It is critical that you make the right decision about who will handle what is probably your single largest financial investment.
Not all Real Estate Agents are the same. In fact, approximately 80% of the 3000+ Realtors in the area sold less than 1 home a month last year.
Picking an agent can cost or save you thousands of dollars. Here are 12 specific questions to ask to ensure that you get the best representation. Some agents prefer you don’t ask these questions, since the knowledge you’ll gain will automatically disqualify them. In real estate, as in life, not all things are created equal.
1. What makes you different? Why should I list my home with you?
It is a much tougher Real Estate market than it was a just a few years ago. What unique marketing plans and programs does this agent have in place to make sure that your home stands out favourably? What marketing campaigns, systems, videos, and experience does this agent offer to help you sell your home? Any realtor can put a sign on the lawn, an ad in the paper, download the listing to the MLS and hold an open house...what are the extra systems and programs that they are offering?
2. What is your company’s track record and reputation in the market place?
It may seem like everywhere you look, Real Estate Agents are boasting about being #1 or “the best” for this or that. If you’re like many homeowners, then you have probably become immune to this information. You may ask, "Why should I care about how many homes one agent sold over another? The only thing I care about is whether they can sell my home."
However, you should be asking the agents you interview how many homes they have sold. I’m sure you will agree that if one agent is selling a lot of homes (100+ per year) whereas another is selling only a handful, you might ask yourself, “Why this might be? What things are these two agents doing differently?”
You may be surprised to know that approx 80% of agents sell fewer than 12 homes a year. This volume makes it difficult for them to do full-impact marketing on your home because they cannot afford the advertising, special programs, or utilize the latest technology to give your home a high profile marketing campaign. Also, at this low level, they probably cannot afford to hire an assistant, which means that they are running around trying to do all the components of the job themselves, and service may suffer.
3. What are your marketing plans for my home?
In what media does this agent advertise? What does she/he know about the effectiveness of one medium over the other?
4. What has your company sold in my area?
Agents should bring you a complete listing of their own and other comparable sales in your area.
5. Who controls their marketing – the Real Estate Agent or their broker?
If your agent is not in control of their own marketing, then who is? You may want to talk with that person prior to signing anything. How effective is the Listing Agent's marketing? What percentage of their own listings do they sell? How many Buyer’s Agents do they have help them with the showings?
6. On average, when your listings sell, how close is the selling price to the asking price?
This information is available from The Real Estate Board. Is this Listing Agent’s performance higher or lower than The Board average? Their performance on this measurement will help you predict how high a price you will get for the sale of your home.
7. On average, how long does it take for your listings to sell?
This information is also available from The Real Estate Board. Does this Listing Agent tend to sell faster or slower than The Board average? Their performance on this measurement will help you predict how long your home will be on the market before it sells.
8. How many buyers are you currently working with?
The more buyers your agent is working with, the better your chances are of selling your home quickly. It will also impact price because a Listing Agent with many buyers can set up an auction-like atmosphere where many buyers bid on your home at the same time. Ask them to describe the system they have for attracting buyers.
9. Do you have a reference list of clients I could contact?
Ask to see this list, and then proceed to spot check some of the names or ask to see some video testimonials.
10. What happens if I’m not happy with the job you are doing to get my home sold?
Can I cancel my listing contract? Be wary of Listing Agents that lock you into a lengthy listing contract. There are usually penalties and broker protection periods which safeguard the Listing Agent’s interests, but not yours. How confident is your Listing Agent in the service she/he will provide you? Will she/he allow you to cancel your contract if you’re not satisfied with the service provided without hassle or at what financial cost?
11. How much business is repeat or referral business?
You can get a very good idea that if the agent does not have a high referral rate or not many repeat clients, then the agent may be one that makes a lot of promises yet is not a promise keeper. Today, the industry average is under 50%. Compare that to The Siebert Team’s 90-96% repeat/referral rate, you know we must be doing something different.
12. What kind of follow up will you do after I list with you?
Many agents will only update you if you call them to find out what is happening on your listing. Statistically, 6 out of 10 agents do not call the Realtor who showed your property for feedback. Usually this is because they do not have the time. This is critical, as the seller needs to know why the buyer did not like their home. There may be changes that you can make to make it more marketable with this information. Make sure the agent you are hiring has a weekly follow up system that will keep you in the know.
Evaluate each agent’s responses to these 12 questions carefully and objectively. Who will do the best job for you? These questions will help you decide.
For a Free Seller’s Consultation you can call us at 604-859-2341 or you can fill in the form below.