10 Questions for Listing Agents

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Choosing a Real Estate Professional to help you sell your home is an important decision. Your home is most likely your most precious financial asset and you and your family deserve the very best representation. So how can you be sure you are going to get it? To help you answer this question, I've listed 10 Questions you can ask prospective listing agents. The answers to these questions should tell you how professional the agent is compared to others in the business.

  1. Are you a full-time Real Estate Professional?
    Real Estate is a full-time job. Part-timers cannot be competitive.
  2. In what ways do you market homes to prospective Home Buyers?
    Listen for specifics - What systems does the agent have in place - look at their written marketing plan - how does it work? This is probably the most important question you can ask. Real Estate is a marketing driven business and those agents that know how to market their clients homes are the most successful.
  3. Do you base the marketing price of my home on actual Sold prices rather than current List prices to establish a realistic selling price?
    You can list your home at any price, but your home is worth only as much as a Home Buyer is willing to pay. Look at it from the Home Buyers viewpoint... would you purchase a home for an amount over the appraised value?
  4. Do you have professional brochures done on my home and do you send them to other real estate agents in the area, for their review?
    Advertisements don't sell homes - People do! Your agent should keep your home in the hands of agents at all times.
  5. What percent of the market does your company and office hold in my neighborhood?
    Any broker can claim to be the largest based on different statistics. You want to see facts from the Multiple Listing Service as to who is selling and holding the market in your specific city and neighborhood.
  6. Will you reduce your commission rate?
    Be careful here! If an agent is willing to reduce their commission and work for less, they may also be willing to reduce services and reduce their commitment to negotiate - giving away thousands of your dollars just to make the sale. The old adage applies here: You get what you pay for.
  7. What systems do you have in place that will keep you in contact with me during the listing and closing?
    Of the many issues Home Sellers say are important, this is in the top 5. Find out how many different ways the agent can communicate (i.e., email, regular mail, telephone, etc.), how often you will receive a status.
  8. Are you personally motivated to sell my house?
    Most agents are independent contractors and run their own business. That means that they are paid on 100% commission. So money of course is a motivator. But the financial side of this business is short term. Successful agents will look to you as a long term source of continued business – referrals. But they have to make you successful before you will make them successful.
  9. Why should I list with you rather than any other agent who is calling?
    Listen to their answer carefully. Since all agents are "selling" the same commodity, what makes this agent different? What will enable this agent to market your home and deliver service to you that is better than any other agent?
  10. Can I cancel the listing if I'm not happy?
    If the answer is not an immediate "Absolutely", be careful. Successful agents are not scared of this because it never happens to them. If an agent is reluctant to say yes, their motivation to list your home may not be to sell it but rather to use it to generate Home Buyer leads. If the listing goes away, so do their leads.