Question Details

April, Both Buyer and Seller in Potomac, MD

What are the most important questions to ask when interviewing an agent to sell my house?

Asked by April, Potomac, MD Sun Apr 13, 2008

and what kind of statistics should I ask them to provide that are the most helpful to compare one agents ability to market my house to another agent?

Thanks a lot for you help!

Help the community by answering this question:


There are lots of good questions that you should ask a potential listing agent.

• How many homes, of my type, have you sold? (recently, 6 mos, 1 year, 5 years)
• What is your list / sale ratio?
• What is your average "days on market"
• What is your marketing plan for my home?
does it include internet (where?), do you offer multiple photos, virtual tours, color brochures
• Do you do open houses (why / why not / how often?)
• What is your price recommendation (why / how did you arrive at that / do you have comps to back that up?... do you have a "quick sale" price, and a normal sale price")
• What is your plan if I'm not under contract in 30 days / 60 days / 90 days ...etc....
• Why should I hire you? What do you bring to the table that's different than the myriad of other agents out there who want my listing.
• Will you offer a reduced commission (why / why not?)
• Are you a full-time agent?
• Do you practice dual-agency? (why / why not?)
• What do you think of Agent A and Agent B (the two other agents you're interviewing)
• Are you planning any upcoming vacations or are you going to be unavaible, and who is your back-up when you're gone?

and lastly

• Is there anything I haven't asked you, that you think I should have?

There, that should get a good interview going.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 14, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL

Thanks very much for an excellent answer!! I really appreciated it. That was exactly what I was looking for.

Thanks also to all the other good answers to this question.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 14, 2008
Hiring a Realtor is challenging. Interviewing three is a good rule of thumb, then compare what you see and hear.
1. they should ask you about your goals you wish to achieve by selling the property. In order to tailor a marketing plan they need to know your situation.
2. they should be able to determine the key selling characteristics of your home that offer the most value. Every Realtor markets, but what are they marketing?
3. They should provide a marketing plan that is tailored to your needs and be able to articulate what they are going to do, when activities will occur, then a follow up system, probably at least once a week to provide you with feedback on their progress.

Most homes that are priced and marketed correctly will receive showing activity and offers in the first two weeks on the market. So if after all that marketing you are not seeing any activity, then the Realtor should be able to advise what the next steps will be. In most markets the longer a home is on the market, the lower the price.

Getting a home on the market is only part of the process. I would also expect their consultation to include aspects of the escrow process ( how long it might take, timing your move to your next home), and in most markets, this would include "what happens if the appraisal comes in below the agreed upon sale price", and they should be asking you how much you owe on your home.

The Realtor's job is to negotiate on your behalf with the buyer's agent, coordinate the closing process, get you moved to your new home at the lowest cost and to avoid legal entanglements.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 14, 2008
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
Greetings! Two of the most important discussion points you will want to address are not at all about money. You will find out if an agent is going to be worth their fee by the answers to these. 1) You want to know how much internet marketing (as opposed to print ads which do not genereate the same high results as internet promo) will they do for you?- they should provide copy to you... and 2) How often do they plan to keep in touch with you? By asking these two questions you will achieve two things: you'll know if they have a particular plan in place already for these two most important aspects of getting a home sold. This is top priority. Keeping in very close communication with you about the status of their activities (in my opinion is at least 3 times per week) is reasonable and shows a high level of accountability. Without good communication you will not know just how much they are working on your behalf. You need to know they are keeping close tabs to the market and making sure your price is based on cold hard numbers week by week. If you don't have showings in the first week, reduce the price. You will avoid the 'negative thinking' that can develop from lack of communication if you have frequent communication. I personally use that as part of my marketing promotion even if sellers don't ask about it...letting sellers know they will hear from me very very frequently and it will be up to them to tell me not to be in touch with updates so often.

And finally, I would ask about their references. If they have happy previous clients to refer to who are willing to give a recommendation that's what you need to know. Any interested party can simply look on under my name (June Lizotte) and my state (Oregon) and see my clients' ratings of the service I provided to them. Check it out.

If you would like me to help you find a great agent who will work hard for you let me know by contacting me via my web site below. You'll find a way to email me there. I have a great referral network for this purpose. Best to you.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 13, 2008
Many times it's not the answer to your questions you are looking for, but the WAY the questions are answered. I would say to look for an enthusiastic agent that will get the word out about your property in a positive way. You don't want an agent that just adds your listing to the Multiple Listing Database and justs sits and waits for a buyer. Ask what else they do to promote your property other than that.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 13, 2008
You need to ask how they are going to market and sell your home? What is their strategy for advertising (how much in print and where on the internet). Over 80% of todays buyers start their search on the internet. What are the area's average days on market and what are their personal statistics? Of course you need to see how in depth they were with their CMA and what market value they place on your home and see how you feel about what their suggestions are for a listing price and how they justify their answer. Also make sure you know the form and frequency of the communication you will be receiving on the progress of selling your home.

There are many more but, this will give you a good start. I am sure some of my fellow professionals will have some more good questions.

Larry Story
Coldwell Banker Triad
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 13, 2008
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