The skills and abilities you need in a real estate agent will depend on your particular circumstances and your experience selling homes. Whatever the situation, though, your agent must be willing to enter into a partnership with you and advise and guide you throughout the whole process. And, of course, your agent must have the expertise and experience to effectively market your house and negotiate the final contract. Really, the only way to ensure that a prospective agent can do these things well is by means of an in-depth interview. So here are the 6 questions to ask your agent before signing a listing agreement in .
1. How long have you been in this business?
There is no guarantee that an agent with many years’ experience will do a better job for you than a brand new one, but the odds are better if she’s been in the business a while. Ideally, in addition to experience, the agent will also have had a high level of training as well as exposure to competent mentors. So be sure to ask about these things as well. Still, most agents learn on the job, so the amount of experience and years in the business are important.
2. What is your average list-price-to-sales-price ratio?
Now, this really is one of the important questions to ask your agent before signing a listing agreement in . Although the list-price-to-sales-price ratio does depend in part on the market, it still remains a good measure of your agent’s ability and competence.
For a listing agent, this ratio should be near 100%. That is, in most cases, the agent has been able to sell houses at a price very near the list price. A ratio like this indicates both skill in pricing to sell and a good track record of negotiating a good price for clients.
3. Considering location and condition, what is the best price you can get for my house.
You will, of course, want your agent to provide a detailed written comparative market analysis (CMA) so that you’ll have a good idea of the fair market value of your house. You should also ask, experts say, “that it includes more than just a simple dollar-per-square-foot calculation. You want a thorough, thoughtful analysis of your home’s condition and upgrades.”
Then see how the agent would price the home. If the price she suggests is out of line with the CMA or higher than what other agents suggest, then there’s likely a problem. “A home that is overpriced at the beginning will usually end up selling for less than it would have if priced right to start.”
4. How do you plan to market my house?
You also need to know how an agent plans to market your house before signing a listing agreement in . One of your chief concerns should be whether the agent has the requisite online marketing savvy because most people today do the bulk of their home shopping online.
Heres what the industry pros recommend that you ask in this area: “As a seller, you’ll want to know exactly how the agent will market your home. Is a direct mail campaign appropriate? Where and how often does she advertise? What kind of photography does she offer? Does the market online? What steps will she take to prepare your home for sale?”
5. Will I be able to review documents ahead of time?
Openness and transparency are also important, so you’ll need to find out if you can review all important documents before you sign them. If the agent isn’t willing to allow this, then maybe you shouldn’t sign that listing agreement in .
“A good real estate agent will make forms available to you for preview before you’re required to sign them. . . [M]ake sure during the interview stage that an agent is amenable to this.” And be sure to ask for a copy of the listing agreement and the seller disclosure.
6. What separates you from and makes you better than other agents?
Finally, before signing a listing agreement in , you need to know what sets that agent above the competition – that is, what special skills and competitive edge can she bring to the table. A good agent should be ready and eager to provide you answers to this question, along with concrete examples to illustrate and back up those answers. Of course, you’ll want your agent to have the basic necessary attributes like honesty, assertiveness, and negotiating skill. But you should also make sure the agent is agile and willing to communicate at any time.
Signing a listing agreement in is a big step and possibly a long-term commitment, so you don’t want to do it lightly. You also want to do everything you can to make sure your agent is a good one. Beyond asking these questions, you can also increase your odds by using agents from a reputable agency. Discover more about our experienced agents. Contact us today! 866-593-7012