8 Questions To Ask Agents
Why should I choose you?
Like all important decisions, you need to know why you chose a certain real estate agent. Your potential agent should describe their approach to client service and exactly what to expect from them throughout the process. Here are some red flags: they say they can sell your home for far more than other agents, but they don’t back it up with comparisons of your home and others on the market and recently sold. They speak well, but you don’t understand everything they’re saying. If you’re not sure you’re on the same page during an initial introduction, they’ll be communication problems down the road. If the agent is seems more into a high pressure vs. a patient consultative approach, it might be time to move on to the next candidate. If they understand this is all about serving you and helping you achieve your goals, you’re speaking with someone who might be worthy of your business.
How long have you been a licensed real estate agent?
This is a tricky question. As we all know, some folks have been in a given profession for many years…one year at a time! In other words, they don’t necessarily improve with experience while some continue to learn and grow each day. If you find an agent with considerable experience and they’re able to relate what they’ve learned, that’s the kind of response you’re looking for. Otherwise, lots of years might not translate into the well-rounded professional you seek.
Can I contact past clients?
This can be helpful, but only if you ask some pointed questions of references. Otherwise, you’ll hear lots of platitudes without facts to back it up. For instance, ask how they were introduced to the agent. How quickly the agent responded to requests for information or help? How would they grade the overall service and would they talk to other agents or go back to the agent you’re discussing if the need arose at some point in the future.
What happens when?
Knowing what to expect can really lower your stress level every step of the way. Being informed and prepared for the process of showing the house, negotiating with prospective buyers and working towards closing will make it much easier to sleep at night. Ask them to describe the process before any commitments are I place.
What does the listing agreement say?
Once signed, you’ve formally become a client and are responsible to adhere to whatever the agreement states. Be clear on commissions, duration, what you and the agent can and cannot do. Don’t feel obligated or pressured to sign anything unless you thoroughly understand the document and agree with every one of its statements. If there’s a problem, it’s possible negotiate a change. Of course, the commission level is just one element that’s negotiable. At the end of the day, if you have any lingering concerns or questions, there’s always a real estate attorney ready to help.
Are there things I can do to make my home more attractive to buyers?
Chance are the agent has seen a number of homes and is in tune with what buyers like and won’t they don’t. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to do anything, but if there are things you can do to make your home more attractive to buyers you should at least know what they are. Sometimes some fresh paint or a little less clutter can make a huge difference in how people respond when first viewed. On the other hand, it’s far less likely you’ll be adding a bedroom or a new roof, but even these things have been done when the return far exceeds the cost.
Do you have other current listings?
Having listings means the agent is out there working hard and attracting new clients. Ambition is a good thing! Hopefully, that’s the result of successfully finding buyers willing to pay a great price for their clients’ houses. On the other hand, they might be great at signing up clients, but share less of their time with each as a result. Reserve judgement until the agent gives you their response and see if it makes sense to you.
How do we communicate?
Whether on the phone, text or email, your agent needs to be available to answer your questions as they arise. See if they have any policy on this and decide if their approach is acceptable to you. The degree to which you’ll need each other’s attention will likely be greater than you expect, so make sure you’re on the same wavelength from the start.