Currently, there are over 1.3 million Realtors in the United States alone. The number of people that have joined the real estate sales force over the last 10 years is staggering.
No two agents are the same and less than 10% of the total number of Realtors to 90% of the business.
In addition to that, not all agents are created equally. Many of them don’t get you the best results for your specific needs.
In 2017 — one of the hottest markets in recent history — only a third of the homes that got listed sold for full price or at net full price (after seller concessions). The 66% of homes that didn’t sell for full price have a lot to do with the price at which the agent recommended to sell the home and negotiation skills of the agent himself/herself.
Granted, there may have been some extenuating circumstances that caused some of properties to fall below full price. At the end of the day, though, most of the results you get as a seller fall on us as agents.
What all this means to you is that you need to do your due diligence when interviewing agents so that you hire an expert in not only getting you top dollar for your home, but also in providing world class customer service and sales negotiation.
Your challenge is knowing what questions to ask so that you hire the absolute best agent for your needs.
To help you narrow down your search and find the right agent the first time, we’re providing the 10 best questions for you to ask an agent before you list your home.
Here they are:
1: What are the specific elements of of your home selling and marketing strategy that affect the selling price and time my home will be on the market? A good agent should be able to give you a clear plan as to how they’ll invest their marketing dollars to get the largest number of buyers through your home to get you the most amount of money in a time frame that works for you.
2: Do you require a pre-inspection and that I have my home staged before I sell? If not, why? Home staging helps homes sell for 6 to 10% more and cuts as many as two weeks of the time it takes a home to sell. A pre-inspection can help you save as many as $7 for every $1 of repairs needed before the buyer does with their own inspection. The cost savings and amount of stress reduced by staging and pre-inspection are huge. Be leary of agents that don’t recommend those services to you at time of listing.
3: Can you identify for me the best Internet marketing methods and why they work? Over 92% of home buyers use the Internet for some part of their home search process. A great agent not only knows which websites to advertise on, but also how much to spend and what needs to be marketed about your house specifically to get you the best results.
4: What reporting do you make available that shows how many unique visitors are seeing my home on the various websites you use to market your listings? In order to ensure that your home is getting the right amount of visibility online, you need to track how many people are seeing it and from what sources. That way, if you’re not getting the results you want and need to achieve your goals, you can make changes. Simply advertising your home for sale on a well-known website or two doesn’t get the job done.
5: Do you have any information that details what home buyers find the most useful when it comes to a property-marketing ad and what motivates buyers to respond to it? Your agent should know what attracts not just any buyers, but the right buyers, to your home from an advertising and marketing perspective. Every home has a target set of prospects that are the best candidates for buying your home. Your agent should know who those buyers are and what ads/marketing strategies will work to attract them to look at and potentially buy your home.
6: Do you have a marketing budget that outlines how you’ll spend your resources to market my home and earn your fee? A good agent not only has an ample budget to drive up demand on your home, but also they have a strategy as to where that money will be spent to get you the best results. Be sure to ask for your prospective agent’s marketing budget and how they’re going to allocate it in selling your home.
7: What is your strategy to attract qualified buyers from the various sources available today and how will you work to attract co-op agents so they show my home over other homes in the market? Roughly 71% of the home sold today are from an agent who brings a buyer to the table. The best agents have relationships with the top agents in the marketplace who work with the largest number of buyers. As well, they know which sources provide the best and most plentiful qualified buyer leads for homes in any price range.
8: What is your negotiation strategy and how can I count on you to negotiate from a position of strength than one of weakness? How can you assure me that the home inspection will not “blow up” my transaction at the very last minute? Unfortunately, many agents need your listing to sell worse than you do in order to secure a commission check. This is not a good thing as it keeps them from negotiating from a position of strength and focusing on what’s best for you. You need an agent that is a seasoned negotiator and who knows how to navigate a real estate transaction so the results end up in your favor.
9: Can you identify how your team will work to handle my listing from the minute you take it until the day that it closes? Also, identify for me the different departments of your company and show me how they benefit me in the sale of my home. The best agents realize that they can’t do everything themselves. To that end, they outsource anything they can to professional service providers who excel at handling the different aspects of managing and closing a transaction. This helps your transaction go much more smoothly and gives you the world-class customer service you deserve.
10: What do you do, if anything, to ensure that the leads you generate are going to be handled in a timely manner so that we don’t miss out on any qualified buyer prospects? Statistically speaking, your agent is 21x more likely to get in contact with a lead and convert them to a sale when they talk to them within five minutes of lead coming in. A great agent will have a solid strategy to get in contact with leads as soon as they come in to give you the best chance of securing them as a buyer for your home.
Great relationships start with the hardest questions being asked and answered up front.
Your home is likely the biggest investment you have. As such, you can’t take lightly who you hire to help you sell it. Be sure to ask these questions and don’t be satisfied until you get the right answers.