TOP 10: Questions To Ask When Interviewing A Realtor To Sell Your Home
Working with a professional real estate agent that is well versed on the ins and outs of your area can make selling a home easier. After all, they will know how to best negotiate in the current market, how to price your home properly, and how to access any other resources (say, a handyman or special contractor) that you may need.
While there may be some agents you hit it off with personally, this isn’t a friendship you’re pursuing but an important business relationship. It’s a collaboration that could impact both your finances as well as your stress level. It is imperative to have the right professional in your corner, so partner with someone you vibe with and can get along with, but also someone that can get the job done and who you will trust to advise you.
If you’re on the hunt for a listing agent to sell your Cincinnati home, it’s important to know what to ask so you can identify who that right realtor might be. Read on to learn more about what questions to ask, and why, when you are interviewing agents .
This is a lengthy list of interview questions for real estate, so pick and choose the questions that resonate the most with your situation and needs.
How to Interview a Realtor When Selling
First, know that there are different options for interviewing Realtors. You could schedule an interview:
• Over the phone
• In person
• Virtually via Zoom or Skype.
You might aim to interview at least three local Cincinnati realtors for comparison’s sake, though you may choose to interview more or fewer.
I recommend starting with a phone call or e-mail to get the process started. Let the agent know you are interested in selling your home and are in the initial stages of the process, starting with finding a realtor to work with. From there work towards scheduling an in person meeting that will take place at the property where you will discuss their qualifications as well as your selling goals in more detail.
I've created a list of interview questions for you to use when you meet in person to help you stay on track and use as talking points. It may help to group your questions together so that by the time the interview is over, you understand:
• What the agent’s personality and character are like: Is this person supportive and positive? Do they sound rushed and distracted?
• What kind of services they offer and what experience they bring to the table. How long have they been a full-time Realtor?
Interview Questions to Ask a Realtor When You Are Selling
1. How many buyers and sellers are you working with currently?
The answer can give you an idea of how much time an agent will be able to dedicate to working with you.
2. Are you a part-time or full-time agent?
In today's real estate market an agent needs to be all in or not in at all. The challenges a realtor works through on a day to day basis, along with the experience of time spent on navigating and closing deals is what truly sets the full time real estate pro apart from someone who works as one on the side for extra cash. That experience can make all the difference in the world to you as the client!
3. Are you an individual agent or part of a team?
You may not be working with just your Realtor alone throughout the transaction. Agents may have a team of individuals they work with, including office managers, personal assistants, or marketing directors, all of whom may reach out to you during the process.
4. Will you be my main point of contact throughout the process?
Asking who else you may be connected with and what role they play can help you avoid surprises if you decide to enter into a working relationship with a particular agent.
5. How will we communicate and how often?
Being able to communicate with the agent you select is vital to keep the process moving.
As with many realms in our digital era, plenty of Realtors email and text to keep in touch with clients. If you’re the kind of person who prefers phone calls or in-person meetings, it’s good to identify communication styles up front and make sure they are in sync with your preference.
6. Do you have a network of other professionals that you can recommend?
Your agent should be able to connect you with professionals who fit your budget and are trustworthy. You may need a cleaner, handyman, plumber, electrician, painter, landscaper, etc. to help with getting the property ready. The best agents always have the best go-to contractors that will prioritize their clients.
7. How many homes have you sold in the last 12months? #buyer? #listing?
Past performance can be an indicator of future success. Obviously, you want an experienced real estate professional who handles a lot of transactions -- but you also don't want an agent who is so busy that your home is likely to get lost in the shuffle. They should be able to provide you with a list of properties they have sold in the past, and you can compare their numbers to other agents. It's important to make sure the agent you hire has experience selling properties in a similar price range and area to yours.
The number of sales that a real estate agent has completed recently and overall is important to you. You want to know how many listings they have sold and how many were buyer side sales out of that total number. It is very common for agents to represent buyers and sellers both. An agent who only works with buyers or has a considerable amount more buyer sales than listing sales probably won't have all the tools and resources needed to market a home today. An agent who is balanced in buyer and seller side transactions will be in tune with the market. This can also give you a leg up on competition. This agent will know what current buyers are looking for in a home, what's trending, what concerns and pain points buyers have in today's market, what expectations they have...all things that will help give you a competitive edge while preparing your home and navigating the sale process.
8. How will you help me prepare my home to sell?
The best realtors will walk you through how to prepare your home for sale so you can get the most value from the effort you put in. They will work with you to come up with a plan of what needs to be done, can be done, and could be done. Those realtors will give you action items that could boost your home value and save you from putting money into things that won't. They will provide contractor recommendations and help facilitate a timeline to get the work done and home on the market. Keep in mind this is part of their service and not necessarily something that will all happen in the initial in person interview, but they should touch on this and possibly give you a few pointers upfront.
9. How do you plan to market my home?
Every agent markets a property differently. A top real estate agent will have a clear, concise, and proven strategy far beyond placing your home on the MLS (multiple listing service) and putting a sign in your yard. You should hear words like Google, Instagram, Facebook, and other major websites and social platforms. MLS alone just doesn't cut it anymore.
