Deciding on a Real Estate Agent
Many smart consumers interview potential real estate agents before deciding on one to hire. Likewise, many of the most successful real estate agents will also be interviewing you to make sure they can work with you. Both sellers and agents should be selective about who they work with. I have put together a few sample questions that you should consider asking any real estate professional that you are considering hiring.
1. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE BUSINESS?
Experience does not always mean expertise and a lack of experience does not always mean a lack of ability. Even the most experienced agents will and should tell you they do not know everything. Much depends on whether the agent has access to competent mentors and the level of their training. Ask them about their team, company, etc.
2. WHAT IS YOUR AVERAGE LIST-PRICE-TO-SALES-PRICE RATIO?
Knowing the agent's average ratio speaks volumes. A competent listing agent should hold a track record for negotiating sales prices that are close to list prices. Therefore, you should be drawn to listing agents with higher ratios closer to 100%.
3. WHAT IS YOUR BEST MARKETING PLAN OR STRATEGY FOR MY NEEDS?
As a seller, you will need to know exactly where and how your property will be marketed. More exposure can mean more offers. More offers can mean better "termed" deals and potentially higher prices. Ask the real estate agent how they market their homes. Better yet, ask the agent to provide you with a written marketing plan and/or examples of current marketing.
4. WILL YOU PLEASE PROVIDE REFERENCES?
Everybody has references. Even new agents have references from previous employers. Testimonials from former customers can be very helpful. Ask the agent to provide you with these.
5. WHAT ARE THE TOP THREE THINGS THAT SEPARATE YOU FROM YOUR COMPETITION?
A good agent won't hesitate to answer this question and will be ready to fire off why he or she is best suited for the job. Everyone has their own standards, but most consumers say they are looking for agents who say they are:
· Honest and trustworthy
· Excellent negotiators
· Available by phone or e-mail
· Good communicators
· Able to maintain a good sense of humor under trying circumstances
6. MAY I REVIEW DOCUMENTS BEFOREHAND THAT I WILL BE ASKED TO SIGN?
A sign of a good real estate agent is a professional who makes forms available to you for preview before you are required to sign them. If at all possible, ask for these documents upfront. Ask to see forms such as listing agreement, seller’s disclosures, etc.
7. HOW WILL YOU HELP ME FIND OTHER PROFESSIONALS?
Let the real estate agent explain to you who they work with and why they choose these professionals. Your agent should be able to supply you with a written list of referring vendors such as mortgage brokers, home inspectors and title companies. Ask for an explanation if you see the term "affiliated" because it could mean that the agent and their broker are receiving compensation from one or all of vendors, and you could be paying a premium for the service.
8. HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE?
Don't ask if the fee is negotiable. All real estate fees are negotiable. Typically, real estate agents charge a percentage, from 2% to 4% to represent one side of a transaction: a seller or a buyer. A listing agent may charge, for example, 3.5% for herself and another 3.5% for the buyer's agent, for a total of 7%.
9. WHAT KIND OF GUARANTEE DO YOU OFFER?
If you sign a listing or buying agreement with the agent and later find that you are unhappy with the arrangement, will the agent let you cancel the agreement? Will the agent stand behind their service to you? What is the agent’s company policy about canceled agreements? Has anybody ever canceled an agreement with them before?
10. WHAT HAVEN'T I ASKED YOU THAT I NEED TO KNOW?
Pay close attention to how the real estate agent answers this question because there is always something you need to know, always. You want an agent to take their time with you -- to make sure you feel comfortable and secure with their knowledge and experience. The agent should know how to listen and how to counsel you, how to ask the right questions to find out what they need to know to better serve you.
Team Johnson of Alta Realty Company prides ourselves on our success as listing agents. For the past 5 years we have led our region in listings. We were awarded “Highest Number of Listings Taken” and “Highest Number of Listings Sold” for 2011 - 2015. We would welcome an opportunity to interview to list and sell your home too. Give us a call at 904-217-3711 or email us at email@example.com
Team Johnson Alta Realty Company
St. Augustine, FL 32086
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