Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Listing Agent

Choosing the right real estate agent to help you sell your home can make a huge difference in how fast your property sells and how much you get for it. The right real estate listing agent can also make the whole process of selling your house much easier and more pleasant. Many homeowners simply call a friend in the real estate business or choose a real estate agency that will charge them the least commission. That’s shouldn’t be good enough for your house. Take the time to interview agents from several different real estate firms and choose the one that is the right fit for your needs. These eight questions can help you evaluate agents so that you can choose the right one for you.

Will You Represent Me or the Buyer?

Ideally, you’ll want to work with a listing agent, also commonly called a seller’s agent. Under the law, a real estate agent must inform you whether he or she represents the buyer, the seller or is acting as a dual agent on behalf of both the seller and the home buyer. Since you’ll be paying the commission for the home sale, you really want a real estate agent who will represent your interests in any negotiations.

What Happens If You’re Not Available and I Need to Reach You?

You want to work with a real estate agent you can reach when you need something or have a question, but it’s unreasonable to assume that someone will be available to you 100% of the time. What happens if your listing agent isn’t available when you need something? The details of the answer are less important than the fact that the agent should have an answer. When you’re selling your home, you should know how to reach your agent or an assistant, partner or representative when you need to speak to someone. Make sure that you choose a real estate agent who makes sure your needs are met at all times.

Have You Ever Sold Your Own Residence?

Do you really want to work with someone who has never gone through what you’re experiencing? There’s a lot more to selling your house than contracts and prices. There are a lot of emotions involved, and someone who has been through the experience as a home seller will be more likely to understand what you’re going through. It makes a difference to work with an agent who knows firsthand what it’s like to sell a home, and can offer you advice and information from a seller’s perspective.

What Should I Do to Prepare My Home for Sale?

The conventional advice is to strip down your décor and neutralize your color scheme, but your real estate agent may have other ideas. She may know, for example, a buyer who would fall in love with the rich, vibrant colors you’ve chosen for your home. Real estate agents have the experience to see what sells and what doesn’t in your community. Draw on that experience and expertise to help you decide whether to tear out your old carpeting, invest in new appliances or repaint your walls. Choose a seller’s real estate agent who can analyze your home’s strengths and weaknesses and help you emphasize its best features when you’re preparing to sell it.

How Would You Describe My Home to a Prospective Buyer?

Real estate agents should understand how to pull out the positive features of your home and neighborhood and represent them to potential buyers. You can get a feel for the overall approach your agent will take to marketing your home for sale by asking this simple question. Consider the features she chooses to emphasize: a large yard, great neighborhood schools, a cozy atmosphere or an awesome floor plan are all great selling points. Is your real estate agent picking up on them and promoting them well?

What Strategies Will You Use to Sell My Home?

There are dozens of tools and strategies that a real estate agent can use to sell your home. Ask which ones your agent is most familiar with and most likely to use for selling your property. Flexibility is a good thing in this case. Look for a seller’s agent who is comfortable using a variety of methods to publicize and promote your home for sale.

How Will Your Protect My Property, My Family and Myself During the Selling Process?

When you show your home for sale, you’re opening it to the general public, which could affect your safety and your time. Talk to your real estate agent about the ways that she and her company make the process safe, convenient and comfortable for you and your family. This is so important that it almost should be the very first question you ask, but at the very least, ask it before you sign a contract.

What Was the Biggest Factor in Your Last Three Sales?

There will be different answers to this because, after all, every home is different and has different features. The important thing is that your agent should be able to describe clearly what factors were important in selling the last few homes he’s sold. It will give you a chance to evaluate her ability to pull out selling points and present them to buyers.

Most importantly, pay attention to how the real estate agent talks about your home. Is she warm and enthusiastic? Does she sound convincing? The agent you choose doesn’t have to fall in love with your house for sale, but it will make a huge difference if she can at least fake a convincing crush on it.

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