Statistics show that most sellers and buyers only interview one agent, usually the one friends and family have referred to them. This is great if they have a good reputation and have done good work from the referral sending them to you.
However, what if you don’t know a realtor and want to interview a few of them to see who will be best for the job? Here are 5 Questions to help you narrow your selection down to the perfect real estate agent:
1) What was your production last year? The number of transactions and dollar amount you have sold?
Experience Matters! Selling your home from start to finish is tedious and sometimes can be a complicated journey unless you are familiar with the process on a regular basis. There are also situations that arise at each step that need to be handled and if not done so correctly could cost you a lot of money or the entire deal. However, just like in your business if you do the same thing over and over you become more proficient at it. If an agent has only done 1 or 2 deals for the year then you may want to interview a few more agents. When you find agents doing 25 or more deals a year then they generally have their systems down and can realistically guide you through the process without too many errors. It’s important to know they can handle all of the situations that come up during the loan process, inspections, appraisals, title searches just to name a few.
2) How long have you been in the business? Do you work alone or with a team?
Experience Matters! So not only do the numbers of transactions play a part so does the length of time in the business. If they are a new agent don’t discount their inabilities of being a successful agent who can sell your home. Real Estate companies today have inside office coaches and mentors to help new agents along the way of each step in selling your home. The agent could also be on a team where the leadership has all the systems and models needed for a successful closing process. Just like in your job the longer you do it the better you get at it.
3) What is your Market Share in the neighborhood or school district?
Experience Matters! Here again when an agent has been in the business for a while and doing a number of transactions per month and per year they should have repeat business in that same community. When you have repeat business in a neighborhood or community we call that market share. So with the total amount of homes that sold that year, how many homes did they sell in that neighborhood? Example: If 10 homes sold in 2014 for your neighborhood, were they all different agents? Was there one agent whose average was higher than other agents? Usually, those agents who continue to sell in the same neighborhood or community will have a lot more knowledge of little things another agent coming from somewhere else may not have information on. Real Estate is local and usually, those who live, work and sell in your community will have more to contribute to a buyer when one is interested in your home. In addition, those agents who live in the immediate area are more than likely going to also push up your comps instead of listing low just to get a paycheck. Local agents tend to be more involved with schools, businesses and community efforts as well, which means they believe in the area and want it to succeed and you to get the most from the sale of your home.
4) What happens to the buyer leads that call your offices main telephone number?
Experience Matters! What most real estate agents don’t know is there are real estate companies that are taking the buyer calls (from your listing) to the main office and selling those leads to other agents instead of forwarding them back to your listing specialist. All the listing agents’ hard work to market your home and find a buyer isn’t being funneled back to them but to someone else. In turn that new agent could turn around and talk them into another home versus yours. When you are interviewing your agent to sell your home find out where those leads are funneled. There are very few companies who make sure the listing agent gets those leads and don’t sell them.
5) What is your marketing plan to sell my home?
This question is one of the most important questions of all of them. How will you market my home to get it sold? Very few Realtors have a plan for their own business let alone how they are going to market your home. There are typically three things the average real estate agent does to sell a home: 1) Put a sign in the yard; 2) Put it in the MLS; and 3) Prays it sells. As we all know there is a lot more than these three things to marketing a home. Are they doing postcards, website enhancements, promoting to other agents in the community or networking groups? Do they have a list of churches, businesses and government contacts to help promote your home in the community? What happens if we get 10 showings and no offers? What happens if my home continues to sit on the market month after month after month?? Do they price watch or prospect for buyers? When and how will they communicate with you on what they are doing to sell your home? Setting up clear expectations for the sellers and the real estate agent is vital to a healthy business relationship with your agent. After all, you are paying at least a 6% commission that they will split with another agent. You do want to know that they can offer more than just a sign, business card and name badge. Find out what they will do for you and the marketing of your home.