10 Essential Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent When Selling Your Home
When talking to a real estate agent about selling your home, there are several questions you’ll want to ask. And certainly to hire the right professional for you. You will want to get a good understanding of whether the realtor can be helpful in getting your house sold.
1. How Did You Come to the Listing Price?
Pricing your home accurately is one of the most important steps in the whole process. It’s vital to work with a realtor who has a good understanding of the recent market in your area.
It’s a good idea to ask for a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). Beware of any realtors that only use Zillow or some other computer-generated home value tool. An experienced realtor will refer to the current pool of comparable homes on the market, the recent market data, and your home’s condition and amenities in giving you an answer.
If the property is priced too high it will sit for a long time, eventually turning off potential buyers. But a home that is priced too low will end up costing you.
2. What Changes Should I Make to Increase the Property Value?
Getting to the specifics of your house and being prepared to make changes if any are necessary can save you a lot of time and headache. A good realtor will be honest about the challenges you might face and the current market trends that you might need to consider before listing your home.
Sometimes a fresh coat of paint isn’t enough to sell your house. An experienced realtor will know what improvements to your home (if any) are required to make so your home can stand out.
3. How Long Will it Take to Sell my House?
Real estate agents are not able to guarantee a sale of a house by a certain date. But what they can do is give you an estimated time on how long it will take to sell your home. 65 days is considered to be the national average but it also depends on the area.
The recent market, the condition of your house, or the experience of the realtor might affect this. Be cautious of any realtor that only gives you the answers you want to hear with no explanations why it might take less time.
If you have the free right to cancel the listing agreement, the term is not that important. If your house hasn’t sold within the listing agreement, you can always renew it or look for a different agent.
4. How Much Do You Charge?
All real estate agent compensations are negotiable. If they say otherwise, then you will want to consider looking for another realtor to help you sell your house. Whether the realtor goes off of a flat fee or uses a more traditional percentage of the sales price, you can always negotiate the exact number.
If the realtor doesn’t want to negotiate their compensation, they are less likely to negotiate a better selling price of the house for you and will most likely take whatever price they can sell the house for.
5. Will You Help Stage my Home or Should I Hire a Stager?
In order for you to sell your house faster, you must have it dressed to sell. Most professionals consider home staging a must. You can ask the agent to make suggestions to improve the salability of your home.
Most of the time, it’s the seller that pays for the staging if they hire professionals. It never hurts to ask about the process-or if your house will need it, not all homes do.
6. What Will be my Closing Cost?
This question gets to the nuts and bolts of the whole interaction with your real estate agent. Fees can add up quickly so it would be a good idea to make sure you have all your costs calculated as accurately as possible.
Go over the opinion of whether you want to hire a stagger for your house and try to calculate the “hidden cost” of selling a house like movers and storage. Determine if you will hire a professional photographer for the images. Get a clear number for the closing cost so you won’t be surprised later with less money than you originally thought.
7. What is the Advertising and Marketing Plan for my House?
A good real estate agent will have a plan and a written plan for selling your house that pinpoints the marketing plan. Ask to see sample marketing materials. All agents will list your home in the local MLS and their website if they have one, so that’s a given.
8. How Long is Your Real Estate Experience?
You can measure experience in real estate in two ways; in years of service, or in numbers of closing. The two are not the same. You’ll want an agent that has a consistent record of closing deals and not some part-time person who’s been doing this on the side here and there for ten years.
Ask if their real estate license is in good standing. There are websites to check the status of an agent’s license. You can also ask the agent to provide you the names and phone numbers of past clients as references.
9. How Often Should We Communicate?
Your realtor should communicate with you regularly, updating you with any new information/concerns and inform you of all offers on the house. Be sure they have plenty of contact info such as a number, email, and social media accounts and that they are reachable most of the time should you have a question or concern.
Local Records Office suggests asking when they are not reachable and be respectful of their time off. It’s always important to maintain a healthy and positive relationship with your agent during the whole process.
10. How Long Will the Entire Process Take?
To cover all your bases and get a good understanding of what to expect, ask them to go over the entire process and be sure to bring up any confusion you might have about a certain part.
Ask about the documents you will have to sign. These should include the listing agreement and sales contract. Read all documents and ask questions if you don’t understand any part of them.