Meeting with a real estate agent for the first time can be a little nerve-racking. Especially if you’re planning on a listing a home in the Houston area, or surrounding regions! In case you haven’t noticed, we’re kind of a unique market… So we want to help. We have assembled the top 10 questions you need to ask your real estate agent. Feel free to print off this list and take it with you to the interview.
Do you work full or part-time as an agent?
A full-time agent is more focused and will be in a better position to give you more time and attention. They will also have accumulated much more experience.
How long have you been an agent and what extra education have you received?
Just having a license doesn’t cut it these days. To stay on top of this rapidly changing market, agents need additional accreditation. Additionally, look for someone who has preferably been in the business for more than 5 years.
Could you please supply me with some names and phone numbers of a few past clients?
First-hand evidence is the best review you can get of a prospective agent. Make sure you give them a call and ask them how the transaction went. Ask the client if they would list again with that agent.
How many homes have you sold in this area within the past year?
Don’t be satisfied with a number pulled out of thin air. Ask them to show a list home homes, days on the market, original list price, list price at the time of the offer and the sales price. Now compare this with the average for all agents in the area.
What parts of the transaction will you handle and what will you delegate to others?
Delegating is not a bad thing, but you will want to know how much you can expect from them. This question generally leads into a discussion of how they will be marketing your property.
What price do you think I could sell my house for, and why?
Their confidence and ability to present market data to justify their sales price will give you an idea of how much they know about the area. Their answer should come in the form of a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) that will show you some of the most recent comps. If they are checking Zillow or Trulia to get their data, then it is time to find someone else.
What is your marketing plan for my house?
This should be a combination of online and offline marketing. Do not put a lot of weight on having lots of open houses – this is a trend that is slowly dying off. Instead, ask them how many pictures they will be taking and if it will be shot by a professional. Each agent will have a different type of marketing style, find out what is their philosophy on what is the best marketing. When you get home, go check out their listings and pay particular attention to the photos and listing information. Your property will probably be marketed the same way.
Do you suggest I stage my house? If so, how should it be done?
Professionally staged homes sell quicker and for more. Some agents stage their own homes. At the least they should be able to recommend some companies that can help. Ask them for their suggestions on what you could do to improve the salability of your home.
How will you communicate with me?
What do you prefer? Emails, phone calls, or text messages. Now what method do they prefer? Hopefully you are on the same wave length. Other than the medium, you should find out how often you can expect to hear from your agent.
Would you represent both the buyer and the seller in this transaction?
While representing both sides is legal, I do not recommend it. There is the potential to create a conflict of interest at some point. It is hard to get you the highest price if the buyer is begging for a cheaper offer. If they say they would consider it, then have them walk you through how they would handle it and if they have done it in the past and how it turned out.
During the interview process, you are going to get a feeling about this agent. While I don’t recommend going with your gut, you should be able to create a good rapport. A very skilled and experienced agent can be a frustrating person to work with if you communicate on completely different platforms and think completely opposite from each other. It is okay to “connect” with your agent. But do not let that be your only deciding factor, make sure they know their stuff and that others have had a good experience with them.
Have questions about the home buying or selling process? Here’s how to reach me: http://www.har.com/sandidurr