- 1. How long have you been in real estate? Pick someone who has cut their teeth on this market and is thriving, or someone who has been through this at least once before. Years won’t matter as much as attitude and business sense. Listen carefully for negativity – one of the most important indicators of the person’s ability to sell and market your home effectively.
- 2. What is your marketing plan? The most common complaint from anyone selling their home is “My agent just put a sign in my yard, and then I never heard from them again.” How will they sell your home? Do they market online? Where? Do they have a database of clients? What does their flyer look like? What is the follow up plan?
- 3. Do you have reference letters? They should be able to provide client letters and phone numbers.
- 4. What makes you different from the competition? You want someone who is honest, trustworthy, and assertive with good communication skills. Look for an ‘outside-the-box’ thinker in terms of marketing. The process can be stressful, so look for a sense of humor. You’ll also want someone friendly on your side during the negotiation process. You get a lot more flies with honey than vinegar!
- 5. How will we communicate? Do you prefer email, phone, text, or social media? Do you want a call every week, or not until they have an offer in hand? Don’t work with any agent that will not communicate with you, there is nothing worse than not knowing what is going on.
- 6. Can you explain the paperwork that I will be signing? A great agent will sit down with you and go over every single document BEFORE you put pen to paper.
- 7. Are you a REALTOR®? There is a difference between a REALTOR® and a real estate salesperson. A REALTOR® has a strict code of ethics that they must abide by. REALTORS® also care deeply about their communities and the laws that govern them, and put time, money, and effort into protecting home ownership.
- 8. Can you recommend other professionals? A hundred different items can pop up during one real estate transaction and any one of them can derail the sale of your house. A great agent has a list of companies that they have worked with in the past to ensure that doesn’t happen.
- 9. How much do you charge? Everything is negotiable. Ask up front what they charge, and ask them to quantify their fees with the level of service they provide.
10. What kind of guarantee do you offer? What if you aren’t happy with your agent’s services? Can the agreement be cancelled? What is the company policy for cancellation? Has anyone ever cancelled with them before? Why?
This is 2011, and it’s a tough market out there. Align yourself with a professional that will protect your interests first. Make sure they explain the process to you and that you are always in the loop. Trust your agent AND hold them accountable to those 10 questions. While this can’t guarantee that your house will sell, it certainly puts you in a better position to sell, and to sell for the best possible price in the shortest amount of time. Isn’t that exactly what you want?
Gina Hanson, REALTOR, is a Broker at Keller Williams Puyallup, and can be reached either by email at [email protected] or by phone at 253.273.0740.