What to ask a REALTOR®
The suggestions below are intended to assist you in the process of selecting a capable Realtor to help in getting your home sold, and are not a guarantee that the agent you select will, in fact, sell your home.
The first five questions will give you some background on the Realtor and their program to market, sell, and service your listing. Length of time in the business is not as critical as the results they are getting. Being a Realtor, or member of the local, provincial and national Association of Realtors, is a must. These agents adhere to a strict Code of Ethics established by the Canadian Real Estate Association; others don't.
If a Realtor is doing any respectable level of business, they'll have a personal assistant or "Team" approach to their business. It is impossible to believe that one person (the Realtor) can handle the sign and ad calls, complete a multitude of paperwork, write advertisements, show homes, negotiate contracts, assist buyers with mortgage arrangements, coordinate closing details with the lawyers, meet and arrange inspections, measure, take photos, install lockboxes and signs, communicate with realtors and sellers, follow-up on showings, prepare and process the mailings, do the telemarketing, prepare and design the "Home Feature" sheets and hope to provide you with a decent level of service. There are just too many details for one person to handle it all. The person you hire should be a good businessperson someone who knows how to generate prospects for your home and someone who can delegate the lesser tasks to a team member.
It's good to know what a Realtor will do to market your home, but let them do the job. A good Realtor will have a proven game plan. It's good for you to know what they'll do, but not instruct them in how to do it. Simply make sure they will be keeping you informed of their progress. It's always a good idea to ask for several references from the Realtor's past clients.
Questions 6 - 10 really let you know how likely the agent is to get your home sold. Every Realtor you meet will tell you they are number one at something, and after awhile, everyone sounds the same. Keep track of the answers the agents provide. If a Realtor doesn't know the answers to these questions, that should send you a strong signal about how they run their business, and subsequently, how your listing may be handled by them.
A strong record of sales, getting a high percentage of listings sold in a relatively short period of time and sticking fairly close to list price are what you want in a Realtor. A strong sales record is most likely your best ticket to getting your home sold quickly and for top dollar. In addition, a Realtor with a larger inventory of homes for sale will generate more prospective buyers than a Realtor with a small inventory. Don't believe all the talk that any particular Realtor is too busy to handle your sale; you want a busy Realtor because they will handle your sale... they'll get the job done!
Be cautious of agents offering certainties that they can sell your home for some inflated price. No agent has the ability to influence the price of your home. The Market is the Market. An agent can only bring you what the market has to offer. Overpricing most often leads to missing the true buyers for your home. Consequently, you'll drop the price down to a level that would normally attract the right buyer. However, you'll have lost valuable market time and will have armed any prospective buyers with negotiating tools to press you on a lower price. The end result is you have taken longer to sell your home and received less for it. Price at or very close to, the market.
As you can see, there are a few considerations in choosing the right Realtor.
15 Questions to ask prospective Real Estate Agents:
- How long have you been selling real estate full-time?
- Do you work in another part-time or full-time position?
- Are you a Realtor (Not all real estate agents are Realtors)?
- What educational designations have you earned?
- Do you have a personal assistant or team approach to your business? What exactly do they do?
- What specifically will you do to market my home?
- How will I be kept informed and how often will I be updated?
- How many homes have you sold in the past 12 months?
- What percentages of your listings get sold?
- How many days on average until your listings sell?
- What is the percentage of listing price received on your sales?
- How many listings are you now carrying?
- Do you fax, E-mail or mail flyers of my home to other agents personally? How many and by what means?
- How will showings be scheduled for my home?
- If I list my home with you, when would the marketing begin?