1) What percentage of your listings have sold in the last 12 months?
If you want to judge the effectiveness of a seller’s agent, it’s good to inquire about their track record. Ideally, you want to hire Realtors who have sold a high percentage of their listings in the same price range as your home.
2) What methods will you use to market my home?
You need to know what to expect in terms of advertising, open houses, broker’s tours, or other services that your prospective Realtor plans to use to sell your home for the best price and terms in the shortest amount of time. Ask for a marketing plan in writing.
3) How close to the asking price have your listings sold for in the last year?
This lets you know if this Realtor is in the habit of listing properties priced far above their market value. It also helps you learn if he or she is a good negotiator on your behalf with potential buyers.
4) How long, on average, have your listings stayed on the market in the last 12 months?
Knowing this information helps you ascertain whether this Realtor makes the appropriate adjustments during the listing period to reflect changes in the marketplace and ensure that your house doesn’t linger in unsold inventory.
5) Can you supply me with references of other sellers who have listed with you?
Positive testimonials from previous homeowners who worked with this agent are good indicators that you can trust this Realtor to do the same job for you.
6) Why is your real estate company any better than its competitors?
A good sales agent will know his firm’s history and reputation and the tools it offers to help market and sell your home.
7) What is your broker’s commission?
You need to know the fee (percentage of the sale price) that your Realtor’s company charges and whether it’s firm or negotiable.
8) What price do you think my home will realistically sell for in today’s market?
Tell your agent that you want a completely honest answer to this question. Even if the Realtor prices your house according to a current comparative market analysis, what does he or she “think” the house will actually sell for? Experienced agents who know their marketplace should be able to give you a close estimate of the actual selling price. Remember, Realtors who intentionally overprice your home are wasting your time and theirs.
9) How many current listings do you have?
This information will help you to know if this broker is overburdened by a very high listing inventory and will not be able to give your home the personal attention you want and need during the marketing process.
10) What kind of feedback will you provide to me throughout the listing period?
You need to know how and when your Realtor will check in with you after showings, ads, or open houses to report comments, reactions, or results. Communication between lister and seller is key and you have the right to request regular status reports from your listing agent from the day you sign the contract until the day you close.
If you’re thinking of selling your house in 2013, it would benefit you to do some research before inviting a prospective broker into your home. Look at current listings on line and in print and see how properties in your area are priced and how long you see the “For Sale” sign on your neighbor’s front lawn.
Also, be observant during a listing presentation with a prospective Realtor. Remember, real estate is about personal relationships. Is this individual’s personality compatible with your own? Does he or she seem to be doing all the talking? Does the agent seem uncomfortable when you ask a question? If so, don’t be afraid to end the meeting politely and invite in the next candidate.
The sale of your home may be the biggest financial transaction in your life, and you need a partner in this process who will be at your side providing expertise, good counsel and comfort from your kitchen table to the closing table.