How to Select a Realtor When Selling a Home
The choice of your Realtor is one of the most important decisions you will make in the sale of your home. Many people make the mistake of thinking all real estate agents are fairly similar, but this is not the case. There are a limited number of really great real estate agents in any given area, and it is important for you as a seller to find one of these agents if you want your home sale to go as well as it can.
To find one of these agents, you will need to interview potential candidates and ask the right kind of real estate interview questions. Here you will see a detailed list of great interview questions that will make any non producing agent want to squirm in their seat, along with a few I have provided below.
Surprising Real Estate Statistics
You may have heard of the 80/20 rule, where 80 percent of the sales in most businesses are accomplished by 20 percent of the sales force. This ratio is eye opening for those who first hear about it, but surprisingly it is not even close to the figures for real estate sales professionals. In real estate, a mere 6 percent of agents close 94 percent of sales! It is one of these top performers that you want selling your home.
When you start looking for an agent, though, you will quickly realize that finding a top performer is no easy task. Every agent claims to be the best and it is difficult to determine who is the real deal. You need to ask the right questions to find the right person to take responsibility for the sale of your property. Being completely prepared before putting a home up for sale will be a key to whether you are stressed or have an easy and carefree transaction.
Ask The Right Interview Questions
Compile a list of questions that includes the following for every real estate agent you interview such as the ones below. When you ask the right questions you will increase the odds you will be “moving on up” just like the Jefferson’s.
How long have you been selling real estate?
You want to know how long this person has been in the business. Longer does not necessarily mean the agent is better – younger agents can be hungry and driven – but it does paint a more complete picture of the agent. The longer you have been in the business the more prepared you will be when issues come up that could put the transaction in the balance of being successful or not. Don’t under estimate how valuable having an agent that is great at problem solving in your corner.
How many homes have you sold as a seller’s agent in the last year?
A bigger number is usually better here. Some low performing agents will try to imply that a lower number of sold homes means more personalized service, but this is often just a diversion. You want someone who sells homes with regularity. A track record of success is worth it’s weight in gold. Like any business those that are successful are usually consistent year in and year out.
Of these sales, how many days did it take on average to reach an accepted offer after the original list price?
You want someone who will hit the ground running from the moment you hire him or her. The harder an agent works and the better they are at their job, the shorter this number should be. Proper pricing of course will play a big part in this statistic. Don’t underestimate how important it is to price your home properly. There are a number of agents who are really good at telling a seller what the want to hear in order to capture their business. Don’t fall for those underhanded tactics. One of the top home seller mistakes choosing a Realtor is picking someone based on the price they give you. Here is the perfect example of what happens everyday all across America by people selling their homes.
- Agent A comes in at a market value of $300,000 for Mr. Home Sellers property. Agent A does a decent job but is clearly not the best agent based on production, marketing skills and internet presence.
- Agent B comes in at a market value of $305,000 for Mr. Home Sellers Property. Agent B is clearly superior in everything they do. Their marketing is unbelievable. They are all over the internet and can be found for all types of real estate searches. Agent B offers professional photography on all the homes they are marketing. Agent B also has a fantastic feedback system for communicating with their clients. Their past clients rave about them. Clearly agent B knows what they are doing as their production is head and shoulders above most agents in the area. Agent B sells lots of homes and has a clear track record of success.
- Agent C comes in at a market value of $345,000. Agent C does very little to sell homes. In fact their marketing plan ends with a sign in the yard and sticking the home in the multiple listing service (MLS). Agent C thinks having 5 photos of the home does an adequate job of showing the real estate world what the property is all about. Internet marketing – what’s that? Color brochures to show off a properties best attributes – Not a chance that costs money. This real estate agent is affectionately known as a post and pray Realtor.
Do you know how many times agent C will get the job to market Mr. Sellers home? The answer is lots! Folks this happens all the time – wake up and smell the coffee. Look at the market data – it never lies, people do!
What was the average difference from the listing price of the home to the final sale price?
A good agent will report a smaller number, both because he or she is skilled at setting an appropriate price from the start and because he or she has good negotiating abilities. Again when you price a home right it sells. If you want a smile on your face in a reasonable amount of time pick an agent with a track record of not needing price reductions.
Can you give me three references from recent sales, preferably your last three?
Any real estate agent can cherry pick the three best sales of his or her career, but this is not what you are looking for. You want a complete picture of the agent’s most recent performance. Speaking to the last three clients of the agent should be a better way of giving you this picture. Ask the agent for the names of the owners for the last five homes they sold and randomly call a few of these folks.
