Top 10 Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Real Estate Agent
Selling your home is a big deal — so while it may be tempting to go with the first word-of-mouth recommendation you get, when it comes to choosing a real estate agent, it pays to do a bit more research.
Spending the necessary time to go through the interview process with a real estate agent should be one of the most critical things on anyone’s agenda when considering selling their home, yet many do not take the time to do so.
There are lots of people that will make contact with a real estate agent from any number of places including attending an open house, seeing a for sale sign in their neighborhood, getting a post card in the mail, or maybe even some positive feedback from relatives or friends.
One of the biggest issues I have found is that so many consumers think that all real estate agents do the same things to sell homes. This could not be further from the truth!
By having great questions prepared ahead of time, you can walk into an interview with confidence.
There is no better recommendation than a track record of success. As a home seller, you will be paying a real estate agent to sell your home. Why not work with an agent who performs on a consist basis and a high level? There is a reason why some Realtors continue to be successful year after year.
The real estate interview questions below will go a long way in determining whether you are hiring the right agent!
Questions to ask:
1. How long have you been selling real estate?
Experience is very helpful but doesn’t necessarily mean that a newer agent couldn’t be a rising superstar. Many of the other Realtor interview questions below, however, will help determine whether the agent has the potential to be one.
2. Do you sell real estate full time?
Having another job shouldn’t necessarily cut a potential real estate agent out of the running, but you need to be aware if this is a part-time gig before committing. Someone who also works somewhere else may be harder to reach and could miss out on opportunities to show your house.
3. Can you provide me with at least three recent references?
A good Realtor should be able to provide you with references that you can get in touch with. Of course every Realtor is going to want to provide you with a hand picked list of people that they know will say wonderful things about them. Instead ask the Realtor for the last three homes they sold and look up the owners names and call them yourself. This will give you a better understanding of the clients satisfaction level. Don’t tell the Realtor you are going to call though as you don’t want them prepping the person.
4. The internet is a critical tool for selling homes. How will you market my property online?
This is probably one of the most necessary interview questions you ask the Realtor! You want to align yourself with a Realtor that has a strong understanding of both online and social media marketing. More than 90% of all buyers find their home online. The Realtor you choose should be marketing your home EVERYWHERE!
You want your home in the spotlight which can be achieved when the agent you select understands (SEO) search engine optimization and achieves the 1st page of Google rankings for keyword searches buyers most often use.
5. Do you use social media marketing in your business such as Google Plus, Facebook to reach potential clients?
Sites like Facebook are incredible tools for a Realtor to use to cast a wider net to reach potential buyers and sellers.
6. Will my home be “featured” on the most visited Real Estate websites such as Realtor.com, Trulia.com and Zillow.com?
This is another very important interview question. Real estate marketing is all about presentation and standing out from the rest of the competition. It is not enough just to be included in the most well know real estate sites.
The Realtor you choose should be presenting your home with numerous photos, detailed descriptions highlighting your homes best attributes, and an embedding a virtual tour. Survey after survey confirms that buyers looking online skip the homes with a couple of photos and no descriptions. This is an enormous piece of the marketing! Make sure the agent shows you exactly what your home will look like on the internet. It is obvious that many sellers do not check on their agent. Trust me, you would be amazed if you knew what a poor job some Realtors do marketing their listings. The three real estate sites mentioned above I like to refer to as the “big three” in real estate because they are the most visited real estate portals by far of consumers looking at homes.
7. On average, how close to the asking price is the final sale price on homes you have sold? This figure will give you a good picture of whether the agent tends to price homes well. If most of the homes the agent has represented have sold for far less than the asking price, that’s a sign they were priced too high. Realistic pricing results in home sales that are close to or at the asking price.
8. Do you take professional photos of your listings?
Have you ever looked at a property online and asked yourself, “how could someone take such awful photos?” Yup, I’m sure you have. High quality digital photos and high definition video displayed on social media is an excellent way to advertise your listing. The quality of your advertisement media is a reflection on your home. A great agent will pay for professional photos to showcase your home in the best light (both literally and figuratively!)
9. What methods do you use to determine the listing price of the homes you sell?
Pricing a home is not as simple as throwing a dart at a board and whatever price it lands on is what the list price will be. There are different methods a Realtor may use to price a home. Two common pricing methods include a comparative market analysis (CMA) and price per square foot. In most cases, the comparative market analysis technique is going to be the best method for determining a listing price of a home. During the interview, any prospective Realtor should have an example of a comparative market analysis for you to look at. Pay close attention the amount of detail the Realtor uses in their analysis as the more detailed the analysis, the more time and effort they spend on pricing their homes.
10. How much do you charge?
First and foremost, commission is negotiable. It’s important to ask a prospective Realtor what the commission percentage or fee is. If you interview several Realtors, don’t believe because one agent offers less than another you are getting a special deal. In reality, you could actually be costing yourself lots of money, as a top producing agent should be able to justify what their commission percentage or fee is.
In most real estate markets, there are real estate agents or companies who make it a habit of cutting their commission percentage just to secure a listing. What they don’t tell you as a seller is that they do not plan on spending any money on selling your home and also that they cannot provide what a top producing agent can.
I would love the opportunity to be one of the Realtor's you interview. Give me a call or shoot me an email anytime to answer your interview questions.