When it comes time to sell your home, patience is key in finding a qualified and experienced real estate agent to represent you in listing your home for sale. Find an agent who knows your neighborhood and who has experience working there. You'll want an agent to go the extra mile who can secure the highest sale price, in the least amount of time and with the least amount of stress. Finding a seller's agent who will work hard for you and put your interests above their own is important. Here are five key questions to ask prospective seller's agents while you are conducting interviews.
1. Will You Prepare a Comparative Market Analysis and a Detailed Net Sheet for Selling My Home?
Many sellers are only concerned with the price they are going to sell their home for. While this is of the utmost importance, there are other costs and fees involved in selling a home. You want to ask prospective seller's agents if they will prepare a written comparative market analysis (CMA) to help you determine the price you should list your home for and the price range in which it will sell. Home values are important to sellers. According to an article on Realtor.com, "Real estate agents create CMAs by looking at comparables, or comps- recently sold properties that are similar to your own home. Similarity is key since it gets you closest to apples-to-apples comparison." These comparable homes should be in the same subdivision, neighborhood or area that your home is in.
You should also ask the agents if they will prepare a "seller's net sheet" for your home. Seller's net sheets are where agents take the approximate home values of homes and calculate the other costs and fees involved in selling. These other costs and fees will include commission, city and state transfer taxes, escrow fees, title costs, attorney fees and more. It is important for the real estate agent you hire to be willing to prepare these reports. It takes them time and effort, but it important to the process of selling your home.
2. What is Your Marketing Program?
Ask the agents you are interviewing what their marketing programs consist of. Be sure your listing will be in the multiple listing service (MLS) and on the major real estate websites. Ask them if they are creating color brochures of your home for potential buyers to take when looking at your home. Some seller's agents will have drone videos and virtual tours created for your home as well.
3. Will You Host an Open House?
Open houses have been a service that seller's agents have provided for years. There has been some reservation to holding open houses in recent years due in part to COVID, safety and crimes committed in open houses. Many seller's agents place multiple photos, videos and virtual tours of their listed homes on the internet. These can serve as virtual open houses if your agent doesn't host an in person open house.
4. Will You Help Me Prepare My Home for Listing?
Ask the agents you are interviewing if they will give you tips on what to do to prepare your home for sale. Many agents are happy to walk through your home with you and give you simple staging ideas and tell you whether or not you need to refresh the paint and flooring in your home before listing, for example.
5. Will You Work with Me from Contract to Close?
Be sure the seller's agent you hire will continue to work with you after your home goes under contract. They should work with all parties involved in the transaction such as the buyer's agent, the buyer's lender, the attorneys, the appraiser, and so on. They should keep you abreast as to how the transaction is progressing all the way through closing.
You may be thinking that there is one important question missing from the 5 key questions to ask a prospective seller's agent listed above. Of course, you should discuss commission. Real estate companies all have different levels of service and commission structures. It is important to understand that commission is not a set amount or a set percentage and that it is negotiable. Once you discuss the top five key questions with the agents you are interviewing, you can make an informed decision as to who to hire to represent you in the sale of your home. If you need help finding a few seller's agents to interview, Zillow, Realtor.com and Homelight.com can provide qualified agents.