Do you have an assistant?
An agent that is busy selling homes will not have time to handle the day to day tasks that come along with being an agent – including things like collecting showing feedback and taking care of the mountains of paperwork that come with the job. A good agent will have the resources and the commitment to premium service to hire an assistant to free up his or her time for the most important task – selling your home.
Someone who does not sell a lot of homes of course has no need for an assistant. Typically only agents who have a business that is consistently selling tons of homes would have the need to hire an assistant. This is a good thing!
How do you use the Internet to help sell my home?
Every agent worth his or her salt is online now. This includes a social networking presence, an understanding and familiarity with all the major listing services and having a personal website and blog. The web is where it is at in real estate, and you need an agent that is familiar and comfortable with this reality. Pretending like selling homes hasn’t changed in 20 years doesn’t help anyone, least of all you.
Look for an agent that comes up for local keyword searches surrounding real estate. Local search engine optimization is important because people go to Google for everything including finding their next home!
Ask the agent if they will be using social media to promote their real estate business. Some of the better social media channels for real estate include Google Plus, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. The agent you choose should be using modern methods to be in front of more people promoting your home and their business. There are lots of ways of promoting real estate through social media. Real Estate agents that understand this become very visible online and it shows!
Do you have a good camera and can you take pictures?
Going along with the realities of online sales, the necessity of good real estate photography is absolute. The pictures you put up online will be the first thing that sells your home to potential buyers and they must be of good quality to do this.
Your agent should have a high-grade camera and the necessary skills to take flattering pictures of your property and post them online for the greatest number of people to access. If the agent isn’t qualified to do a good job taking photography they should hire someone who is!
This is an area that many real estate agents fail at. Just go to any online real estate portal and you will see how many agents post absolutely atrocious photos. What is even sadder is how many sellers never even bother to check up on how the agent they have hired is representing their property online. Never forget how important photography is for the success of your sale.
Can you help me make my home more marketable?
A skilled agent should be able to help you turn your home into a desirable property, even if it currently has some issues. At the least, he or she should be able to give you actionable advice for renovations and staging tips.
Ask the agent for examples of how he or she has done this for other home sellers and for a few tips on what you could do right now to make your home sell. Like any good interview question, this one should make good agents light up with numerous examples and bad agents sit there with a dumb founded look of their face. You will also know you have found a pro when they have carefully looked around your home and are not afraid to point out to you some potential home inspection issues. A good real estate agent will not be afraid to point of your homes warts. There are agents who don’t for fear of coming across as being negative and losing out on the opportunity to list your home. The best real estate agents never worry about losing business. They always keep the clients best interests at heart.
Will you be the primary person to communicate with both me and any potential buyers?
While you want an agent that has the forethought and resources to hire assistance, you also want someone who makes communications with you and with buyers a priority.
Your agent should stay in regular contact with you about what is going on with your sale and should prioritize speaking with potential buyers. He or she should be the most qualified person to speak about your property and should make it a point to do so each and every time someone has questions about it.
Don’t settle for an agent who has poor communications skills. In the day and age a great Realtor should have a smart phone that allows them to get email, text and phone calls immediately.
There is no excuse for an agent not responding back to a buyer inquiry within 15 minutes unless they are with a client. It goes without saying they should also respond back to their clients just as quickly. I have experienced some of the worst communication skills from a number of Realtors I have worked with over the years. Frankly it blows my mind that someone thinks it’s okay not to return your calls on the same day.
Take Your Time Making A Decision
Selecting a Realtor to represent your interests when selling a home is an important decision. For most people a home is one of their largest assets. Take the selection process seriously and you will more than likely be happy with the end results. Thinking all Realtors are created equal and do the same things to sell homes will more than likely lead to an unpleasant selling experience.
Use these real estate interview questions to help your decision process in choosing the best Realtor when selling a home. I wish you the best of luck!
Additional Resources on How to Interview a Real Estate Agent
- Twelve questions to ask when interviewing a real estate agent via Realtor Magazine.
- What are the steps to picking the right Realtor to sell my home by MSN Real Estate.
- How to find the right Realtor When selling a home via Joe Manuasa Real Estate.
- When selling a home expect more from your Realtor via Karen Highland.
- Some great tricks to expect from your real estate agent by Lynn Pineda.
The above references and interview questions can be used as additional resources to choose the right Realtor when you need to sell your home!
About the author: The above Real Estate information on choosing a Realtor by asking great real estate interview questions was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 28+ 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, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.