Questions To Ask If You Want To Hire The Right Listing Agent
“It's critical that you make the right decision about who will handle the sale of what is probably the single largest financial investment.”
Not all real estate agents are the same. If you decide to seek the help of an agent when selling or buying a home, you need some good information before you make any moves.
An agent can cost or save you thousands of dollars
Picking an agent is one of those critical issues that can cost or save you thousands of dollars. There are very specific questions you should be asking to ensure you get the best representation for your needs. Some agents may prefer that you don't ask these questions, because the knowledge you'll gain from their honest answers will give you a very good idea about what the outcome you can expect from using this agent. And let's face it – in real estate, as in life – not all things are created equal. Hiring a real estate agent is just like any hiring process – with you on the bosses' side of the desk. It's critical that you make the right decision who will handle what is probably the single largest financial investment you will ever make.
1. What makes you different? Why should I list my home with you? – It's a much tougher real estate market than it was a decade ago. What unique marketing plans and programs does this agent have in place to make sure that your home stands out favorable versus the competition? What things does this agents offer you that others don't?
2. What is your track record? What is their background? How long have they been in business? Full or part time? How much business have they done? Do they work with more buyers or sellers? How do they follow up with showings? These are just some of the questions you need to ask.
3. On average, when your homes sell, how close is the selling price to the asking price? – This information is available from the local Real Estate Board. Is the agent's performance higher or lower than the board average? Their performance on these measurements will help you predict how high of price you will get for the sale of your home.
4. Do you set up your own showing appointments or do you hire a showing service? When agents call to show property they need to talk to someone immediately. Not 1, 2 or 4 hours later. The agent you choose needs to have someone available at all times to set up showings. Don't let your buyer purchase another home because they couldn't see yours.
5. What is your customer service level? – Don't just ask them about their service, test them. Call them a few times and see how long it takes them to respond. Get testimonials from their past clients.
6. What are your marketing plans for my home? – Do they do proactive and aggressive marketing or passive, hopeful selling? How much does this agent spend in advertising the homes s/he lists versus the other agents? Is the advertising a billboard to promote him/her or to get your home sold? What media (newspapers, magazines, internet, etc.) does this agent advertise in? What does s/he know about the effectiveness of one medium over the others?
7. Do you have an assistant or support staff? – By employing someone to handle the details of their business the agent can spend more time servicing your needs. However, make sure you know how much time an agent will spend and how much time their assistant will spend on the sale of your home. It may be fine if the assistant does most of the legwork as long as the agent is there at the most critical times of the transaction period.
8. What types of things separate you from your competition? – Do they have 24 hour advertising capability? Agents who are innovative and offer new methods of attracting home buyers will measurably outperform agents who rely on methods of the past. To market effectively in the 2000's and beyond requires progressive strategies that add value and service for both buyers and sellers!
9. Does the agent know the market statistics or are they just guessing? – Agents need to know what's going on in the marketplace. GTAR (Greater Tampa Association of Realtors) and NAR (National Association of Realtors) have statistics on just about everything, in order for agents to help sell your home. Agents need to know where buyers come from (yard signs, internet, open houses, etc.), what factors influence them to buy one home over another, pricing factors, number of homes visited, etc.
10. What happens if I'm not happy with the job you are doing to get my home sold? Can I cancel my listing contract? – Be wary of agents that lock you into a lengthy listing contract which they can get out of (by ceasing to effectively market your home) but you can't. There are usually penalties which safeguard the agent's interest, but not yours. How confident is your agent in the service s/he will provide? Will s/he allow you to cancel your contract without penalty if you're not satisfied with the service provided?
I would sincerely like to interview for the job and help you with all your real estate needs. My extensive knowledge of real estate investing, 1031 exchanges, quality of home construction can save you thousands of dollars when buying a home and dozens of hours looking for the wrong home. Please do not hesitate to give me a call.
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