When you sit down to interview a potential real estate agent, you shouldn’t be shy about asking pointed questions. After all, this person will be handling the sale of your most significant asset. It’s only human nature to try to avoid offending another party. Sometimes we might mistake “brass tacks” for crossing an imaginary line. But that’s not the kind of business attitude you should project. You need to know whether the person you will be working with is up to the task. They have nothing to lose if it all goes south, but you have everything invested in the relationship. You are essentially conducting a job interview, and you need to be thorough. Treat them as you would a candidate for any other job. While they may be competent, you must be assured they are the right fit for you. Here is a list of questions to jot down.
How Long Have They Been A Real Estate Agent?
The first question you should ask a real estate agent is how long they’ve been in the real estate business. Experience is important regardless of the industry. Sure, it might seem cruel to those who are cutting their teeth and trying to get a break, but that’s largely their dilemma. Your property is on the line here. It would be folly to entrust a novice with your greatest asset. An experienced agent will have survived what can often be a bumpy career journey with their god-given skills. They’ve proved their capability to have lasted as long as they have. This means they’ll know the market inside out. They will understand the fluctuations and termors that occur in the property market. They’ve dealt with them before and navigated those choppy seas. Given their lengthy experience, they will have accrued sizeable contacts. Moreover, they will have a network providing constant leads.
You shouldn’t let the question rest with a simple response of how many years they’ve been shifting property. You must probe further and ask about how many transactions they’ve been involved with. How many listings have they had in the past year versus how many sales? What is their average selling price? Ask for a ballpark figure of the total in real estate sales they’ve accomplished in the past year and over the life of their career. A successful real estate agent will be proud to convey this information; a hacker will have plenty to hide. However, some of these questions we will examine in greater depth. They are very much germane to determining a real estate agent’s fitness to sell your property. This is a general outline of the questions that will help you determine the length and success of an agent’s career.
What is Your Real Estate Agent’s Price-To-Sales-Price Ratio?
This is a clever question because it comes straight out of the real estate industry’s jargon. By asking this question, you’ll surprise your prospective agent with your inside knowledge. This will indicate that you’ve done your homework. If they’re misrepresenting themselves, they’ll know that you know they’re batting under average. You are essentially asking about their historic sales in terms of the difference between the listing and sales price. That difference is an indicator of their effectiveness in negotiating a sale. The ratio refers to the percentage derived after dividing the listing price by its ultimate sale price. You multiply that by 100. For instance, if a home is listed for $300,000 but sells for $289,000, the list-to-sales-price ratio is 96.3%. The equation is $298, divided by $300,000, and then multiplied by 100. A list-to-sales-price ratio that is closer to 100% is the price you should pay attention to.
However, if you’re a buyer, steer clear of this agent; they work exclusively for the seller. The list-to-sales-price ratio is the arithmetic that determines a wily selling agent. You can glean much from this equation. If the agent’s average list price to sales price ratio is 100% or higher, they’re a gun. The evidence shows they’ll go that extra mile to secure a good deal. You’re therefore dealing with a solid negotiator. They operate with a solid network of contacts and a database of hot leads. This agent is setting and maintaining an effective sales strategy. Theirs is a proven track record, so it’s information that you must have before shaking hands on any deal. Nonetheless, you will also need to account for any periods where the average dips. The agent may not be at fault here, but rather it will indicate a buyer’s market was at play.
What Is Your Real Estate Agent’s Best Marketing Strategy?
Is your prospective agent a progressive industry type? Do they embrace all the latest in marketing options online? Likewise, are they too dependent on online marketing and falling short in other areas? You should make certain of this when you ask for their strategy. You’ll need to know that they are innovative, but they also have their ear to the ground. By that, we mean that an agent with good local knowledge has reliable contacts. It’s reassuring to know that they maintain word-of-mouth leads. Bear in mind that you aren’t just posing these questions to a single candidate. You have a shortlist of potential agents. The agent with the best statistics and strategy will be your prime choice. Also, given that many agents charge a separate marketing fee, you will be investigating the costs. In a depressed property market, every penny is going to matter.
Ask Your Real Estate Agent For References
Your employer will inevitably ask you for references when you apply for a job. Likewise, you should ask your prospective agent if they mind you following up with their past clients. Nobody can provide you with a better background check on the agent than those who’ve dealt with them before. Remember, a real estate agent exists because of their gift of gab. Don’t be dazzled by glorious accounts of their past sales, lest you become beguiled by their golden tongue. An agent isn’t what they say they are, but what they do to prove it. A reputable agent won’t just approve you following up with past clients, but they’ll anticipate you asking to. If your agent proves back-offish, you’re encountering a major red flag. And treat any negative online reviews with a pinch of salt. The best measure of their competence comes from those who’ve dealt with them.
What Separates Your Real Estate Agent From Other Agents?
Real estate agents are a dime a dozen. Think of them as ambulance chasers with bigger grins. No matter how harsh it sounds, you’ll need that attitude going in. Given the plethora of options that a seller has, you’ll want to know what’s special about the one you’re interviewing. Ask them to name three things that separate them from the rest of the real estate agents. This fine question will test their mental adroitness, confidence, and sales ability all at once. A bull artist will reflexively grind their jaw there and then because you’re putting them on the spot. But that’s the very thing you’re searching for before you commit to a partnership. A slick agent will answer with consummate ease and recognisable salesmanship. In a way, the veracity of their answers isn’t important. What matters is that they spin you a convincing line. Because that’s what you’re seeking.
Insist On Reviewing Documents Up Front
Once you’ve put your respective agent through all the hoops and they’ve impressed you, don’t back off. Upon selecting your real estate agent, you’ll sign a sales agreement with the agent and the agency that employs them. This document outlines the commission structure that you and your agent agreed on. It will also stipulate additional costs associated with the sale of your property, such as marketing costs. You give the agent permission to proceed with the marketing and sale of your property once you sign. This is not the last document that passes through your agent’s hands. Similarly, it won’t be the last one you want to see. Let them know upfront that you wish to review all the documents ahead of time. You will then ask for copies when they become relevant. You will signal that you plan to be kept in the loop at all times.
There is no limit to the questions you should ask your prospective real estate agent. Remember, you’re test-driving them and checking them for all their proper functions. You want to know that they’ll negotiate a winning deal and that they’re motivated. Additionally, you’ll want to know if they have a proven track record in the real estate industry. Make sure they aren’t like ol’ Gil, the perennial loser on The Simpsons. Ol’ Gil never has any luck and can’t close a deal to save his life. But above all, you’ll be signalling that you don’t intend to be a back-seat passenger in the process. You are the most important person in this deal. There are no ifs or buts where that’s concerned. Nevertheless, before you can quiz an agent, you need to find one first. Perfect Agent will help to introduce you to the perfect agent for you. Contact us!