Questions to ask a Real Estate Agent
It’s a big decision to sell a property, whether it’s your family home or investment. However, once the decision has been made, the next job is to find an excellent real estate agent.
The agent will be your guide and partner through the selling process so it’s important that you find someone you can trust, communicate with and who understands your objectives. We suggest asking the following seven questions.
1. What have you sold recently and can I see some recent testimonials?
Their answer will confirm that they have experience selling similar properties to your own, have a working knowledge of your local area and have past clients willing to speak for them. An agent not prepared to provide a list of testimonials or past clients should probably be avoided.
2. How would you sell my house and why?
Not all homes sell at auction and there are many reasons to justify the best method of sale. The agent’s response allows you to view their knowledge of the current property market and how that impacts on your particular property. One size definitely does not fit all, the agent’s response should reflect that.
For example: "I would sell your home by auction – it’s in a very popular price bracket and located in a well-regarded street. An auction would create a competitive environment which should elevate the price.”
3. Is it worth making improvements before selling?
Your agent should be able to guide which improvement will produce the best return. Repainting the interior is often the most economical and effective way to freshen a home and often worth considering whereas replacing the kitchen can be costly and will not automatically drive up the price. An agent is the perfect person to ask for guidance.
4. How will you market my property and how much will this cost?
The vendor will normally pay for the marketing of their property. Most homes are advertised online, but print advertising may also serve you well, if the buyer is likely to be older. It’s essential that you know what you are paying for, how much it’s going to cost and if you are getting value for money.
5. How much do you think my home is worth?
Although this is the question that is probably of most interest, beware the agent that offers an inflated price! The appraisal price should be justified with comparable sales. The property market can move very quickly so it is imperative that these comparable are recent and reflect your homes particulars.
6. What's your commission?
Find out the agent’s commission rate. If they are more expensive than others, ask them to justify their fees. Cheapest isn’t always best. If they can justify their higher rate, it may well be worth it but make it very clear that you expect them to work hard for it.
7. What makes you different?
This is the moment the agent gets to offer their point of difference – their edge – their pitch! If they can’t sell themselves or their services effectively to you, they’re probably not the right person to sell your home either.