Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Questions you should ask before choosing a REALTOR®

When it comes time to sell your home, choosing the right real estate agent can mean the difference between selling your home quickly and seeing it sit on the market for a while; between getting your asking price and selling well under your target; between a stressful and a stress-free experience.

During the time your house is on the market, you’ll probably spend quite a bit of time with your agent. Their style should be compatible with yours. If you’re a type A personality, choose a go-getter. If you prefer a more relaxed approach, you’ll probably be happier with a REALTOR® who’s more laid back. You are going to be spending a lot of time with your agent, so your agent's style should be compatible with yours.

Are you a member of the National Association of Realtors?

The NAR requires ethics training and strict adherence to their code of ethics.

What percentage of your clients are buyers vs. sellers?

Can you outline how you would represent us?

Listen for information about housing inspections, following through with your mortgage approval process, and being present at your closing.

In which neighborhoods do you primarily work?

If they don’t work in your area much, it might be worthwhile to keep looking.

How do you plan to advertise my house?

You should have realistic expectations. An agent isn't going to spend half of their commission on marketing for your home.

What is a realistic time frame to sell my house at my list price?

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You don’t want to be lied to here; you want to be presented with realistic expectations.

Will I be working with you directly or handed off to someone else?

In many instances, the REALTOR® gets the commitment, then farms out the work to a sales associate or administrative assistant and you never hear from him again. They’re more interested in getting the next listing and letting someone else sell the property while they collect 3%. That’s not what you should be looking for.

Do you work full-time or part-time as a real estate agent?

A lot of great agents work part-time and are very successful.

How many homes have you closed in the last year?

A small number isn’t necessarily a deal breaker. Be realistic. If it sounds low, ask why.

How many other buyers and sellers are you representing now?

The busiest agents often are the most efficient, but if they have 100 people they’re working with, they’re not committing a lot of time to your business.

Is your license in good standing?

Make sure to check the agent’s certification with the state's Department of Real Estate. Many states provide this information online.

How many years of experience and education do you have?

Years of experience is a good indicator of their level of commitment and talent. Those agents who make the effort to continue their education are usually better agents.

Do you work on weekends?

Answer to this better be yes.

Can you provide me references?

Insights from past customers can help you learn more about an agent and give you a greater comfort level.

The best strategy when picking a real estate agent is to choose the most qualified person, and the one with whom you think you'll work well. Ideally, you want to partner with an experienced agent who knows your market, has a strong sense of ethics, answers your questions and, most importantly, listens to you and addresses your concerns throughout the process.

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