10 Questions To Ask Your Prospective REALTOR®
Your home is a significant investment, which means when you decide to sell, it is also one of the largest transactions you will navigate. For these reasons and many more, you want to be diligent when choosing a REALTOR® to represent your sale. You want to ensure you’ll be working with someone who will protect your interests as a seller, find the right buyers, guard your equity, and sell your home quickly without leaving any money on the table.
The internet supplies a wealth of information. Between online reviews and referrals from family and friends, you have the opportunity to be extra savvy in choosing the right agent for you. Asking the right questions will offer you insight into an agent’s expertise, capabilities, and personality to make the best choice in selling your home. We’ve put together ten questions you should ask when interviewing a potential agent.
1. What Are Your Credentials?
Before anything else, it’s important to ensure you’re working with an accredited, trained real estate professional. You’ll want to make sure they have a state license and are local real estate board members.
Unbeknownst to most homeowners, selling your home is a full-time job. A lazy REALTOR® or one who cuts corners can cost you. You may want to ask whether the agent works full-time or part-time. Their dedication to the profession gives you insight into how well they’ll know the market, especially in their local area. A part-time real estate professional may be unavailable when you need them most and may not give you the proper time and attention.
2. Will I Only Be Working With You Or With A Team?
Next, determine whether you will be working with one specific agent or with the agent’s team members. You can work with a single agent without support staff, a pair of agents who share the same work, or an agent who’s a part of a small team.
An agent with a team means more assistance and resources, especially since there’ll be support staff working behind the scenes. When your REALTOR® is adequately supported, they’ll have more time to attend to your needs. You can ask them what they will handle personally and if you’ll be in contact with only your agent or team members as well.
3. How Many Clients Are You Representing Currently?
An agent’s current client numbers aren’t always indicative of how good they are. Many factors, such as communication style and team size, help decide how many clients an agent can effectively handle.
While there’s no magic number, be wary if they’re handling a ridiculously high number of clients. Remember that each client’s needs are different, so too many clients means their time and attention will be divided. Decide for yourself if you feel they can represent you well with a heavy workload.
4. How Many Sales Did You Close This Past Year?
Although you’re not guaranteed a quick sale, the track record of a potential agent may assure they know what they’re doing and that you’ll be working with an expert. The more transparent your agent is in sharing their experience, the more guarantee you have that they will increase your chances of a successful sale.
5. Do You Specialize In The Neighborhood I’m Interested In?
Having a local expert can be a massive advantage to you. Ask your REALTOR® whether they specialize in selling homes in your area. You want to ensure that the potential agent knows the local market and has sold homes comparable to yours in your neighborhood. You can find information about a community online, but there are some things that only a local REALTOR® will know. If they’re excellent at what they do, they’ll learn about upcoming developments, schools, utilities, and plans for stores and amenities that may affect the value of surrounding properties both negatively and positively.
6. Can You Explain The Home Selling Process To Me?
The home selling process can quickly go off the rails or get complicated even for veteran agents. So you must understand all of the steps involved—from preparing your home to list to pricing it correctly, marketing, managing timelines, reviewing and negotiating offers, dealing with home inspections, estimating closing costs, etc. An experienced real estate agent will take the time to explain these things to you to allow you to comprehend them. As they guide you through the process, you’ll see how valuable it is to have an expert on your side.
7. How Does Your Commission Work?
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with talking about money. If your REALTOR® shies away from this topic, you should rethink working with that individual. And to be clear, you shouldn’t be asking so you can hire the REALTOR® with the lowest fee, but to better understand the cost.
An excellent real estate agent will easily be able to justify their fee and break down what they do to earn it. Remember, your REALTOR® doesn’t get paid hourly or weekly. They typically work countless hours, hours you never see or hear about, to sell your home. In most cities, the standard rate is 6 percent, split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. And remember, an agent who offers you discounted commission often offers you discounted service to go with it.
8. What Costs Can I Expect With Selling My Home?
You’ll want to plan accordingly for the upfront costs you will be paying in selling your home, and a REALTOR® who’s well versed in the financials is your strongest asset. They’ll be able to fully explain their commission, title fees, closing fees, attorney fees, appraisal, taxes, inspections, etc. They can give you an upfront look at how this will affect your bottom line. They can also give you a ballpark estimate of how much you will net from the sale. But beware of any agent who promises you a specific profit amount. They have no control over this, and it’s impossible to know the actual amount until closer to closing.
9. How Will We Communicate?
Communication is vital in successful relationships, and this will hold true in your relationship with your agent. In dealing with one of the most important transactions of your life, you and your REALTOR® should be able to communicate efficiently and regularly. You need to know upfront what method is best to stay in touch and the frequency of communication to expect.
Your agent should ask if you prefer texts, phone calls, email, and vice versa. You can also inquire about the frequency of updates: will you be updated weekly or on an as-needed basis? Ask what business hours they keep and if it’s acceptable to call outside those hours if serious questions or concerns arise. You may find it helpful to check reviews or get feedback from past clients on their communication styles.
10. What Will I Need To Do To Get My House Ready To Sell?
An awesome REALTOR® knows precisely how to prepare your home and make it more appealing to buyers. They’ll have a constructive and concise list of suggestions for their clients, especially after visiting your home. They’ll offer staging, cleaning services, and lawn care if they need to. And be open to any budget-friendly repairs or upgrades they may ask you to make. Minor repairs upfront can pay off in selling your house quickly.
Book A Consultation With Living Houston
When you’re looking for a REALTOR® to partner with you in selling your home, Living Houston offers consultations with no strings attached to guide you through your first steps. Contact us for more information.