There are several areas that you may want to consider during the interview process, which are addressed below. When you decide to interview an agent, this serves as a great list of talking points to discuss.
1. Experience: How long have you been in the real estate business? Do you have additional experience in related fields? Do you work full-time or part-time? How well do you know the area? In what type of sales (luxury homes, foreclosures, commercial, etc.) do you specialize, and in what locations do you work?
The time on the job isn’t the most reliable factor. An agent with less time as a Realtor sometimes actually has more experience, because they close more transactions. That is why the additional questions listed above will help you to better determine experience versus job time. The key is to find out if the agent’s experience and expertise mesh with your needs.
2. Knowledge: What expertise do you have? What is your knowledge of the area and the market? What are homes like mine selling for right now?
Make sure the agent you choose has a good feel for the market around your home. Some agents work in just one city, while others work in multiple counties. Agents can be very successful with either approach. It’s also recommended you determine the agent’s overall knowledge in real estate, marketing, negotiation and closing of transactions.
3. Organization: Do you work by yourself or do you have an assistant, office staff or team? What are their names and what will be their role in the transaction?
It is not uncommon for agents who sell a lot of houses to hire people to work with them. As their businesses grow, they must be able to deliver the same or higher quality service to more people. You may want to know who on the team will take part in your transaction, and what role each person will play.
4. Marketing Plan: Can you tell me specifically what your marketing plan includes? Where do you advertise (internet, print, networking)? How and where your home be marketed? Do you use social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogging)? Does the agent create virtual tours/video of your home? Does the agent hold broker’s open houses and do any other open houses? Do you have a home stager? Does your agent have an overall presence in the community as a “known” expert in the field?
If you said yes to all of these, the marketing effort appears to be strong. However, the effectiveness of the marketing plan can still be an issue. That’s why communication and sharing the results of the marketing efforts is important; so a contingency plan can be created to give your home maximum exposure to buyers
5. Communication: How often do you or your office staff stay in touch with me? How do I get feedback on showings of my home? How quickly do you contact buyer’s agent about feedback? Do you provide reports that will show me the results of your marketing and update me on near-by home sales?
This is a huge point to explore, and one that is tough to gauge until you actually start working with that agent. My advice is to see how the agent addresses questions about communication and follow up. If the agent is not concise with these points, this may be a good indication that communication is not a strong suit.
6. Pricing Strategy: Can you show me how much homes are selling for near me and how you developed the recommended pricing for my home? What is you sales price percentage compared to the list price? How long do your listings take to sell, compared to other agents?
The agent should be able to help you determine a recommended listing price range and provide you with the information used to come to that conclusion. Finding out the agent’s statistics regarding sales price versus list price and market time will help show you how accurate the agent is with his/her advice. You want an agent that can not only give you the correct information, but also have the conviction to tell you the truth instead of what you want to hear just to get the listing.
7. Commission Structure: How much do you charge? Are there any additional administrative or service fees? What will be my estimated net proceeds after the transaction?
Make sure you know what you’ll be charged before you commit to an agent or commit to a list price. You should be able to determine what your net proceeds will be first. Hopefully by now, you can begin to determine if you’re getting the service you require for the commission you’ll be charged.
8. Success: What is your level of success among your peers? Are you a top agent in the area? How many transactions do you complete in a year?
This is some good information to have, especially if you’re “on the fence” about hiring an agent. You may find an agent that has everything you need that does not sell 100+ listings a year. However, if they only close a few transactions a year, you may want to interview another agent before making a final decision.
9. References: Can you share references of current and/or past clients?
This is a better way to truly determine success…through the words of actual clients. What current and past clients have to say about the agent carries a lot of weight versus just simply looking at “the numbers.” References are where you can begin to determine the intangibles such as care, attention, importance of client needs, ease of transaction, etc.
Once you’ve gone through these points, you should be able to determine whether a given agent fits your needs and expectations. You should feel you found an agent that sets him or herself apart and meets or exceeds your expectations.
Now It’s Interview Time
Unless you’ve determined that your previous agent still fits the bill, you’re going to want to set up an interview with another agent or two. There is no real “best” time of year to interview an agent or list your home. If you want to sell your home, the best time is now…
Feel free to contact me anytime for more information.