How to interview a Realtor
Spending the necessary time to go through the interview process with a Realtor should be one of the most critical things on anyone’s agenda when considering selling their home yet many do not take the time to do so.
Having been a Realtor for almost twenty five years I have found this to be very eye opening. There are lots of folks that will make contact with a Real Estate agent from any number of places including attending an open house, seeing a for sale sign in their neighborhood, getting a post card in the mail, or maybe even some positive feedback from relatives or friends.
One of the biggest issues I have found is that so many consumers think that all Realtors do the same things to sell homes. This could not be further from the truth!
In most businesses 80% of the sales are done by 20% of the people. The traditionally 80/20 rule that you hear so often. In Real Estate it is a stunning 94% to 6% ratio! That is just an incredible statistic. Given these figures is there any wonder why there is so much dissatisfaction from Real Estate consumers? It is extremely easy to get stuck with a Realtor who does not do much business or have a great work ethic.
Unfortunately becoming a Realtor is very easy task. Take and pass a Real Estate test and you have made it. The barriers to entry shouldn’t be that easy but unfortunately that’s how it goes.
So how do you avoid picking a poor Realtor to work with? Asking great Real Estate interview questions goes a long way! Trust me when I tell you, these questions will make an unskilled Realtor very uncomfortable.
There is no better recommendation than a track record of success. As a home seller, you will be paying a Realtor a lot of money to sell your home. Why not work with a Realtor who performs on a consist basis and a high level? There is a reason why some Realtors continue to be successful year after year.
In most circumstances it does not cost you anymore to work with an exceptional agent than someone who doesn’t do much Real Estate business. The Realtor interview questions below will go a long way in determining whether you are hiring a pro or not!
How long have you been a Realtor and production level
Experience is very helpful but doesn’t necessarily mean that a newer agent couldn’t be a rising superstar. Many of the other Realtor interview questions below, however, will help determine this.
- How many homes did you sell last year as a seller’s agent?
This interview question has a high level of importance! Do you want to work with a Realtor who sells 5 homes a year or someone who sells 25? Don’t be fooled by the agent who does very little business who tells you that you will get better personal service with them. That is a bunch of hogwash! There is a reason why they only sell 5 homes a year.
- Of the homes you sold last year, again as a seller’s agent, what was the average number of days from the original list price to the accepted offer?
This is a very important statistic because it speaks to how well the agent did their job from day one when they recommended a list price to you. Don’t get caught with a Realtor that gives you an inflated value just to get your business. “Buying a listing” is a very common tactic that agents do when competing with other Realtors.
- What was the average ratio between the listing price and the final selling price?
This question boils down to two things. Pricing the home correctly from day one and the Real Estate agents negotiating skills.
- What kind of market share do you and your company have?
This is not necessarily as critical but you should at least be working with someone who has some working knowledge of the town and has sold other homes in the past.
Personal service to the seller and testimonials
- Do you have an administrator or personal assistant?
Busy Realtors can have a hard time doing everything well on their own. When a Realtor invests in their business to hire a personal assistant you know they care about personal service. A Realtor can’t be in two places at once. A helping hand and great team work speaks volumes about a skilled agent.
- Can you provide me with at least three recent references?
A good Realtor should be able to provide you with references that you can get in touch with. Of course every Realtor is going to want to provide you with a hand picked list of people that they know will say wonderful things about them. Instead ask the Realtor for the last three homes they sold and look up the owners names and call them yourself. This will give you a better understanding of the clients satisfaction level.
Online marketing and advertising
- I have read the Internet is a critical tool for selling homes. How will you market my property online?
This is probably one of the most necessary questions you ask the Realtor! You want to align yourself with a Realtor that has a strong understanding of both online and social media marketing. More than 90% of all buyers find their home online. The Realtor you choose should be marketing your home EVERYWHERE!
- Do you have your own personal Real Estate website for marketing homes and if so does it come up in competitive Real Estate searches such as State, City and the worlds Real Estate or homes?
This is a very important consideration when hiring a Realtor. A top Real Estate agent will invest in having a fantastic website that not only looks outstanding but more importantly attracts buyers for local Real Estate searches. Most buyers will type things like the city, state, and the words Real Estate or homes for sale. As an example Milford MA Real Estate.
You want your home in the spotlight which can be achieved when the agent you select understands (SEO) search engine optimization and achieves the 1st page of Google rankings for keyword searches buyers most often use.
- Do you have a Massachusetts Real Estate blog to market your clients properties and if so is it ranked highly by Google? Do you use your blog as a marketing tool to drive traffic to my home or condo?
