This is not an advertisement, but it is interesting the number of potential clients that interview a real estate agent, have no idea what questions to ask other than, “How much can I get for my house?” Of course, that’s a good question, and one that deserves a careful, well thought out answer. However, while many sellers know that they should interview three prospective agents, what are the most valuable questions a real estate needs to hear?
I like to meet with future clients to discuss what selling a home is all about. I also like to get to know the clients to determine if they are serious about selling their home, or if they are just sticking their toes in the water to feel out the market. But it’s a two-way street. I want clients to understand my qualifications and the real estate process. It’s a valuable exchange of information and one that every home seller should initiate.
Obviously, there are lots of people out there that sell real estate. Based on the answers an agent provides to the following questions, it may be easier to separate the good from the bad.
As mentioned above, this is always the first question sellers want to know. Who can blame them? I would want to know the same thing as well. When interviewing three real estate agents, if two suggest a $300,000 price tag while another says $450,000, there is a good chance the higher priced agent is telling you what you want to hear. This is known as “buying a listing,” in which it’s a huge exaggeration just to get your business. Take my word for it: When a house is overpriced, there are no buyers, in fact, you will rarely get someone to see your home as it will have a reputation with real estate agents as being overpriced for the neighbourhood. In the end, you will have to lower your price, and buyers will think something is wrong with it, so you will have wasted valuable time and money.
How Will You Advertise My Home?
Of course you should hear an agent say your home will be marketed via print advertising and the Internet. But that’s not all. An agent should also have a marketing plan on what kinds of people will be targeted for buying your home. For example, if you live in a child friendly neighbourhood in an excellent school district, then your home should be targeted with supporting marketing materials and advertisements toward the buyer with children. If you live in a condo, then your prospective buyer may be a first time home buyer or someone ready to downsize. In this case, marketing is directed toward that client. An efficient real estate agent will tell you this at your first meeting.
Has Your Business Changed In The Last Several Years?
If a real estate answers, “no,” then keep looking. Real estate has changed dramatically in the past several years thanks to website tours, smart phones and the ever-changing Internet. A real estate agent who does not take advantage of these new marketing strategies, is limiting access to your home from 90 percent of buyers.
What’s Your Specialty?
Some agents have a specialty. For example, you might interview someone who only shows home in a particular neighbourhood or suburb. Or maybe a real estate agent works specifically with people who are downsizing and moving into smaller homes. Regardless, make sure that if your agent has an area that they are experts at, it pertains to your home and your needs. It’s no use looking at an agent who knows the condo industry if you are selling a family home in a neighbourhood where they don’t normally do business.
What Do You Need From Me?
A real estate agent will require help from their clients. For example, if your house needs repairs or painting, an agent will tell you to make these improvements so your home gets the price and attention it deserves. If an agent anticipates lots of showings the first week, it is necessary for him or her to tell you to make your home available and spotlessly clean and to make arrangements for the household pet if you have one. If staging is necessary, then an agent should let you know. Be aware of the agent that answers this question with, “Nope! I don’t need you to do anything.” Sellers and agents must work together for a successful sale.
What’s Your Fee?
Always make sure that you and the agent are on the same page regarding this. I have posted several articles on this subject, particularly about lowering the commission rate. For many agents, who offer you a bargain fee, remember this, you get what you pay for. An agent who low balls their commission usually means that they will do little to sell your home other than put up a sign and maybe do some print advertising. Why? Because they know they aren’t getting much so they have no reason to actively look for a buyer.
May I Call Some Of Your Previous Clients?
If an agent has a short list, or is brand new to the real estate industry, beware. Yes, everyone must start somewhere at sometime, however, when it comes to selling what may be your most valuable asset in this buyer’s market, don’t you want someone with experience with a long recommendation list?
Without a doubt, finding a Windsor real estate agent who will use a wide range of marketing programs to sell your home means you are getting the best possible deal in a reasonable amount of time. Selling a home these days take some effort, no doubt. Making sure you find a good agent right away means that you are one step closer to selling your home.