All Real Estate Agents Are Not Created Equal! Questions to Ask Your Prospective Listing Agent
Posted September 30th, 2015 by Moving Station

Deciding to sell your home and move into a retirement community is a big step, one that most people give many hours, days, months, even years of consideration. Once you have chosen your community, the next step should be planning your home sale. It is important to remember that not all Realtors are created equally and some of the same consideration you’ve given to choosing where you will move should be given to who will help you get there. You should interview your real estate agent as you would an employee. Some important questions to ask:

*How long have you been selling real estate?
The more experience your Realtor has in the business, the better. It’s also important to recognize where he or she has sold the most homes.

*Do you sell real estate full-time or part-time?
Full-time Realtors have more availability to show your property and answer any questions prospective buyers may have. They also rely on the homes they sell to support themselves which is an important motivator compared to an agent that does real estate as a “side job.”

*How many homes have you sold in the past 12 months?
Results matter. When selling your home, be sure to utilize a real estate agent that primarily works with sellers, rather than buyer. This is important, as listing agents know how to focus their marketing efforts to expose your property to the widest audience and overcome buyers’ objections.

*What is your average time from list to contract?
Your agent’s goal should be getting you into your retirement community as soon as possible. Be sure to ask their average time to obtain a successful contract, as this can be indicative of their success in selling your home.

*What is your average list price to sale price ratio?
You deserve the best price for your home. There are some agents who will inflate the listing price in order to get your business. As a result, your home may sit on the market for a longer period of time and you may get even less than your home is worth. Depending on your local market area, a good agent should have an average list price to sale price ratio of 95% or better.

*What types of marketing tools do you utilize?
It’s important to utilize many different marketing tools, rather than just focusing on one. Most home buyers begin their searches on the internet and might not attend open houses. Because different buyers may employ different resources in their search, it’s important to diversify your home marketing plan.

*Do you have a website that has high traffic?
Successful Realtors have easily accessible websites that showcase all current listings and bring a high volume of prospective buyers to the website.

*Do you take photos yourself or do you utilize a professional?
Because most home buyers start on the internet, it’s important to make a good first impression. If your agent takes high quality photographs, the buyers will be more inclined to visit your property. Poor quality photographs can make the buyers overlook your property. Some agents use professional photographers who specialize in real estate photos and can bring out the beauty in your home. Even if your agent doesn’t utilize a professional photographer, ask to review photos from several previous listings to ensure they are top quality.

*How do you determine the listing price of the homes you sell?
The agents that you interview should prepare comparative market analysis reports to show you where their pricing comes from. A more detailed analysis means that the agent will be more detailed with their efforts.

*Do you have testimonials or past sellers with whom I can speak?
Agents should have testimonials on-hand. If they have past sellers that you can speak with, use the opportunity to learn about their experience.

*How often will you provide updates on the status of my home sale?
Good communication is important in any relationship, but especially with your real estate agent! You should be as involved in the home sale as you desire, and your agent should give you regular updates based on your preferences. Establishing standards from the beginning is paramount to a successful relationship.

*What recommendations do you have for home upgrades?
Some of the upgrades that homeowners undergo, such as installing granite countertops, are unnecessary. Home buyers may have specific desires that may not align with the upgrades you make. Others, such as a fresh coat of paint or necessary repairs, can make a significant impact. Ensure your agent understands your willingness to take on projects around the house prior to listing and takes that into account when pricing your home.

If you are not satisfied with the agents you have interviewed, do not be afraid to interview more. Never sign a contract with an agent that has not answered the above questions or an agent that does not have satisfactory answers to the questions. Finally, be aware of the termination clause in your listing agreement should your agent not live up to the expectations you outlined together at the outset of your home sale. Use the same discretion in choosing your Realtor that you did in selecting your next home!

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