It is recommended that you have a real estate agent help you with your transactions. But how do you know which agent to select? The choice can be difficult, but here are some questions to ask during potential agent interviews.
1. Do you have references from past clients? Ask their past clients if they were pleased with the service the agent provided them. Did they communicate in a timely manner, and were they kind and courteous?
2. What does being an agent mean to you? By asking this question you'll be able to see what their work ethic and business philosophy are. You want an agent that puts their priority on your happiness first, and their commission check second.
3. How long have you been in real estate? This is not to say that someone new to the business would not be a great asset. However, depending on the nature of your transaction, you may feel more comfortable with an agent with a proven record of sucess.
4. How many homes did you sell last year? Just because an agent has been in the business for a while doesn't mean they've been successful. You don't want to have your home on the market for months, when a savvy agent could have it sold in weeks.
5. What designations and certifications do you hold? Beyond holding a real estate license, agents can opt to expand their education and skills. There are a multitude of courses and programs available. In general, these certifications mean a more specialized agent.
6. What is your marketing plan? In an ideal world a house would just sell itself, right? But the market swings back and forth on a constant pendullum between being in favor of sellers and then buyers. If you are selling a house in a buyers market, then you need a solid marketing plan to make your home stand apart. Open houses, email campaigns, webcasts, and brochures are just a few of the items your agent may use.
7. Do you do dual agency? Dual agency is when the agent represents both the buyer and the seller. This is legal, as long as disclosed, but it may not be something you're interested in signing up for. Be sure to ask.
8. What are your home sales stats? It is important to ask them how long it takes them on average to sell a home. And then ask what the area average is. They should know this information off the top of their head, or at least have the statistics readily available.
9. How do you communicate with your clients? There is nothing worse than not being able to get ahold of your agent, with questions, for updates, and for feedback. In today's modern world of technology, there is no excuse for them not to stay in constant contact. There is email, texting, cell phones, and a myriad of other options. Ask what they use to stay in touch with their clients.
10. Do you have other connections? Meaning, will they be able to refer you to contractors, mortgage lenders, banks, landscapers, pool maintenance crews, and the like. This will be especially important if you are new to the area.
Published: May 17, 2010