Hiring an agent who intimately knows your neighborhood and the area home values is key to your success. It will help to ensure you receive the best sales price possible in a timely manner. Interviewing multiple agents is imperative as after all, this is a very large financial transaction for you. Here are 5 key questions to ask before you sign a listing agreement:
What is Your Experience Selling Homes in This Area?
The most important criteria for hiring a real estate agent to sell your home is their experience selling in your local area. An experienced agent will have worked and sold homes during various markets including a seller's market, a buyer's market, a recession and so on. The agent should be local and should know the area extremely well. Marketing the area is just as important as marketing your home.
What is Your Online Presence?
According to the National Association of Realtors, over 90% of homebuyers search for homes online before they physically go to view homes. This is why it's extremely important that the real estate agent you hire has online presence. Be sure your home's listing will appear on the top real estate websites such as Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com and Homes.com. The agent should highlight your home's listing on his own website as well as his company's. A good social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will attract interest as well.
What is Your List Price to Sales Price Ratio?
A good real estate agent will know how to price your home correctly. They should have a good list price to sales price ratio and should come to the listing appointment with a comparative market analysis. This analysis will compare home values in your immediate area and should include similar homes that have sold recently or are on the market for sale. The real estate agent will advise you on the "best" list price for your home. You will always want to leave a little room for negotiations. Overpricing your home may lead to missing qualified buyers or having appraisal problems if you do.
Are You a Full-Service Agent?
Look for a real estate agent that is a full-service agent. At one end of the spectrum is an agent that places a sign in your yard and a lockbox on your door, and you don't hear from them until you receive an offer. You want an agent that has a comprehensive marketing and follow-up program. Talk to your agent about how you want to be communicated with by text, email or phone. Be sure your agent will give you feedback on what buyers are saying about your home. Once you are under contract, be sure your agent will continue to be involved until closing day.
What is Your Commission?
Many sellers think this is the most important question to ask a real estate agent. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Be prepared to pay for great service and someone who will work hard to get you the best price for your home. In some markets, commission rates will vary significantly due to the competitiveness of agents and the value of the home. It's more likely that an average home in Ohio will require the traditional 6% commission whereas the average home in California, 3 1/2 times more expensive, will be less.
Hiring a listing broker is the long standing, traditional way to sell your home. There are now alternatives as well as new ways to source agents. Don't have a lead on a good agent? Consider an agent matching site such as Homelight or Upnest. These sites use statistical analysis of an agent's sales record to recommend a fit for your specific needs. Looking to sell your home very quickly, for cash, and without making repairs or staging your home? You may want to consider the iBuyer.com platform or a similar online home selling company.