Buying or selling real estate is probably the most important transaction you will ever make in your life. That is why it is important to choose the best real estate agent to help you achieve this goal. But before hiring the services of a real estate agent, there are important factors to consider.
Many people have the perception that all real estate agents are the same. Some sign with the first come. Unfortunately, they realize later that they should have been more selective before signing a deal. To guide you in choosing the best realtor for your needs, here are seven questions to ask your prospective realtor.
1) What is your experience in the real estate sector?
The first thing to ask a real estate agent is how long they have been in the real estate business. It does not mean that you cannot hire the services of newly licensed real estate agents. Just keep in mind that those with years of experience under their belt are probably more informed about what to do, from listing to closing. Aside from the number of years in business, ask them what real estate segment they focus on: residential, commercial, luxury, etc. Find out if it is primarily a listing agent or a buyers agent (or both). Familiarity with the market is also essential, so ask what geographic areas the agent typically covers. You can even dig deeper by asking if the agent has received any awards for outstanding performance.
2) How many and what types of properties have you listed and sold in the last year?
It is one of the most important questions to ask a real estate agent. The number of properties you have listed and sold in the past year is a valuable indicator of how good a real estate professional is at getting the job done. Note that this question consists of two parts: properties listed and properties sold. Agents can demonstrate their ability to list houses; However, the most important thing is the sales part: the ability to close deals. If they have a lot of properties listed and sold in the last year, it shows that whatever strategy the agent is using is certainly working.
3) What was the average sales price of the properties you sold in the last year?
Asking this will give you an idea in what type of market the agent specializes. Find out if the real estate professional has experience selling properties in your price range. If the majority of the properties sold are in the low-end market segment, it may take longer for the agent to sell if yours is a high-end home. Although agents can sell any property regardless of the price range, they are likely to be more successful in the market and in the price segments in which they have the most experience.
4) What is your average sale-to-list price ratio?
The sell-to-list price ratio (sometimes called the sell-to-list or list-to-sell ratio) is the final selling price divided by the list price, expressed as a percentage. If it is 100%, it means that the sale price was equal to the list price. You can view this relationship in two ways. A qualified listing agent can negotiate sales prices equal to or close to the list price, and sometimes even higher in a very competitive market. Therefore, ideally, publicly traded agents should have sales price ratios close to 100%. On the other side of the coin, a good buyer’s agent can often negotiate a lower sale price than the list price. Therefore, the ratio of buyer agents should ideally be less than 99%.
5) What marketing strategies will you use?
Deciding which strategies to use can make the difference between success and failure. A bad marketing strategy will lower your chances of success. Do your own due diligence by asking how the agent will sell your property. There are many options: staging, open houses, joint marketing, print advertising and, of course, online marketing. Regardless of which approaches are used, they must be designed to attract the largest number of qualified potential buyers. High-end properties can often benefit from professional staging as well. In either case, your agent should advise you on how to best prepare the property to make it more attractive to potential buyers.
6) Can you give me some references?
Reputation is important in this line of business. Whether you are buying or selling a property, you should ask for references (previous clients). If possible, call a few and ask about their experiences with the agent. Were they satisfied with the service provided? Also ask if they are related in any way to the agent. A list of references made up of friends or relatives will generally not provide an objective evaluation of the agent’s qualifications.
7) Do you offer any kind of guarantee and will you let me get out of my contract early if I am not satisfied with your service?
You can’t say for sure how things will go, even if you did your due diligence. For this reason, you must make sure that you are prepared for any eventuality. If you sign a contract and later find that you are not satisfied with the service, will the agent allow you to cancel the contract? If things don’t go the way they are supposed to, you should be free to choose another agent who can deliver better results.
As you can see, there are many things to consider when choosing a real estate agent. Finding and interviewing real estate agents can be a laborious and time-consuming task. However, now armed with these seven questions, you are on your way to choosing the best real estate agent for your needs.