Buying a home can be stressful. You have to find the perfect home to fit your needs in the perfect neighborhood where your family is going to be safe and happy. Selling a home?
Selling your home can be both stressful and confusing but it doesn't have to be. In all actuality if you ask the right questions it can be quite simple finding the right realtor and selling your home. When choosing the right realtor for you many thoughts come to mind: "Is this realtor and I going to get along? Is this realtor going to be available? Can I trust them?" These are all great questions - however we cannot always ask them. Instead ask the following questions and eliminate the realtors that are not a good fit. First you want to get acquainted with them then understand their capabilities, strengths and weaknesses; then find out if they are the right realtor for you.
The best questions to ask are:
1. Which neighborhoods do you specialize in?
It's very important to know which neighborhoods your realtor specializes in. You want someone who is experienced that really understands your neighborhood. If a realtor does not specialize in your neighborhood they most likely don't have an accurate understanding of it. The better their perception and knowledge of your neighborhood the easier it will be for them to sell your home to potential buyers by highlighting the positive attributes of the neighborhood. Many home buyers have families and they will ask about the school districts, neighborhood watch, crime rates etc. Chose a realtor that is familiar with your neighborhood that can answer such questions.
2. What is your marketing strategy?
This question can have an overwhelming answer sometimes. A realtor can start listing off many different ideas and processes to advertise your home - some of which you may not recognize or agree with. Now is the time to discuss marketing strategies that you prefer and ask how / why they chose such methods. You can also ask them to share their success rate with such steps that they plan on taking. Maybe their strategy is to sell your home as a pocket listing It's better to know ahead of time what their marketing strategy is and do your own research to see if it aligns with what you want.
3. How much support do you offer?
This question will allow you to identify how involved your realtor will be during the selling process. If their response is "I have multiple assistants who are always available," you have to decide if you are comfortable with that. Some prefer to have the realtor available instead of assistants or other team members. Some sellers are happy to work with a realtor that has a team who will always be available. When listening to the realtor answer this question you can identify your needs and what you prefer.
4. What is your availability / schedule?
Almost all realtors have multiple clients - good for them! But does this mean that you don't take priority? Will they have a dedicated time for which they are available for your questions? Do they have business hours? Maybe they only answer calls between 9 am to 1 pm and return other calls the next business day. Although there is no wrong answer for this question it is important to know the answer so that you can set appropriate expectations and appointments.
5. What is included in your fee?
This question is a step towards avoiding hidden fees. Yes hidden fees exist everywhere. You may end up meeting a real estate agent that is the absolute perfect fit for you but they don't included the advertising costs in their fee. Are you going to be financially responsible for advertising costs? Is there additional legal fees that you were not aware of? Don't hesitate to ask what services and fees are if you do not understand them. It is better to know before you hire them then to find out afterwards and be put in a tough spot.
6. Can you provide some references?
Asking this question will reveal if this realtor builds strong and memorable relationships. When working with someone compatibility, honesty and work ethic are crucial. Having references readily available reveals that the real estate agent you are interviewing has these qualities.
7. How much do you think we can sell this house for?
Answering this question will reveal the realtors sensibility and experience. An inexperienced realtor will respond with a high and hopeful number. An experienced realtor will be honest with you and take into consideration where the market is and the impact of your neighborhood on the price to list with.
8. How fast are houses selling in this neighborhood?
This question will continue to reveal the realtors experience, knowledge and effort. An experienced and motivated realtor would have known to check such statistics and updates before meeting with you.
9. How many listings do you have in this neighborhood?
This question is preferred by some and not so much but others. However it is important to know if this potential realtor has prior obligations that may affect their ability to sell your home quickly. For some realtors it is beneficial to have multiple listings in the same neighborhood. If the realtor says that he/she does have other listings in the same neighborhood ask them how this will impact the marketing strategy for your home.
10. How many homes have you sold in the past 12 months in this price range?
Asking how many homes the realtor has recently sold in your price range will reveal their experience also. For example maybe they sold 20 homes last year but they were all high - end multi million dollar homes where as your home is around 800K. You want to hire a realtor that has experience selling homes that are within the same price range as yours; such a realtor will have a larger network of buyers that will buy your home. If a realtor works only with multi million dollar homes may not understand the market of average homes, how to find the right buyers, how to advertise etc.
11. What are your thoughts on staging?
It's important to stage your home when selling. Staging helps buyers envision how they can fit into the space. Also take safety into consideration when staging. If your house is on the market unfortunately you will have strangers enter your home, you can't help but worry if that Vase from your last trip will get knocked over and break or what if some items go missing? When you have your home staged such things will not be a worry. Speaking about staging will also open the conversation to see what your realtor will advise.
12. Can you explain your open house strategy?
Understanding whether or not your home will host open houses or how frequently there will be open houses will help you plan adapt your schedule. It will motivate you to tidy up and get rid of that box of junk you've been putting off to make your home clean and pretty.
13. What will you be asking me to sign?
Make sure you understand what documents you are signing and what you are agreeing to. Are you going to be asked to work with a different realtor? Are you going to be asked to only work with this realtor? Are you signing away your rights to influence how your house will be advertised? Any reputable realtor will not ask anything outrageous of you and take the time to explain what they are asking you to agree to.
14. Why should I hire you as my realtor?
Realtors are sales people after all Ask them to sell themselves to you. If they do a good job, you just found your realtor.
Consider other questions you may want to ask a potential realtor and write it down before you sit down to interview them. You can't ask too many questions but make sure you're taking this time to ask important questions that will help you identify if this is the right realtor for you.