The decision to buy or sell a home may be a little more complex than just putting a sign in the yard, attending a few open houses, and waiting for your deal to close.
As it is with any business venture, knowing the right questions to ask isn’t always the easy task. The following list of 12 important and insightful questions should help you find a great realtor that will suit your needs.
Question #1: How long have you been practicing real estate?
This question is not only a question about how many years of experience they have, but how they do business; what they specialize in, how many homes they have purchased and/or sold, and what average price range they are used to dealing with. It is also good to find out how productive they have been each year they have been a realtor.
The fact that one realtor has been in the business for 10 years does not mean that they are more qualified or knowledgeable than a realtor who has been in the business for 5 years. You also want to understand and know what type of experience they have that will apply to what you are looking for.
Question #2: What qualifications do you have to sell real estate?
Learning about the realtors overall commitment and dedication to their business is a great way to find the right realtor. If they are not willing to commit in improving themselves and their business than they may not be willing to commit to your needs either.
Always look at their overall education in the business. Do they have a degree? Do they have any realtor or professional designations? How often do they actually invest on improving their skills for their business? And do they keep up with technology and other industry trends? These questions will give you more insight on the type of professional they are and whether or not you should be doing business with them.
You also want to make sure that they have a good amount of experience with negotiating and finances.
Question #3: Tell me about your personal real estate operation?
You want your realtor to talk about their business. For example, do they have employees, such as assistants or partners that may be able to provide you with information when they are not available? Do they have multiple lines of communication available to you? Do they have a private office with a broker or on their own? (This is a clue to a top producing agent!)
Question #4: Can you give me a list of client references to call?
References are very important in choosing your realtor. If the realtor cannot provide you with a list satisfied references that tells you one of two things; they are not doing much business, or they aren’t providing quality service and follow through that allows them to have plenty of quality references. Also make sure that you ask for references from bankers, mortgage lenders, appraisers, attorneys, or other professionals that they have worked with in the past.
Question #5: Do you have a formal and written marketing plan for selling homes?
Although this question applies more to sellers, homebuyers should also think to ask. The marketing plan presented by your agent should be in depth. It should be more than simply holding open houses, running ads, or entering your home MLS.
Consistency is the key to selling a home. Consistently marketing your home to capable buyers is important. If an agent lacks a variety of marketing strategies then this will be difficult to achieve. You want to look for unique and special ideas, and persistence and consistency in their marketing plan.
Question #6: Do you guarantee your performance?
You want to make sure that both you and your agent are on the same team and want the same outcome. You want to find an agent who believes in their work and is willing to stake their successful outcome with yours.
Question #7: Can you refer me to a reputable mortgage lender, banker, appraiser, or real estate lawyer?
Asking this will reveal how active the agent is in the market, it will also reveal their professional connections. There will be additional services that you will need when buying or selling your home. Agents who are actively in business and have built a quality reputation will be able to refer you to lenders, appraisers, title companies, and other services that you will need during this process.
Question #8: What percentage of your business comes by referral?
Referrals are a huge plus with agents. This will allow you to find out how trustworthy and knowledgeable your agent is if a large part of their business comes from referrals from satisfied clients.
If less then 25% of their new business is through referrals it can be
and should be a cause for concern for you when selling your home.
Question #9: How many people do you speak with each day about real estate?
A well-connected agent is important. It shows you how active they will be when they “talk-up” your home to buyers, or simply for finding a home for you by reaching out to other agents. The goal is to hopefully find an agent who can easily speak to at least 40 people a day about real estate. If they fall extremely short of that number they may not be as active as they have lead on to be.
Question 10: Will you personally handle contract negotiations?
Your agent should ultimately be committed to your best interest. They should come with a reasonable amount of negotiating skills, and become more active in the submitting and receiving of offers. Many times agents simply become a messenger between you and the buyer or seller.
You need to learn specifics about how their negotiation skills have saved their other clients money, if the negotiations were hassles, or simply ended up helping the deal come together. They will need to be able to represent you and your needs to other agents and buyers or sellers.
Knowing the right questions to ask can save you an enormous amount of time, money, and hassle. These ten questions can help you achieve just that.
Keeping It Real,
The Cloninger Properties Team