Your home is the biggest investment you’ll ever make and hiring a real estate broker to assist with the sale or purchase of your home is a great way to more easily negotiate the ins and outs of the market. But before you pick just any realtor it’s a good idea to get referrals, shop around and ask the right questions.
What experience do you have?
A newly licensed agent doesn’t mean he/she isn’t as qualified as someone with 20 years in the business. What you do need to look for is education and what type and how much property he or she has sold in the past. Also inquire about his or her knowledge of your neighborhood and the marketplace.
Do you work full-time or part-time?
There are many great agents who work part-time, but if you’re looking to sell your home quickly for the most money possible, working with a full-time agent will help maximize your results.
Will you be working with me from start to finish?
It’s important to know the scope of the agent’s team. Does he/she have an assistant or support staff? It could be a problem if your agent is extremely busy and doesn’t have help. You may prefer to work with someone with less listings who can devote more of his attention to your home.
What’s your list-price-to-selling-price ratio?
This figure comes from comparing the original list price of a property to the price for which it eventually sold. Ideally, agents should come as close to 100% as possible, as – this will tell you how well the agent is able to successfully sell a home at or very close to the list price.
How often will you be communicating with me?
You’ll need to communicate how often you want to be informed, what kind of details your agent will be sharing with you and in what way you want this information to be passed on. This includes having an understanding of the realtor’s business hours – ie. are weekends off limits? A good agent will respond promptly to your inquiries and should be communicating with you at least once a week.
What’s your marketing strategy?
In addition to posting your listing on the Multiple Listings Service (MLS) – a collection of private databases used by real estate brokers to share listings – your agent should be marketing your home in other ways. Find out what those methods are and what tactics he’s used in the past.
What are your realtor fees?
Fees vary, but are generally calculated as a percentage of the home’s final sale price. Typically, you’re looking at about 5-6% for a listing agent. Don’t feel like you can’t negotiate, it’s a free market.
Do you have a cancellation policy?
In the unlikely scenario that you want to opt out of a listing, you should know your agent’s policy in advance. Will the agent be entitled to the entire commission? Are you locked into a listing for 6 months? Be sure to ask!
Can I preview documents before I’m asked to sign?
A good agent will let you see all the necessary documents, including the listing agreement and the agent and seller disclosure statements, before you’re required to sign them. If possible, get them in advance.
Can you give me references?
Tell your agent you’d like to follow-up by phone with a few of his prior clients to ask about their experiences with him or her. Good agents are happy to provide the information you’re requesting.