So you recently decided to sell your house. Now, the next question is: should you hire a real estate agent or not? If you answered yes to that question, then finding one that matches your needs and requirements should be the next on your list.
With the onslaught of real estate professionals here in Richmond and Vancouver, it's not easy to decide which one to work with. You can start your search by asking for referrals from your family, friends and even neighbours. Once you've got a shortlist of realtors and you're all set to meet with them, here’s a list of great questions to ask your potential real estate agent.
Can I contact your references?
Anybody, even real estate agents, will always focus on the positive whenever they are doing an interview or meeting a client for the first time. If you’re ready to move forward with a certain candidate, look into them further and ask to contact their references. Talk to their references and ask: Did they enjoy working with him/her? Was he/she easy to communicate with? Did he/she keep them updated regarding the status of their listing? This will give you a better idea of whether you want to hire this agent or move on to the next. Tip: Always ask the reference how they are related to the agent. Keep in mind that families and friends may often give a biased feedback regarding the agent’s qualities and traits. Thus, you have to be aware.
What sets you apart from competition?
You want to hire a real estate agent that can sell themselves. Besides, how can an agent who doesn't know how to sell themselves, sell your house for you? It just makes sense that a great real estate agent anticipates these kinds of questions and knows how to answer them. Our tip? Look for an agent that has the following traits:
Approachable yet professional
Assertive, has initiative
Conversationalist, possesses great communication skills
Always available by phone or e-mail
Honest and trustworthy
How many clients do you have right now?
There are always pros and cons to having an agent that is attending to multiple clients. Real Estate professionals who have a lot of clients may not always have the time to speak with you as they are busy juggling different tasks for different clients. This might become a source of frustration as an overly busy agent, could be harder to reach and less available to cater to your needs. However, an agent that works with a significant number of clients indicated that this agent is in-demand and trustworthy. This is also an indication that he/she is quite efficient.
On the other hand, an agent who has a really low number of clients under his/her belt could be a sign that he/she doesn't have that much experience or is not recommended well by previous clients. This may also be because this is only a side job for him/her.
How will you market my home should I list with you?
What's the difference between you and a real estate agent selling your home? A more well-thought of marketing plan. The main reason why you want to sell your house through an agent is because you don't want to go through all the hassle of marketing it to potential buyers. Thus, your prospective agent should give you an idea of how they plan to market your house. An experienced agent will give you a detailed account of his/her marketing plan including posting your house on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
How do you charge your realtor fees? How much do you charge?
Discussing money can be an awkward first meeting topic but it's necessary for you to know how your prospective agent plans to charge you for his/her services on Day One. Tip: real estate fees are always negotiable. Typically, agents charge a percentage but this may change depending on various factors like your property’s assessed value, the current real estate market and the amount of work that needs to be done to market your house.
How long have you been in the real estate industry? What sort of experience do you have?
With years of being in the business comes experience. An agent who has been in the real estate agent for decades would have a long list of clients that has continued to trust them. However, new agents don't necessarily mean they can't do the job. In fact, a new agent might even give you better attention than someone who's dealing with loads of clients. This all boils down to preference and how you match up with their personality.
What do you think about my home? How will it fare in the current real estate market?
A great real estate agent, and someone you can trust, will tell you straight up how your property will do in the current real estate market. Asking this question will also give you an idea of whether this agent is experienced enough to point out legitimate concerns about your property. Otherwise, an agent who is not honest enough to tell you any obvious flaws may only be interested in getting you to sign a contract and not exactly selling your house with your best interest at heart.
Will I be working with you directly?
This can be a crucial aspect, especially for agents who are dealing with multiple clients right now. You have to make sure that they will personally handle your affairs and not hand you off to another associate or assistant once you’ve signed the contract.
May I review documents that I will have to sign should I list my home with you?
An experienced and efficient real estate agent has all their forms at the ready. Any form or contract signed is legally binding, thus, it's important to make sure you review them (ahead of them if possible) before signing them.
Should I change my mind, how do you go about cancellations?
What if you signed a contract with an agent and you're not exactly happy with his/her services? How do you think this agent will handle a cancellation? Knowing how your prospective agent will handle cancellations will give you an idea of his/her company's cancellation policy. Tip: Observe their demeanor when you bring up this topic. An experienced and confident agent will not be fazed while answering this question and remain composed. While a suddenly nervous or agitated agent might not be a good sign.