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It’s Time to Choose My Realtor: Tips to Making a Good Decision

You’ve prepared for this day both mentally and physically. Your home is crisp and fresh; your trinkets are stored away; and all the little maintenance items are checked off your list.

It’s Time to Choose My Realtor: Tips to Making a Good Decision

You’ve prepared for this day both mentally and physically. Your home is crisp and fresh; your trinkets are stored away; and all the little maintenance items are checked off your list.

If you haven’t chosen a Realtor®, now is the time. I recommend interviewing three agents who know your area well. If you don’t know where to begin, start by calling people you know who have had successful experiences with an agent or agents. Referrals from people you trust are always a great way to get started. You can find out first-hand what people like and don’t like about the real estate services they used and then begin the interview process.

When interviewing agents, be sure to consider the following questions:

  • How long have you been in the business?
    • Agents with longevity (4+ years) tend to show loyalty to their real estate career. Many agents leave the business after realizing it’s no longer their desire to continue in this line of work. Think…the 80/20 rule. 20% of Realtors® do 80% of the business. Real estate is a competitive industry that requires a large amount of devotion.
  • How much volume do you produce annually?
    • Typically, it’s nice to have an agent who sells in your price range. As with any marketer, the more information you get from the agent, the better. Request proven statistics such as how long the agent’s homes stay on the market and at what percent to sales price they actually sell. Data is easily inflated if you don’t require some facts.
  • Are you a full-time agent?
    • Full time agents typically have more time to devote to you and your needs.
  • How much of my transaction will you be responsible for? What will be delegated to someone else?
    • There’s nothing wrong with delegating and most agents will use Transaction Coordinators, marketing people and administrative aid. Search for an agent who understands the process even though he/she has people who can help manage it.
  • At what price do you think my home will sell?
    • Be certain the agent provides data when pricing your home. Pricing is the most important part of selling your home. It is crucial the agent understands the market and utilizes current data and both sold and listed homes. If an agent is relying on any such online data instead of the comps, be very leery.
  • How will you market my home?
    • Today’s buyers are online 99% of the time when they are searching for a new home. A good agent will utilize both social media and print marketing to display your home. This will reach a larger group and ultimately sell your home more quickly. Depending on the market and the price of your home, determine with your Realtor® how often your home will be marketed. I would suggest asking for a marketing timeline from your agent.
  • How will you present my home? Do you use a stager to handle this?
    • The better the house, the faster the sale. Work with your Realtor® and any of his/her resources to make sure your home is in tiptop shape. A good Realtor® knows how to arrange your home and tell you what it needs to sell. A good client listens to their Realtor’s® advice!
  • Will you do daily or weekly updates for me? If so, how will reports be communicated?
    • The number of times a Realtor® sends reports depends on the price of the home. If it’s a lower priced home, chances are it will sell quickly and you may very well be in daily communication. If it is a luxury property, weekly updates are more appropriate. Determine in partnership with your agent what will work best in your circumstances.
  • Is there anything I should ask you that I either haven’t thought of or don’t know to ask?
    • Understanding your agent’s process for doing business is key to a great partnership. For best results, both must work together to develop a plan. I always tell people we are partners. Although I have advice to provide my clients, it is important I have an open ear to their needs. Every client is different. No two are alike!
  • What makes you different from your competition?
    • This question should not stump your interviewee. An agent should be prepared to answer this question just as if you were an employer asking, “Why should I hire you?” Look for traits that resemble your values. You will be working in tandem with this person. Go for someone who is knowledgeable and you enjoy being around.

Your home is your biggest investment. Be sure to choose someone who will serve you well. It is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Just because you know someone in the business doesn’t mean that agent is going to be the best fit for the job. Do some research and happy selling!

These are some solid questions to ask. I will consider them when I buy my home. I've always went back and forth with realtors. I'm not sure if I should go with someone I know personally, or someone that has good ratings/repertoire.

Does the staging come out of the seller's pocket or the realtor? Perhaps it depends, just curious!

Great questions! Sarah - Knowing someone in Real Estate isn't a negative thing. Just make sure you ask the right questions!

HI Judith - Staging is a negotiable item. Some agents make it part of their services. Others require the sellers to pay for it. Fees are based on the desired staging option. I'm a big fan of the home tender program. Although the seller pays for this option at closing, the maintenance bills and utilities the home tenders cover oftentimes equal or outweigh the cost of the service depending on how long the home is on the market.