Quick Questions To Ask When Choosing An Agent

Choosing Your Sales Agent

You will likely be working closely with an agent over a period of several months. So it’s important that you choose an agent with whom you feel most comfortable overall. An agent who is responsive to your needs and those of your family, who “clicks” with your personality, and who is prepared to be with you throughout each step of the home-selling process is most likely best qualified to perform this important job.

Here are several relevant questions designed to help you in the interview process of choosing the best agent for representing you from “listing to closing” (settlement).

We recommend that you interview at least three agents, possibly from different firms.

1. Will you provide us with references from past clients? (If they are a relatively new agent, ask for other personal and professional references.)

  • Remember that sometimes relatively new agents have solid backgrounds in fields related to real estate, are eager for your business, and will do a good job for you. Still, you may feel more comfortable with an agent who has a proven track record of success in real estate sales.

2. What is your business philosophy? What does working in real estate mean to you?

  • Be wary of any agent who stumbles on questions concerning ethics, motivation, and vision. You want an agent who places first priority on your satisfaction. Commission comes second.

3. Which designations and certifications do you have and what do they mean to me?

  • In addition to being a real estate sales licensee, a good agent tends to expand his or her training in the profession. Let the agent explain these to you, and how they have actually applied to his or her business.

4. How will you market this property? What is your plan?

  • It is important that you get all promises in writing, so there will be no confusion about what you're paying for, and why.

5. What is your fee? (i.e., what is the commission?)

  • It is important to know how much it will cost to sell a property, and also what you will get for that fee.
  • How does the agent justify it?
  • How is the commission to be split between the listing agent and the buyer's agent?

6. How do you handle dual agency?

  • Be sure to ask this question and make sure you are comfortable with the answer. Dual agency occurs when the listing agent represents both the seller as well as the buyer, such as when a prospective buyer calls the listing agent from the sign in the front yard, and subsequently proceeds with a purchase using the listing agent. Although dual agency is legal, it is by description NOT necessarily in the best interest of either party in the transaction.

7. Would you tell me about your network of professional connections related to real estate sales?

  • A strong agent should have in place an effective network of elder law attorneys, financial advisors, mortgage lenders, title companies, construction contractors, and other professionals available to assist you in the sale of property.

8. What is your recent home sales profile?

  • That is, how long were the agent's listings on the market in the last year? Were the original asking prices to high? Did the agent have to lower the prices significantly or repeatedly from the original listing prices? Beware of agents who “buy” listings by initially creating the dishonest impression that your property will sell at a price much higher than the market may bear, then disappoint you by wearing you down to a salable price, wasting valuable time, among other things.

9. In what ways do you communicate with your clients?

  • There is no reason in this age of technology that your agent cannot respond to your needs in a timely manner. E-mail, mobile phones and faxes all enable quick and efficient answers from your representative to your questions, for updates, and for general feedback on showings, addenda and anything else involved real estate transactions.

Finally, taking all this into consideration, trust your instinct to determine which agent is right for you. Remember, the agents you are interviewing are applying for a job, for which only the best credentials and efforts will result in your ultimate satisfaction.

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