Group of business people

“”It’s critical that you make the right decision about who will handle what is probably the single largest financial investment you will ever make.””

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Real Estate Agent

“Buying or selling your home could be one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make. It’s important to choose the right person to help you make the right choice.”

A good real estate agent will help you analyze data and provide you with the correct information so you can make the right decision about the sale or acquisition of a new house.

You can either save or lose thousands of dollars depending on your agent.

Looking for the right real estate agent could be tough. It is much like a boss interviewing a prospective employee, with you acting as the boss and the agent as the applicant. Asking them the right questions will help sort out which agent will most likely meet your needs. This is the tricky part because some of them would prefer that you don’t ask certain questions, as this will uncover potential character flaws or bring up their lack of certain skills that you’re looking for in an agent.

Here are a few questions that you can ask to help you hire the right agent. Just make sure that you stay objective when reviewing their answers and listen carefully to how they answer each question.

1. What sets you apart from other real estate agents? Why should I hire you?

The real estate market it more competitive compared to what it was ten years ago. With this thought in mind, how can you convince me that you can successfully sell my house in the quickest time possible for the most amount of money? What can you offer me that other agents cannot?

2.  Does your company have a good track record and how well did your company perform compared to other companies?

It is natural for real estate agents to claim that they are the best candidate for the job. Oftentimes, they will mention the number of homes they’ve sold; but we should remember that we are only concerned about the sale of one home – and that’s ours. Some of us may say, “I don’t care about how many homes they’ve sold. What I am interested in is how fast they can sell my house for top dollar.” However, this kind of attitude could be a costly mistake on your part.

Obviously you want your house to be sold as quickly as possible and for the most amount of money. But the number of homes an agent has sold should be a big consideration on your part. If they are selling no more than 10 homes in a year, this could be an indicator that the agent might be hard pressed and not even be able to pay for the advertising needed to give your home a cut above the competition. The truth of the matter is that success in real estate depends largely on volume of sales. You have to consider also if they even have, or could afford, an assistant to help them in the office. Otherwise, they could be doing all the legwork themselves and this will hurt the sale of your home.

3. What marketing strategy will you use to sell my house?

Just like any product for sale, a home that is listed for sale needs to be advertised on multiple forms of media. How fast a home can be sold and for how much depends greatly on how it’s presented to the target market. So another major consideration is how a potential real estate agent will advertise your home to potential buyers. Will this agent use the internet, print ad, TV etc.? These are some of the things that you need to find out before hiring a real estate agent. Does he know the advantages of using one medium over another?

4. Has your company sold any houses in my area?

Before hiring an agent, you should ask for a complete list of houses they sold in and around your area.

5. Will you do the advertising for my home or will your broker control it?

The answer to this question is very important because if the agent is not in control of the advertising, then that means your home will be competing not only with other homes listed by the agent but also all home listed by the company or broker of the agent.

6. When the house is sold, do your clients get the asking price of their house or how close to the original asking price is the selling price?

The Real Estate Board provides information on the performance of agents in terms of sales. You should be able to gauge how much they’ll be able to sell your home by knowing if the agent’s performance was above or below the board’s average. You should analyse this important fact carefully before hiring an agent.

7. On average, how long does it take you to sell a house?

This can also be viewed from the Real Estate Board. Their performance, whether higher or below board average, will be a huge indicator as to how long it will also take for them to sell your home.

8. How many buyers are you working with right now?

The number of buyers they attract is a clear indicator of how fast they can sell your house. If they have a large pool of buyers, then they could start a bidding war for your home. A smart real estate agent knows how to get the maximum benefit from this kind of arrangement. Ask them to explain their technique for getting buyers.

9. Can you provide me a list of your clients I can contact for reference?

What their current and previous clients tell you about their experience with this agent will show you what you can expect from him/her.

10. What will you do if I tell you that I’m not satisfied with the service you’re providing me?

Be careful with this part. You should always have the option to cancel a listing contract with an agent if you are not satisfied with the agent’s performance. Never do business with agents that lock you into a long listing contract or give you contracts that benefit only them and not you. These agents usually have you sign a contract which will not allow you to “fire” them but will allow them to get out of the deal whenever they want to. In most regions, there are broker protection periods and penalties which keep the agents safe, but not the homeowner. If the agent is confident that she/he can deliver your expectations for the sale of your home, then she/he should have no problem allowing you to cancel your contract without penalties.

Carefully analyze how they respond to each of these questions. The 10 questions listed above will help you determine the right agent for you.