Top 10 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Hire Your Next Realtor...

Real Estate Agent with Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor

It is often that I am asked how the market is doing.  And the response from the public is yeah, I know a lot of realtors and they are getting a "real" job or a part time job.  I don't have a part time job. Real estate is my "real" job. I'm STILL a full time realtor. Yes, the market is tough, and no, I'm not getting another part time job.    

As a seller or buyer, it's important to evaluate who you select to represent you in your next transaction.  A real estate transaction is a detailed and complex process and it requires your agent's full time attention. The market is tough. The economy is tight. It may get worse before it gets better.  Are you willing to trust your next transaction to an agent that cannot service you full time?  Despite the negative media, houses are still selling.  What will it take for your house to be next?

Before you hire your next realtor to sell your house, here are the top 10 questions you need to ask.

•1.       Do you work as a full-time Realtor ? In the changing market, you want to make sure that your Are you full time?agent is focused on real estate full time.

•2.       How are you qualified to sell my house? i.e. What designations do you have? What sets you apart from the other 3600 realtors in the Charleston area? Not all agents are equal. Michele ranks in the top 4% of all realtor nationwide as a Certified Residential Specialist, among many other designations.  She also ranks in the top 1% of local realtors based on production.

•3.       How many homes have you personally sold in 2008? How many so far this year? How does that compare to the industry averages in my area?  Lots of agents were million dollar producers in 2003-2005 when it was easy.  You want to make sure that the agent you select has a strong personal sales track record in the changing market. The average agent last year closed 6 transaction.  Michele Reneau personally sold 51 homes in 2007, a declining market and so far in 2008, Michele is still busy and has already sold 33 homes. 

•4.       What Realtor networking and Internet marketing do you do? How does it go beyond placing a sign in my yard, a lockbox on the door, and notifying the Multiple Listing Service? I want an agent who knows how to find me a buyer, not one who simply puts my home in MLS and passively waits for something to happen.  Ask Michele about her 100+ point marketing plan.

•5.       What type of Brochure will you use? Do you do your own desk top publishing or hire a print shop? Will it be in color with pictures? May I see a sample? What kinds of other advertising do you do?   Ask for samples to view.

•6.       visual tourDo you have a way to market my home through the Internet or Virtual Tours? What websites will my home be seen on? Will it include multiple photos? Visit my website to see examples of Visual Tours. They are top notch and showcase your home.

•7.       What can you tell me about the real estate market in this area? I want to make sure my realtor is aware of the market conditions, not just in my neighborhood, but the surrounding area. What's selling, what's not? What is the average days on market for active and sold listings? Visit my newsletter describing the Charleston Real Estate market. It's updated every month.

•8.       Can you explain to me the absorption rate and the odds of selling my home in the next 30, 60, or 90 days? Michele Reneau will review this information with you based on your home and neighborhood.

•9.       How will you make my listing standout?  How are your photography skills or do you hire a professional? What will you say about my house to attract buyers to want to make an appointment? MLS photos and description are extremely important.  Ask for example from current and/or past listings.

•10.   Do you have dozens of buyer and seller references I can call? What do your clients say about your business and personal skills? Don't worry, I'll have a list ready for you.

As a seller, you need a realtor that understands the Charleston SC real estate market, has the knowledge and skills to help you market  your property, and can stand by you to get the job done by keeping you informed of market trends and market activity.  There are realtors that are true professionals and in this for the long haul. It's not going to be an easy market to sell or buy a home.  Make sure you ask these questions!


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Michele Reneau - Military Relocation Specialist with Carolina One Real Estate in Charleston, SC.

Rated number #1 featured Summerville, SC Realtor on As Featured on HGTV's House Hunters. Publisher/Author for Charleston Real Estate Update  including featured listings and sold properties, and monthly statistics on Charleston Real Estate MarketThe Charleston Relocation Expert specializes in military relocation, first time homebuyers and creating marketing exposure to sell your home in Charleston, Goose Creek, Summerville, North Charleston, Hanahan, Mount Pleasant and the surrounding areas in Charleston County, Berkeley County or Dorchester County, South Carolina..  I can also be contacted by email at To view all Charleston Metro area Homes for Sale Click Here and then click on Search for Homes.  With over 25 years of Lowcountry Living, I know the Charleston Metro area.


