Are you going to sell your home? Here is a compilation of best practices and questions to ask realtors and real estate agents. This post is geared towards SELLING and not buying.
To start the process, you should ask at least 3 agents for a listing presentation, who will tell you what comparable homes have sold for and how long they take to sell. During this exchange, keep in mind the following:
- recent clients and recommendations – ask those people the asking price vs. sales price
- find an agent who does this FULL TIME
- check for licenses and disciplinary actions – Pennsylvania lookup here
- ask about professional awards – national association of realtors, peer awards are especially telling of the quality of a realtor. They will will be a Realtor with a capital ‘R”.
- credentials like CRS – Certified Residential Specialist, member of National Association of Realtors (certified agents have access to the MLS database)
- how long have they been doing this? look for someone with at least 5 years experience!
- look at current listings. are previous properties similar in price, location, and features to your home? how long were homes on the market?
- gauge agents knowledge of an area
- check out locally-owned real estate agencies – agencies typically have more resources to dedicate than individuals
- avoid “dual agents” working for both buyer and seller
QUESTIONS TO ASK A REALTOR
- can you show numbers to support the suggested list price?
- how many houses did you sell last year?
- what percentage of your listings do you sell? (60-80%)
- what is the average list price to actual sell price ratio for your listings (95% should be the absolute lowest)
- can the agent give you a selling range?
- do you have an advertising and marketing budget and platform?
- do you have a track record of list price vs final sales price?
- do you consider yourself an aggressive negotiator?
- what is your communication methods and ability?
- if this isn’t working out based on performance, what is the process for releasing us from the listing?
- how will you market my home? what is your marketing plan? can i see a copy? how will you use social media? what offline materials do you use? How much do you spend on advertising?
Marketing Tools and Features to Look For:
- Professional signage, including an agent’s cell phone number
- Daily electronic monitoring of lockbox access
- Follow-up reports on buyer showings/feedback to the seller
- Broker previews
- Incentives for broker/office previews
- Staging advice
- Digital targeted marketing
- Advertising in local newspapers, only if it’s warranted
- MLS exposure with 36+ professional photographs
- Virtual tour
- Distribution to major websites
- Four-color flyers, if warranted
- Financing flyers for buyers
- Minimum of two open houses, providing its location is a candidate
- Direct mail to surrounding neighbors, out-of-area buyers/brokers
- Exposure at Board of Realtor meetings
- Feedback to sellers on buyer sign calls and buyer showings
- Updated CMAs after 30 days
- E-mail feeds of new listings that compete
- Updates on neighborhood facts, trends, and recent sales