Real Estate Listing Agents and the Right Questions to Ask!
One of the biggest concerns Sellers have selecting a Real Estate Agent and firm to represent them on the sale of their home is, what questions should I be asking the Agent before I sign a listing agreement. Here are some of the Top Questions you should be asking to assure you of making the best decision when selecting who you want to work with:
Do you work in Real Estate as an agent Full-Time? You don’t want someone doing real estate on the side or as a hobby. Many of the activities involved in buying, selling, and negotiating transactions are time sensitive and complex. The capacity to do research, follow-up on details and at the same time be present, accessible, and responsive to these needs is paramount.
How long have you been in Real Estate Sales? There is no right or wrong answer here, however, if the person has been in business for anything less than about 5 years you should know there is an 80-90% chance they will not be in business by then. MOST NEW AGENTS FAIL in this business within the first 60 months.
Tell me about your Track Record as an Agent - Your agent should know the market area and have experience in the surrounding areas too, it is essential. Gauge the level of this experience by their history of activity, success, and failure rate. During their career and recent history, what have they sold and where?
What is your “Bread and Butter” price range and your specialty? The sales process for all homes is similar, however, the Buyer base for your sale may come from very different segments of the marketplace. Great Agents will often work across the spectrum in terms of price range. So, the key is to be certain that your offering doesn’t take the agent too far out of their comfort zone to where they will not be able to service the listing properly. I have seen this work both ways, from the luxury home marketer not willing to deal with a double-wide in a country setting to a low-end 1st-time buyer specialist unqualified to list an upper-end condo in a downtown high rise. Make sure your agent is comfortable servicing your needs and type of Buyers that will be most likely to be considering your home. The very best agents will recognize properties where your interests will not be best served by them personally and make a recommendation to another agent better suited for your needs.
Am I locked into a listing agreement with you if I am not satisfied with your level of performance? Brokers who are confident in the services they provide with have a clause built into the listing agreement that clearly outlines the provisions for the early termination of a listing agreement. You should be certain they have this option and ask about the details and conditions that will apply.
Tell me about the Brokerage Firm you work with – In general when you are hiring any Brokerage firm to represent you in the sale the thing that matters most is the agent you hire. However, you should also be confident that if something should happen to your agent, (illness, family emergencies, accidents, etc.) the firm they that are associated with will be able to provide you competent back-up should you agent become incapable of following through on their personal commitments. Single practitioners (any agency with only one licensee) puts you in this very precarious situation if anything should ever happen to your listing agent.
Does your firm carry have an Errors and Omissions Insurance Policy that provides coverage for my transaction? A must-have requirement. The only acceptable answer here is: YES. However, it may also be prudent to inquire about any prior history and whether or not they have had any claims against them now pending or in the past.
Are you “Tech-Savvy” and able to use Electronic Signatures – By asking this question you may find that your agent is either up to speed with technology or not. If you personally are not comfortable and they are … you may also want to know if they are comfortable dealing with you on a level that you are more comfortable with as well. Signed hard copies of documents etc. There are many advantages to working in the digital form for both you and the agent but, for your own convenience, you should look for an agent comfortable working with your preferences. You will have faster results and better connections to Buyers and have a full audit trail with tamper-proof virtual seals on signed documents if you go with many of the digital systems available today. Not to mention this may be way more suitable for you than running all around town to provide a signature or two.
Do you have your own website and is it Mobile Friendly – An agent website is a good indicator of the agent’s technical savvy and ability to market your home on-line. Are they linked to their social media accounts and utilizing their presence online to the best advantage for promoting your offering?