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5 Questions You Must Ask An Agent Before Buying Or Selling Your Home

When it comes to selling your home, some questions are intuitive. However, there are a number of incredibly important questions that most sellers never ask when selecting an agent – relying instead on marketing materials or biased referrals. These are the top 5 questions that every seller should ask of any real estate professional. Obviously, these questions just start to scratch the surface of your diligence inquiry.

1. What is Your Professional Experience?

But don’t stop there. Not all agents are built alike. Some may have very valuable legal, tax or financial degrees, which may come in handy when you least expect it. You will also want to drill down into the length and relevance of your agent’s experience. Remember, there are a lot of part-timers out there and even more agents that may have no experience in your neighborhood or with your property type.

Your questions should help you understand: 1) if the agent has any helpful degrees; 2) how many years of experience the agent has in the relevant market; and 3) whether those years contain relevant transaction experience (we’ll cover these questions later).

Most importantly, your line of questions should always be property and transaction specific. Of course professional experience is important, but you wouldn’t want a Neurosurgeon with a laundry list of lettered credentials selling your home, would you? You want the best sales representative.

2. Do You Have a Marketing Plan?

Every agent will come equipped with a Marketing Plan, but not every agent will come with a good one. Not only should the plan include the glossy materials (referred to as Show Sheets) and an open listing on the local MLS, but it should also include a precise plan of action.

You should inquire as to the agent’s specific plan by asking about: 1) open houses; 2) email blasts / electronic marketing; 3) photography and staging; 4) pricing strategy; 5) the agent’s professional network; and 6) any creative solutions the agent may have for your listing.

Remember, every property is different, and the best marketing plan in the world for one property may not work for another. Knowing the target purchaser will be your agent’s greatest contribution in marketing your property correctly.

3. Can You Tell Me About Your Most Recent Transactions?

Now we start to get to the real questions. You’ll want to know how your agent’s stats stack up to your property in terms of: 1) property type; 2) neighborhood; 3) price range; 4) $/SF; 5) days on the market; 6) list to price ratio; and 7) any listings that did not sell, have expired, or were pulled.

You should also ask whether that agent has any current listings that are similar to yours. While this can be a huge plus, it can also work against you if the agent is conflicted between two properties.

4. Do You Have a Team?

Most agents do not work alone. If the agent is part of a team, you want to know: 1) who will be your point person; 2) who will be communicating with you, and how; and 3) what roles do the other members of the team will play. You’ll also want to know if the agent’s team may already have a prospective purchaser lined up from a recent past or current transaction (hint, hint).

5. Can You Provide Relevant References?

Yes. References are important, but even more important is who those references come from. You’ll want to know about the agent’s experience with people similarly situated to you and with the ideal purchaser’s demographic. A referral from mom is probably not as powerful as one that comes from your next door neighbor (there’s also a difference between the empty nesters, the solo artist and the shrewd investor – so be a bit critical, it will help). At the end of the day, you want an agent that knows and understands their clientele for a quick and painless sale.

We hope that these tips are helpful for you to start your search. Remember that these questions are just the start of a long process – and likely the largest and most important transaction of your life.

5 Questions You Must Ask Your Agent Recap

1. What Is Your Professional Experience?

1) Full time / Part time

2) Relevant degrees

3) Years in this market

4) Transaction specific experience (covered below)

2. Do You Have A Marketing Plan?

1) Open houses

2) Email blasts/electronic marketing

3) Photography and staging

4) Pricing strategy

5) Professional network

6) Creative solutions

3. Can You Tell Me About Your Most Recent Transactions?

1) Property type

2) Neighborhood

3) Price range (including $/SF)

4) Days on the market

5) List to price ratio

6) Pulled or expired listings

4. Do You Have A Team?

1) Point person

2) Method of communication

3) Team roles

5. Can You Provide Relevant References?

#selling #advice


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