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If you’re in the market to sell your home and are looking for a listing agent to help you, it is imperative that you take the time to find someone you can work with comfortably over a long period of time. The average time taken to sell a house varies between 45 and 65 days, but you’ll have you spend a considerable amount of time before and after the sale with your agent. So here are 12 essential questions to ask a realtor when selling your home.
Questions to Ask While Choosing a Realtor
There are a bunch of things you ought to clarify before you close on a good agent to work with. Here are the important criteria that you ought to tick off.
1. Proof of Profession
It’s always good to make sure that the person you’re interviewing is indeed a professional listing agent. Ask to see their real estate license. No professional agent will have a problem with producing it post-haste.
2. Credentials and Referrals
Vetting how much experience your prospective realtor brings to the table is of utmost importance. While newbies may not always be a bad thing, make sure they bring valid positive referrals to make up for the lack of experience. You wouldn’t want to work with part-time agents, though.
Also, try and ensure you choose a listing agent as opposed to an agent who claims to handle both sales and purchase.
Ask every agent you interview to show you how long their listings sit on the market on an average. Choose the one that sells the fastest.
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3. List-To-Price Ratio
Fast sales don’t always mean you’re getting top dollar for your home. Check their list-to-price ratio. This is a comparison of the listing price the agents put the home up for as compared to the actual sales price.
A sale price of less than 90% of the list price ought to be a red flag for you. You’ll also need to make sure the agent isn’t listing the home at a lower price to show a higher conversion ration.
4. Neighborhood Familiarity
Make sure the agent you’re going to work with is familiar with your neighborhood. There are multiple advantages to this.
For starters, top agents with a proven track record in your neighborhood will be able to sell the attributes of your neighborhood and not just your home. They will also have experience handling property sales in the same price range as your home.
Most listing agents work on multiple sales simultaneously. Fingers in too many pies will mean the agent will not be able sufficient time exclusively on your home. Pick an agent that chooses not to have too much on his plate at the same time.
Also find out if you’re going to be working with the same agent through your sale period, or if you’re going to be working with a team. Not that a small team is a bad idea, but a single point of contact makes building rapport a lot easier.
6. Marketing Plan
Every listing agent making a pitch to you should come with a rock-solid marketing plan to market your home. That plan ought to include both offline and online listings, ideally using the Multiple Listing Service, social media marketing, open houses, digital walkthroughs, and more.
7. Network Benefits
An experienced agent will be able to connect you with at least a real estate attorney, a professional photographer, a professional stager, house cleaners, movers and packers as well as a good handyman that he’s familiar with.
8. Fee Flexibility
Ask your agent what they charge, and if they’re flexible with their fees. Some of them charge a 6% commission that they split with the buyer’s agent, others will charge a flat fee. But an agent who’s eager to work with you will agree to a certain amount of negotiation when it comes to fees.
Questions to Ask After Choosing a Realtor
Once you’ve chosen a listing agent, there is a different set of questions you ought to be asking.
1. Contact Information
Get your agent’s contact information. You will have a ton of questions, and you ought to have access to your agent any time you want.
2. The House Selling Process
Ask your listing agent to take you through the entire selling process. Get them to explain how to prep your home for listings, how to handle showings, what home inspections are, how to choose the right offer, escrow accounts, how to close a sale, closing costs, and more.
3. Setting the Price
Your agent ought to get you a written Comparative Market Analysis report with pictures and prices of homes similar to yours that have been sold in your neighborhood in the recent past.
Use the CMA report as a starting point to decide on an ideal price for your home. Make sure you use your agent’s counsel, even if it may feel like you’re being given the short end of the stick. Remember, if you price your home too high, you’re going to scare away potential home buyers and your home is going to sit on the market indefinitely. You’d ideally want to avoid making another listing agreement.
4. Plan of Action
Take your agent’s advice of things you can do to help sell the house for top dollar. This may include repairs, remodeling, a pre-sale home inspection, staging, hiring a professional photographer, deep cleaning, decluttering your home, and a lot more.
Some of the things your agent asks you to do may go against the grain of what you believe in, especially when it comes to your home’s decor or removing personal touches. But remember that you have to work with your agent for the best results.
For example, if the agent advises you to add a fresh coat of paint to your house, or asks to replace some of your furniture and fittings, do it even if you feel it isn’t necessary. A home’s curb appeal and interior decor go a long way in making first impressions, and your agent will know what home buyers will want to see more than you will.
Take your agent’s advice about how to handle showings as well. A lot of homeowners cannot handle negative criticism, so it may be better to just stay out of the way and let your agent handle the showings with the buyer’s agent.
Always Be Prepared
Finding competent realtors in your area shouldn’t really be too difficult, thanks to the internet. However, be prepared to meet a lot of people before you find the right one for you. Always make sure the listing agreement your agent brings to you has a cancellation clause in your favor before you sign on the dotted line. And always be prepared for the sale of your home to take longer than you expected.
Read more: How to find the best real estate agent