We shop for cars, for loans, for electronics, for furniture. But for one of the biggest deals in our lifes, selling our home, Aunt Tilly's cousin, who is an agent, gets the job. No questions asked. Or somebody who offers a lower commission without questioning what one gets for the money (and you always get what you pay for...)
Well, here are 12 questions to ask a real estate agent before you sign on the dotted line:
1: What are your qualifications to list this specific house? Are you experienced in estate sales/distressed sales/million dollar properties/farms...
2: How long have you been in the business and how many properties are you in average selling per year?
3: Do you have knowledge in Real Easte Photography and how many photos do you take for a property like mine?
4: What kind of camera do you use?
5: Do you make videos and where do you post them?
6: How do you distribute my listing for maximal exposure?
7: Can I have references?
8: How often will you contact me for updates?
9: How fast do you usually return calls when a message is being left?
10: What is your take on the current market condition and where do you get your information from?
11: What do you love about my property, what do you dislike?
The last point might sound funny but it gives a seller an indication how his property is being presented. Agents often take listings and then write a text that does the opposite of selling. I took a listing in spring that had been unsuccesfully on the market for 6 months. Behind the house is a lovely creek with a bike path next to it. What an asset, one might think, but the former agent had written: "Borders a water canal". What a turnoff! The text : "Borders a lovely creek and a great bike path" brought an above price offer within 24hrs....
12: Do I get feedback after showing?
I showed 4 houses yesterday. It's a good price range, most of them are on the market for more than 2 months. So it is interesting how interested the seller's agents are in my buyer's reaction. Well, in 3 out of the 4 cases they are not at all, means there was no request for feedback. The fourth I knew I would hear from right away, she is a colleague of mine and we share the idea that good seller's representation requires feedback requests so that your sellers a) know it is being shown, and b) what buyers are saying.
Ignoring a showing and not asking the showing agent for feedback is poor service!
So ask questions. And interview multiple agents. Look at different styles and go with the right one....!