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Barry Bridges
Barry Bridges Weichert Realtors Bridges & Co. - Smith Mountain Lake, VA
Lake professional

11. If you are new in the business and do not have some of the above. What kind of support do you have from your broker and can I meet him/her? Will they work with you on my listing?

Oct 11, 2008 05:39 AM #1
Tony DeLuke
Markley Realty - Cuyahoga Falls, OH


  I love your list!!!!!!!

Oct 11, 2008 06:20 AM #2
Andy Raffle
Emery Federal Credit Union - Yardley, PA
Team Leader - NMLS#156564

Nice list.  Good suggestions.

Oct 11, 2008 06:28 AM #3
John Mulkey - Waleska, GA
Housing Guru

Good suggestions.  If only sellers could see these before they hire their part-time realtor neighbor, friend, cousin, church-member, etc.

Oct 11, 2008 06:44 AM #4
Cherimie Crane
Cherimie Crane & Associates - Beaufort, SC

Michele- This is a terrific post! Great suggestions.

Oct 11, 2008 06:58 AM #5
Michele Reneau
Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor - Summerville, SC
Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team

Barry-Good point for newbies!

Tony, Andy and John- Feel free to use it. Before you go on a listing presentation, send this list to prospect prior to them interviewing you or anyone else and/or mail it in your farm!

Oct 11, 2008 06:59 AM #6
Tammy & Terry Coleman
Coldwell Banker Snow & Wall - Murfreesboro, TN

Great  post. I think I may use some of this in my listing presentation.

Oct 11, 2008 07:30 AM #7
Nicole Weidauer
Keller Williams Greater Seattle - Shoreline, WA

This is a great list and is sure to help your potential sellers list with you. You need to not only show them the many features of you and your services, but show them the benefit  to them and they are even more likely to list with you! Great post!

Kind Regards, Nicole Weidauer

The Egerer & Weidauer Team, Keller Williams Realty North Seattle

Oct 12, 2008 04:30 AM #8
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

Great list of references for sellers to chose their next listing agent!  I can definately say that you are one busy agent and it clearly shows why!

Oct 12, 2008 01:48 PM #9
Michele Reneau
Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor - Summerville, SC
Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team

Cherimie-I hope you can use the list to enhance your business.

Tammy & Terry-Add any questions and make it your own.  Would love to hear other questions you (or anyone) might add.

Nicole-Feature and benefit is part of the listing presentation, but I think if a seller has this list of questions and they are interviewing 2 or 3 agents, it helps them see the differences.  Many sellers don't know how to interview agents.

Melissa-Thanks for your continued support and confidence. I couldn't be successful with your staging consultations to get these homes ready to show and sell!

Oct 16, 2008 07:26 AM #10
Aaron Blevins
Jason Free Realty - Rome, GA

Good info Michele! Be sure to check out my post about BPOs and REOs!

Oct 24, 2008 10:02 AM #12
Frances C. Rokicki
Fran Rokicki Realty, LLC - Bolton, CT

Michele, This list has many good features.  Sellers should ask for references, they should interview 3 agents and they should be told the truth about the market conditions.  Knowing your community's statistics, especially now, is very important.  How many days from the day you take the listing, until the day that you receive an offer?  That is always a handy one to mention.

More agents must be acquiring the CRS designation.  It had always been 3% of Realtors, nationwide.

It's a Good Life!


Oct 25, 2008 11:18 AM #13
Daniel J. Brudnok, REALTOR
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, REALTORS - Exton - PA License #RS-225179-L / Delaware License #RS-0025038 - Downingtown, PA


Great really had a great 2007.

Oct 29, 2008 03:42 AM #14
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Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team
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