Selling your home can be one of the biggest financial transactions of your life. After all, there are thousands of dollars at stake.
When selling a house, you want a real estate agent who negotiates the best deal and treats you as their most important client. The process to sell your home is so complicated and expensive, so having a great real estate agent working for you is a must.
But how do you find a great agent? Here are a few questions to ask a real estate agent before selling your home to make sure they’re the right fit for the job.
7 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent
1. What experience do you have?
When deciding on a real estate agent to sell your home, the very minimum requirement should be that the agent has an active real estate license in the state in which you are trying to sell.
In addition, we also recommend asking the agent for his or her experience level. While this isn’t a requirement to being a good agent, typically the more experience an agent has, the better they will be able to serve you.
If they have sold more properties, then the agent should have a better pulse on the market and more experience on how to handle difficult situations that could come up.
In addition to asking about the number of years he or she has worked as a real estate agent, you should also ask about the experience and knowledge they have working in your specific area.
Agents who have experience in your particular neighborhood or city may have a better handle on the market, the competition you’re up against and how to best sell your home in your neighborhood.
Also, some agents may focus more on helping people buy homes instead of selling. Others may dedicate their time to selling condominiums or townhome, which might not be a good fit if you’re trying to sell a luxury estate.
Finding the right agent for you means finding someone who has experience selling your type of home in your area, so make sure to ask these questions related to experience before you commit.
2. How much does it cost?
When considering a real estate agent, you'll want to talk about money. Most agents charge a percentage of the home's final sale price.
As the seller, this is especially important to you since it is typically the seller who will pay both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent commission. This amount will come out of the proceeds of your sale, so it’s important to do your research so you can profit the most.
The agent’s broker typically sets the commission rate or fees charged.
For years the average commission for a real estate agent in Georgia has been between 5-6% of the home’s price. About 3% of that goes to the listing agent and the other 3% goes to the buyer’s agent. So, if your home sells for $300,000, the agents will collect $18,000 at closing.
In recent years, many alternatives to the traditional real estate commission have emerged. Now, you can even find low-commission real estate agents who offer different options for listing your home without sacrificing results. SimpleShowing offers a full-service, 1% listing fee that’s a great option for sellers in the Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa, South Florida and Dallas markets.
So, before signing on the dotted line, make sure to confirm the cost to you, what it includes, how it will be distributed between parties and what you will ultimately net from the sale. This could be the difference in profiting thousands of dollars more on your home sale.
3. How will we communicate?
Communication is key in your relationship with your agent.
With this being one of the largest transactions you’ll experience in your lifetime, good communication will give you peace of mind. On the flip side, bad communication will give you a headache and cause immense stress during the process.
When selling your home, you will have questions and concerns, so be sure to ask your real estate agent how accessible they will be for you.
Find out what business hours he or she keeps and how to get in touch outside of those hours if needed. Should you call the real estate agent’s office? How about a text? Maybe email is the best way to reach your agent.
How will the agent communicate with you when they need to book a showing? If you don’t check email everyday, maybe it’s not the best form of communication when you’ve got interested parties wanting to tour your home. Many agents use a specific app called ShowingTime on their phones to schedule showings. This app then texts and emails the agent and the seller with the requests. In this scenario, you’ll need to discuss with your agent which method you prefer to use, so you can respond in a timely manner.
You will also want to find out what kind of news your agent will update you on or how often you can expect to hear from them. Will your agent let you know about every interested buyer or only when you receive an offer?
Just make sure you ask and confirm a primary method of communication so you know what to expect. Home sales can happen very quickly and taking days to respond to an email or dodging phone calls or text messages can mean losing potential buyers.
4. Do you work alone or with a team?
Once you sign a listing agreement, you will inevitably have questions, so you need to know who to turn to in those moments.
Real estate teams are pretty common. In fact, many real estate agents have an assistant who can answer questions or an entire support staff at their disposal. Perhaps there are two or more agents working under one business name. Whatever the case, it’s good to know beforehand with whom you will be working so you can get the help you need.
Within reason, you will want to be able to reach your real estate agent in a timely manner. You want someone who will respond quickly and who has enough time to be able to work with you and be available for you. Waiting extended periods of time in the real estate market can make a difference.
You want to find out if you will be working with one specific real estate agent or a member of the agent’s team. There are both positives and negatives with each situation, so ask lots of questions so you know what to expect. Different agents work with clients in different ways.
5. How much is my house worth?
So you are ready to sell your home and are already excited about the possibility of a newer, better house. But how do you know how much your current house will sell for?
You can begin your own research for an estimate of your property’s value, but a real estate agent is the best go-to for a real valuation of your home.
Ask your real estate agent to provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) that will compare your property to other similar homes in your area. In this report, you should expect to see more than a simple number analysis. An experienced agent will be able to provide a thorough, thoughtful analysis considering your home’s current condition and recent upgrades compared to other similar properties in your surrounding area.
If an agent tells you a price that’s considerably higher than what you believe your home is worth, don’t follow blindly. Some agents may inflate the pricing guideline just to get you to sign the listing agreement. A home that is overpriced at the beginning will usually end up selling for less than it would have if priced right to start.
6. What is their marketing plan?
Most agents will have some sort of plan for how they will promote your house, but you need to make sure you know what action items to expect. Listing your home on the local Multiple Listing Service is common practice. But what else will your real estate agent provide?
Will staging advice be available to you? Staging a home can make it easier for buyers to visualize the space as their own and typically results in a faster sale.
Will professional photos be taken? Quality photos make the listing that much more appealing to potential buyers.
Will there be an open house? How about email blasts or digital marketing of your listing?
A marketing plan goes beyond the traditional “for sale” sign in your front yard. Marketing a property in this technology-driven society requires a great marketing plan and understanding of digital practices to get prospective buyers who are searching online to want to tour your home in person. So, make sure to ask your real estate agent to spell out his or her marketing plan for getting your house sold.
7. Do you have any references or reviews?
In the real estate business, references and reviews are great ways to get in contact with a quality agent.
Start the search for your next agent by asking family, friends, or colleagues if they have a referral for a good agent. While a referral to a good real estate agent is a fine place to start, don’t stop there. The fact that your family or friend had a good experience doesn’t mean that it will be the right fit for you.
When you reach out to the real estate agent, they will likely emphasize all of their positives – experience, sales records, qualifications, and so on. But what they won’t be able to tell you is what it's like to work with them on a daily basis.
For this reason, when selling your home, you should always ask your real estate agent for references and look for reviews online.
Reach out to a few of the references or do your research to see what previous clients have said about their experiences with the agent. What was it like to work with the agent? How did the process go? Were they pleased with the work they did? Did the agent keep them well informed? Would they recommend the agent to others?
Seeing what someone who has used their services has to say can provide the info you need to find out what it’s actually like to work with that specific agent.
Sell Your Home For 1% With A Top-Rated SimpleShowing Agent
Now that you know the questions to ask, you should be ready to start searching for a real estate agent. To make your search easy, we’ve got agents who will exceed expectations for every question listed above and more.
If you’re ready to take the next step to sell your home, contact us to connect with an experienced agent who is familiar with your area.
SimpleShowing Agents are here to speak with you about your home and save you thousands with our 1% listing fee.