Monday October 17, 2011
Shopping for a new home, and want to use a Real Estate Agent to help you sell your home or find your new dream house? Here are some key tips to consider when looking for the right Broker or Agent:
Before You Search:
Ask your friends, coworkers and family for referrals. They’re the best source of opinions about great real estate agents in your area! Once you have a list of potential agents, check out their online and offline presence and narrow down your list. Once you’ve got your contenders, it’s a good idea to interview more than one agent before you choose who will help you buy and sell your homes.
Questions to Ask Your Potential Real Estate Agent:
- How many homes have you sold? This question has many answers, and you should get them all. How many homes has the agent sold in total throughout his or her career? What is the agent’s average per year? What about last year? How many homes has the agent sold in your neighborhood or school district?
- What is your average sale price? If your agent’s average sale price is drastically different from the price of your home, ask for specific strategies for selling in your price bracket (whether it be higher or lower). Make sure they understand the market for your particular home.
- What is your average number of days on market? What has it been for the last year? If you’re looking to sell your home quickly and to avoid costly price reductions, find an agent who knows how to price homes right and move them quickly.
- What sort of advertisements will you be using to market and sell my home? Do you have samples from previous work? This answer is important. In a day and age where 89% of home buyers start their search online, make sure your potential real estate agent has a solid strategy for offline AND online marketing of your home. Also, ask about their plan for marketing to relocation buyers who may not read the local paper or see signage.
- How many open houses will you be holding at my home? Some home sellers like to get a guaranteed number of open houses in writing before they select a real estate agent. Be sure to ask if the real estate agent will actually be present at these open houses, or whether an assistant or associate would be conducting the event.
- Would you provide me with a list of at least 3 references?Especially if the real estate agent isn’t a referral from friends and family, it’s important to get an outside perspective on his or her performance.
- Do you plan to market my home to my neighborhood? Home sales often occur via word of mouth – your neighbors may likely know just the right person to purchase your home. Ask the agent what they would do to specifically target your neighbors (say, a mailing to each home owner, or a door hanger to promote the first open house).
- Are there any improvements you would recommend I make to my home prior to listing it? Ask the agent for both a “must do” and “would be nice” set of recommendations. Always keep your financial constraints in mind!
- How would you qualify potential buyers before they see my home? Cleaning and vacating your home for showings is a hassle – be sure your potential agent has a strategy for making sure buyers who visit are qualified and can afford the home.
- What steps do you take to ensure my home’s security? Your agent should provide you with recommendations and strategies to keep your home safe during showings and open houses.