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10 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring A Realtor

Apr 15, 2008
When it comes to selling a home, there is no doubt that choosing the right real estate agent is key to your success. Without the right agent you run the risk of not getting enough, leaving it on the market for too long, and the entire selling process becomes more difficult. To get the most of the sale you need an agent that will really work for you.

Unfortunately not all agents are equal. In fact, in the real estate game, you will find such a variation of individuals that it can become difficult to know where to start. To help you, we have developed this guide. Here are ten questions to ask before you sign anything.

1. How much experience do you have?

There is a reason you want to ask about experience rather than time in the industry. Some real estate agents work part time.
The knowledge you want to gain here is how active he/she is in the market. An agent that has many listings, and a good history of sales, will more actively work towards making a sale. If it's their full time job they don't eat unless they sell houses!

2. Do you have a written marketing plan that you will use when selling my home?

A good real estate agent will have a plan to market their listings. This plan should include a good mix of both traditional advertising methods, and online methods. It should also include an idea of how they will let other agents know about your home.

3. What online methods of marketing do you use?

This question is an important one. In the modern world over 80% of all home buyers begin their research online. If an agent isn't familiar with the internet, and the methods of marketing a home online, then you run the risk of your house not getting as much attention. Online marketing should include a site for their firm, a personal website (or blog), as well as MLS services and other sites that get homes noticed in your area.

Another question to ask is: how many referrals an agent gets from the internet? The answer to this question will help you gauge how successful the firm (or the agent) is at getting noticed online.

4. Can I view your personal website/blog?

An agent that has kept up with the times will have their own website. More than that they will keep the site updated regularly and use it as a marketing tool. Blogging is another popular choice amongst the tech-savvy agent.

5. How and when can we contact you?

Finding a good real estate agent is one thing, being able to get in touch with them is another. Asking this question lets you know how they make themselves available to you. Do they have an email address for questions? Can they be contacted on the weekends? What you are trying to avoid here is the agent that gets the listing and then disappears.

6. Do you have a list of references to call?

When you ask for references, you have an easy way to learn about the agent's relationship with their past clients. A good real estate agent will have a list of people he has worked with, and who were satisfied with his/her work.

7. How long do you expect it will take to sell my home?

This question depends slightly on market trends in the area, but an active agent will have an answer. They will be able to tell you how long similar listings have stayed on the market.

8. What happens if I am not happy with your work?

This is an important question to ask. If three months passes and you haven't heard from the agent, do you have a way out? It isn't uncommon for people to be stuck in a listing because they failed to ask this question.

9. Can you suggest ways to prepare my home for the market?

An agent who really knows their stuff will be able to recommend ways for you to get the most for your home. Re-arranging furniture, reducing clutter, or minor renovations, can all help with both selling and getting more for your home. An active real estate agent will know this, and will know what trends tend sell faster.

10. What percentage of your listings/sales comes from referrals?

If your agent has been in business for a while, they most likely get lots of business from the recommendations of others. The best real estate agents may get the better portion of their business from referrals.
About the Author
Ronnie Bredahl is an Austin Realtor and owner of Austin Referral Realty. Read more real estate articles or search the Austin MLS for available Austin Homes.
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