5 Questions for Your Listing Agent

by staff on November 10, 2010

You already know that it’s important to hire a person who will put their skills, their heart and their efforts into selling your property at the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time.  However, often sellers are not sure exactly which questions to ask in order to make that decision of whom to choose for their seller’s agent.  Sometimes sellers have to choose from several Realtors who are all, in fact, good friends of the seller.  How to choose?  We’ve pushed the boundaries of the “5 Questions” framework a bit, in order to give you many questions that may help guide you as you interview potential listing agents.  Though we’re glad to explain to you about how our own particular firm focuses on utilizing technology for your success…. some of the questions below may help you to see the scope of what that means…  using residential properties as our example.

1.  HOW DO YOU PLAN TO MARKET MY PROPERTY SPECIFICALLY?

Are you familiar with my neighborhood and with similar properties?  Do you buy print ads in newspapers/magazines and if so, what is your conversion rate from those ads?   Do you conduct Open Houses and if so, do you conduct them personally or do you have other agents host them for you?  After you put my home on the MLS website, what other online marketing will you do?  How many websites do you personally operate and how many does your brokerage operate?  How often do you report to me the results of this marketing?  Do you share your weekly online summaries from website activity with me? 

2. HOW WOULD YOU HANDLE IT IF ONE OF YOUR OWN CLIENTS WAS A PROSPECTIVE BUYER OF MY HOME WHILE YOU ARE THE LISTING AGENT?

Will you continue to represent only my interests or will you ask me to share your advocacy with the buyer as well?  Will you try to convince me to adjust my price/terms to accommodate your pre-existing buyer?  How many times do you work in “dual agency”?  Have you ever been involved in a lawsuit?

3.  HOW WILL YOU ASSIST ME IN DETERMINING THE CORRECT PRICE OF MY HOME?

How frequently do you prepare fresh market comps to keep me abreast of changing market conditions?  How many days on average is a listing of yours on the market before it has a contract?  What is your average percentage of asking price vs selling price?  Will you take me to other active listings prior to selecting our asking price?

4.  WHAT OTHER SERVICES DO YOU UTILIZE FOR ATTRACTING BUYERS?

Do you hire professional photographers?  Do you offer any “value added” services like offering a 1-year home warranty for the buyer?  Do you use a professional “staging” service to prepare my home for the market and if so, do you pay for that or do I?  What are my home’s biggest deficiencies for overall marketability?   Will you be available to accompany potential buyer’s agents and their clients for tours of my home?  Once I get an offer, will you reveal the existence of that offer to other agents if they ask?  Are you present at my closing, and if so, what is your role?

5.  WHAT IS YOUR PLAN FOR ONGOING ADJUSTMENTS DURING THE TIME MY PROPERTY IS ON THE MARKET?

Do you discuss any of my personal needs or requirements with other agents either in your office or otherwise?  How many listings do you have at this time?  Do you have an assistant who handles your paperwork and scheduling?  What is your plan if my home generates no interest or no showings in the first few weeks?  Does your brokerage have any kind of in-house promotion of its own listings?  What percentage of your overall business activity is generally conducted with properties in my price range?  Will you show me all of your marketing for my property beforehand?  How will you update my listing frequently to keep it fresh?

Once you’ve learned the way various Realtors answer the questions above, it’s a good bet you’ll have a clear idea of what to expect as your property goes on the market.  Yes, it’s important to feel comfortable with the person to whom you’re entrusting the sale of your home…. but it’s equally important that you are prepared for the process and that you understand the reasons for your choice.

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