Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Listing Agent
If you are thinking about selling, taking the time to find a realtor who is going to work best for YOU will save you tons of potential road bumps along the way. Don’t settle for the first agent you talk to - Do your research! We suggest, at the very least, you ask these 10 questions:
1. What’s my home really worth?
A good agent won’t tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. Be wary of the temptation to hire the agent that gives you the highest number! They can often “buy” your listing and then spend the next 6 months wasting your time on market and then trying to get you to reduce your price. A good agent will have prepared a thorough market evaluation, and be prepared to talk to you about the difference between listing and selling.
2. Is there anything I can do to add value?
Often there are small things which can be done to a home to dramatically improve odds of sale, as well as probable sales price. Certain renovations bring about value, and others don’t. Be wary of spending your money in the right place.
3. Is there anything I should do to the home before listing?
Is your entire home covered in floral wallpaper? Are your walls covered in personal photographs? Did you start a reno and then abandon it partway through? There are countless things which can affect your odds of sale. A good agent can tell you what needs to be done vs. what should be done vs. what should be left as-is.
4. Do you use a professional photographer?
Good photos are the single most important element of a listing in this day and age of internet browsing. Professional photos are expensive, and the good photographers even more so. Make sure you know the quality of what you are getting for your dollar! Ask to see samples.
5. Do you offer staging guidance?
It is a proven fact that staged homes sell more quickly and for more money than unstaged homes. Although your agent is unlikely to pay for your vacant home to be furnished, they should be able to offer a comprehensive outline of what needs to get de-cluttered, what should stay and what should go, and whether there are items they recommend you add to make the most of the property. Staging is more than just furniture, it is how the home presents to purchasers, how it feels, how it smells, how it shows.
6. Where do you advertise?
Many Realtors rely solely on the MLS system to market their properties, while others offer a comprehensive online and print package. Make sure you understand where your home will be advertised and why.
7. How busy is your website?
We are in the internet age, with well over 90% of buyers looking at homes online before shopping in person. A good agent will not only have a website, but will have a website with traffic.
8. Do you call for feedback?
Hands down the most valuable service your agent can provide once you are on the market is a glimpse into what prospective buyers thought of your home. Did they like it? How did it look? Did they have any comments or suggestions? Was there anything specific that turned them off? How did the price seem in comparison to other homes they viewed? Without feedback from prospective buyers, you are flying blind as to how your home is perceived in the market.
9. Do you have support?
Solo agents often wear a number of hats - Realtor, web master, stager, photographer, negotiator, etc. Unfortunately this can lead to being a Jack of all trades, master of none! Beware of an agent that doesn’t have appropriate support, they are often spread too thin and unable to truly excel at what they need to do - sell your home. An agent that is too busy won’t be able to take your call or properly service your listing. And what happens when they go out of town or are on holidays? Who will help out?
10. What do you charge?
Commissions are not fixed in our industry, but we do have a “typical” rate that you are likely to see. Make sure you understand what you will be charged and when, and what exactly is included in that fee.