent you feel is trustworthy and won’t suggest expensive cosmetic work that won’t help your home to sell at a better price or faster. Whatever the recommendations you have the right to talk through all options.
6. How long will the process take?
Selling real estate is not an exact science and no agent has a crystal ball. Many factors will play a role in determining how quickly your home will sell. If you are working with an agent you feel comfortable with and whom you trust, know that they will not maliciously mislead you when answering this question. A good, experienced Realtor will be able to give you a ballpark range on how quickly homes in your price range are currently selling. Remember, your local market will be different than the town next to your or even three neighborhoods down the street.
7. What are your stats?
There are two key stats you should inquire about; the Realtor’s list-to-price ratio which is the final sales price dived by the most recent listing price expressed by a percentage. The other is finding out how long the agent’s listings stay on the market. Average DOM (Days On Market) reflects the agent’s ability to price appropriately, as well as to effectively market the property. It goes without saying your Realtor will make suggestions but you have final say.
8. What do you know about loans?
The more a Realtor knows about the availability and flexibility of loans, the more likely they will find the right buyer for your property. For example, if your home would make a great fixer-upper starter home, the agent should be familiar with purchase/rehab programs, how they work, what the criteria is for them and the lenders that offer the best programs.
9. How many homes do you currently have under contract waiting to close?
If the Realtor doesn’t currently have anything pending, find out why. A seasoned real estate professional will have many deals in the works all at different stages. Too many deals may indicate less attention to your new listing but at the same time, this is a sign of a successful Realtor.
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