Chances are you know someone with a valid real estate sales or broker's license. In fact, according to information provided by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), there are approximately 2 million active licensees in the United States, of which slightly more than 1.1 million are NAR members, and more than 86,000 total real estate brokerage firms. Unfortunately, however, the fact that someone has attended a real estate licensing class and obtained a broker or sales license is not a reliable guarantee that the licensee will have the dedication, drive and skill needed to get your home sold quickly and at the best price. If you will be selling your home in the near future, you can use the following quiz to interview and find the best agent for your needs.
Question 1) Is real estate your only profession?
Even though there are many hardworking, successful agents who sell real estate on a part-time basis, a full-time agent is likely to work with more qualified buyers and is better able to generate interest in your home.
Question 2) Do you specialize in residential home sales?
A real estate agent who specializes in residential home sales is likely to follow and study the market trends in your area. This allows them to understand and utilize the current and historical pricing trends so that your home is prices correctly.
Question 3) How do you communicate with your buyers and quickly do you return client calls?
Communication is the key to a successful, stress-free relationship between a home seller and their real estate professional, so the answer they give to this question is very important. Agents who do not return calls to their clients in a timely manner may also be frustrating potential buyers who are interested in your home. When discussing this topic with each potential agent you interview, remember to also ask how often you can expect to receive updates and showing activity reports during the listing period and consider their answers carefully.
Question 4) What is included in your marketing plan?
Today's real estate market is more competitive than every before, making a good, multi-faceted marketing plan a must. When asking this question, weed out agents who use only a yard sign and the multiple listing system (MLS) and instead look for the agent that uses the web, print media, signage and face-to-face networking to the fullest extent.
Question 5) How do you price the homes you list for sale?
The best agents understand how to use information obtained from a thorough market analysis along with historical sales date and the home's features and conditions, as well as any conditions likely to affect the local market area to pinpoint the most probable sales price point for your home. Beware the agent who is willing to list your home at an inflated or unrealistic price.
Question 6) Can you provide statistical information about your level of success as a real estate agent?
The statistics should include:
- the total number of homes you listed for sale last year
- the number of the listed home that sold and closed
- the average number of days the homes were listed before going under contract
- the listing to sales price ratio on these sold listings
Study these figures carefully as it will be very helpful as you work to choose the best possible agent.
Question 7) Can you provide verifiable references from past clients?
Speaking with each agent's past clients will help you verify the answers they gave to each of the questions above, as well as help you get a better feel for the level of service and expertise each agent actually provided. Remember to ask questions about how the agent handled marketing, showings, document preparation, negotiations and the closing transaction, as well as general day-to-day interaction.
As you talk to each real estate agent and compare the answers to the questions listed above, you will be able to choose the real estate professional who offers caring, responsive service to each of their clients while providing the marketing prowess that it takes to get your home sold.