Picking the right realtor to sell your home is critical. Why? Working with the best possible realtor not only increases your chances of selling your home faster and for money, it also means the entire process will be less stressful for you --- something that’s hard to put a price tag on.
Choosing the wrong realtor can mean added headaches, extended sale time, and money left on the table.
So how do you make sure the realtor you’ve chosen is a good one? Here are a few questions you’ll want to ask before getting started.
What experience do you have?
Because the process for obtaining a real estate license can be done relatively quickly without many requirements (no college degree or lengthy training process), many realtors learn on the job. So it’s important to know how long an agent has been working and how much success they’ve had before hiring them.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t even consider newer agents, you’ll just need to ask more questions to those who are newer to the industry. After all, many newly licensed realtors have received training from older, more experienced veterans or have family in the business they can turn to for help. Sometimes by going with a newer agent, you get more personalized service and streamlined communication as a result of them having fewer clients.
Of course, time on the job isn’t the only thing to consider when asking about an agent’s experience. Consider also asking about their list-to-price ratio and their average time on the market for homes they’ve sold. Metrics like these will give you a great idea of just how experienced an agent really is.
What’s your plan for marketing my home?
Marketing a home for sale is a lot more than just putting the sign in the front yard and listing it on the MLS. Any realtor can do that.
Where the best realtors set themselves apart is how they take advantage of other marketing tools and techniques to make your house really stand out. Your agent should be ready to show you detailed strategies they have used successfully in the past, like how they prepare a home to take the best listing pictures or how they leverage social media to attract more buyers. They may also have strategies for posting your home to Zillow, Realtor.com, or even their own website if they have one.
It is also very important to understand how the realtor will communicate the value of your home to excite buyers that this is THE home for them. If their are parts of your home that are less marketable (busy street, small bedrooms, dated kitchen), it is important to ask how they will overcome these push backs from buyers --- it is the job of your realtor to be your home's greatest advocate.
What do I need to do to get my house ready to sell?
Every house is different. The condition and appearance of your home will inevitably affect how fast you sell and for how much, so there might be some updates or repairs that your realtor will recommend doing before listing your home.
It is always a good idea to complete a pre-listing inspection to help identify what repairs / improvements should be made before you list a home. Nothing gives buyers confidence in the condition of the home more than getting a clear-bill of health via a independent pre-listing home inspection like what we offer at Inspectify. More often than not, this will be enough for buyers to waive their inspection contingencies and offer a far less real estate transaction for everyone.
That said, one mistake homeowners often make is putting too much time or money into making changes that don’t give them returns on their investment when the sale is made. It’s important to understand the market you’re in so you don’t overspend without getting your money back on the other side. This is where your realtor can help.
Another thing to keep in mind if you’ll be living in your home while it’s on the market is what items in your home should be removed or altered to make your home as attractive as possible to potential buyers.
Do you work solo or as part of a team?
Nowadays it’s fairly common for agents to work together in teams. That could mean a pair of agents working together or a larger group who share their workload to take on more clients.
There are pros and cons to working with a real estate team rather than an individual agent, but what’s most important is knowing ahead of time who you’re going to be dealing with.
There is a new wave of tech real estate brokerages that are focused on building a team around you vs. having just one person on your home sale. One of our partners, Flyhomes, has divided up the responsibilities of the normal realtor into multiple teams and applies a "master of one" vs. "jack of all trades" approach; this allows your realtor (or Client Advisor as they call it), to be focused on purely getting you top dollar for your home and not be distracted by many of managerial tasks and paperwork that goes into listing and selling a home.
If your agent works solo, ask about their current work capacity. Too many clients at once can mean slower communication and longer wait times between showings. Too few can mean they are new to the job or lacking in experience.
Have you sold homes in this area before?
It might not seem like it, but for an agent to be familiar with your neighborhood often means higher sales prices and less time on the market.
Agents who have closed deals in a neighborhood will have answers to important questions that potential buyers are almost guaranteed to ask. They’ll be comfortable talking about the school district, neighborhood cleanliness & safety, restaurants & other local businesses nearby, as well as future developments.
All of these things matter to whoever buys your home. A realtor who knows the lay of the land will address those concerns with confidence, giving your potential buyers more confidence in your house.
How will we keep in touch?
One last question you need to address is how you will communicate back and forth with your agent. Communication is key to a seamless transaction, so the sooner you work out a system that works for both parties, the better.
Most agents will default to whichever method of communication you prefer, whether it be text, calls, or email. But by asking them their preference, you might uncover that they check their email once a day compared to the 50+ times a day they look at their text messages. Or it could be the opposite, maybe text messages often get forgotten but they respond immediately any time they get an email.
However you go about communicating, find something that works and stick to it.
Don’t forget that your real estate agent works for you. That means that if you have questions, ask them! Your agent can only help you as much as you let them, so never let concerns or issues pass by without addressing them.