Like a website, Real Estate blogs are great avenues to promote properties. You can create entire blog articles about a single home that promotes their best features using multiple photos and descriptions.
- Do you use social media marketing in your business such as Facebook and Twitter to reach other Realtors and potential clients?
Sites like Facebook and Twitter are becoming incredible tools for a Realtor to use to cast a wider net to reach potential buyers and sellers. With Facebook you can have your own business page to promote your business including properties you may be marketing or helpful Real Estate articles.
- Will you be using video and virtual tours to market my home?
Video is another important medium that has really caught over the last few years and continues to grow! Buyers love to see a video tour of a property they may be interested in viewing. A video tour can be especially helpful to a relocation buyer. The tour used be the agent should be quick to download. Another consideration would be syndicating the video tour to Youtube which gets quite a bit of traffic.
- Will my home be “enhanced” on the most visited Real Estate websites such as Realtor.com, Trulia.com and Zillow.com?
This is another very important interview question. Real Estate marketing is all about presentation and standing out from the rest of the competition. It is not enough just to be included in the most well know Real Estate sites.
The Realtor you choose should be presenting your home with numerous photos, detailed descriptions highlighting your homes best attributes, and an embedding a virtual tour. Survey after survey confirms that buyers looking online skip the homes with a couple of photos and no descriptions. This is an enormous piece of the marketing! Make sure the agent shows you exactly what your home will look like on the internet. It is obvious that many sellers do not check on their agent. Trust me folks, you would be flabbergasted if you knew what a poor job some Realtors do marketing homes.
- Do you have a good camera?
Not only is having lots of photos important but the quality of the photography can not be overlooked. You should be looking for an agent that has a good camera with a wide angle lens and knows how to use it.
Preparing and staging a home for sale
- Can you show me how to make my home more marketable?
A Realtor should be able to give you some simple advice on how to make your home as presentable as possible. Things like whether or not it would be worthwhile to make an improvement or properly staging a home for sale. The general rule on improvements is to make them when they are really going to enhance the saleability or give a significant return on the money spent.
Feedback and communication throughout the home sale process
It makes sense that the Realtor you hire is the one who has direct communication with the buyer when an inquiry is made. At many Real Estate offices this is not always the case. Often times there is an agent who answers the phone on a particular day and they get the lead. This is not ideal if the Realtor has never seen your home before and the buyer is asking specific questions about the property.
- How will you communicate with me regarding your efforts?
One of the biggest complaints nationally towards Realtors is a lack of communication. You will want to find out how the Realtor will keep in contact with you. It it by phone, email, text? A Realtor should be flexible and work in the manner the client desires. Above all else there should be regular communication.
- Do you have a feedback system and if so, how does it work?
Anyone that I know that has ever sold a home will want to find out how potential buyers feel about the house. The Realtor you hire should be prepared to call the buyers agent after the showing to find out if the buyer has any interest and if not what their impression were both positive and negative.
- How readily accessible will you be? Do you have a cell phone that I can reach you on when I need to?
Real Estate is a business that people should be able to reach the person they hired to sell their home. A Realtor who has a phone that can receive email understands the importance of rapid communication. You want to make sure your agent will be taking your calls as they come in. For some reason many Realtors never answer their phone. This is not a good sign!
- Once the offer is accepted will you be attending all the inspections on my home?
A full service Realtor should be at the home inspection, bank appraisal, etc. You are paying this person a lot of money. Make sure they earn it! They have a fiduciary responsibility to YOU!
- How will you verify that the buyer is qualified to purchase my home?
The Realtor should be checking that the buyer is qualified by making sure that there is a legitimate pre-approval letter accompanying the offer and speaking with the buyers lender.
- How much do you charge to sell my home and why?
The Realtor should be making sure they explain to you how they get paid and what exactly they do for the money earned.
- As far as production goes if I called the owner of your company would they tell me you were one of the top producing agents in the company or a middle of the road agent?
In life you get what you pay for. Why not hire the best agent if it doesn’t cost you more!
- Will you allow me to terminate the listing contract if I am not completely satisfied?
This is an important question because a Realtor that is confident they will get the job done should have no problem with this clause.
There are some truly great Realtors out there. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time and effort to find them. Don’t settle for any Realtor that walks through your door or you will most likely end up disappointed. Well thought out Real Estate interview questions should be something every home seller does!
About the author: The above Real Estate information on interviewing a Realtor was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 25+ Years.
Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!
I service Real Estate sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northboro, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southboro, Sutton, Wayland, Westboro, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA
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