10. What do you think will be our biggest challenge?
You ask this question to check the agent’s expertise. Every house, market, buyer, and seller come with unique challenges. A top notch realtor anticipates challenges and addresses them before they become problems. The best answers are honest and humble. You want someone who is direct and honest about what your challenges are so you can tackle them together and get ahead of something before it becomes an issue with a future buyer.
11. What makes you different from other listing agents? Why should I hire you?
Use this question to learn what sets your Realtor apart and why they want to work with you specifically. Do they have a unique value proposition? Extra included services? Diverse marketing plan? Some of their answers to the other questions on this list will give you insight on this questions as well.
12. What is the most important quality you possess that makes you good at your job?
Ultimately, the way they answer this question, regardless of what they say their most important quality is, should demonstrate for you that they are an honest and transparent agent, communicates well with you and makes you feel seen and taken care of.
13. What is your list to sale price ratio?
A list price is what you set out to sell your home for. A sale price is what it actually sells for. In a hot seller’s market, there might be bidding wars and over-market offers for homeowners. In a buyer’s market, you might receive lowball offers. Use this question to understand what kind of offers your Realtor accepts and see if it makes sense with the current market.
14. What is your average days on market for listings?
First, research the average time to sell in your area. Then ask your Realtor about the average time their clients’ homes took to sell. This gives you an idea of your Realtor’s success rate.
15. Can I cancel our contract if I am not happy?
One of the most important final questions to ask a real estate agent is about the listing agreement. A professional agent should walk you through their standard contract and answer any questions you have. You shouldn’t feel pressure to sign, and they should give you time to take the contract home and review it further. Listing agreements have an expiration, and the length of the contract depends on the state of your real estate market. While you may not expect to cancel before your contract expires, it’s important to know what you’re agreeing to, in case the unexpected happens.
There are two common reasons why sellers terminate their contract early.
A. You’re not satisfied with your agent: You may be able to terminate your contract if the agent hasn’t been delivering on the services they agreed to provide, but it can be difficult to prove. Make sure there is specific language in your contract that outlines exactly what the agent is responsible for. Also include language stating that if your agent doesn’t complete those tasks, you can cancel with no commission owed and find a new agent that better fits your needs.
B. You have a change of heart: If you decide it’s not the right time to sell, most reputable agents will allow you to cancel early with no fee as a courtesy. However, if your agent has already paid for a lot of marketing costs or found you a buyer and then you tried to cancel, you may be on the hook for reimbursement or a partial or full commission.
16. How did you arrive at the suggested list price?
Determining the listing price for your home is one of the most important steps in the selling process. A good realtor will be able to analyze local market trends, comparable home sales in your area, and the condition of your home to come up with a realistic and competitive listing price.
17. How much are realtor commissions?
Real estate agents work off of commission, so they get a percentage of the sale of the home. Think about this when choosing your listing price, agents typically cost between 6-7% of the final sale price. Selling a home takes a lot of work from a listing agent. Be sure you and your listing agent are on the same page with cost and expectations before you decide to work with them.
One thing to keep in mind when hiring a real estate agent is that you get what you pay for. An agent that is quick to reduce their commission fee, referred to as discount agents, often cut their services when working on a real estate transaction to make up for this. Make sure to ask the realtor what services are included in that rate. For example, some realtors may offer professional photography or home staging services as part of their commission, while others may not.
If you are willing to pay a little more or pay what is considered to be a standard rate for your area you may also see a selling price that is higher than you anticipated, better offer terms, elevated marketing, plus avoid complications during a transaction or overcome them if they are unavoidable- all because you hired the right agent for the job.
18. Are there any other company fees on top of this?
Commission rates can vary between realtors, and it's important to understand what you'll be paying for. Some companies will charge a fee on top of the commission rate as well. Make sure you ask! These fees can range from $300-$500, maybe more depending on what city you are in.
Ok, so it's a bit more than 10 questions, but I just couldn't leave any of them off the list!
Now you’re ready!
Remember, not all agents are equal. Skill, experience, and results matter when choosing a real estate agent. It is recommended that you interview at least two or three top agents in your area before you hire one. Remember, the goal is to get all the information you need to make a smart hiring decision.
After the interview, ask yourself if the agent is right for you. Here is a list of questions your might mull over:
Do you feel comfortable with the agent’s personality?
How do you feel about how they conduct their business?
Was the agent prepared? Clear? Direct?
Selling your home can feel really overwhelming and the to do lists, never ending! With the right professional by your side, it doesn’t have to be. Want to learn what else you should do if you are considering selling a home in Cincinnati? I put this guide together with YOU in mind to help you prioritize what to focus on!
I help homeowners set themselves up for a successful home sale by educating them on how to prepare their home for the market, including these 10 “must do” items! No matter when you decide to put your house up for sale, working with a full-time Cincinnati Realtor will help the process go a lot smoother, and help you get your home sold faster and for more money! I would love to set up a time to connect, don't hesitate to reach out!
About The Author:
The above article “TOP 10: Questions To Ask When Interviewing A Realtor To Sell Your Home?” was provided by Kelly Gibbs. Kelly can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 513-290-6216.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home or an investment property in the Cincinnati area I would love to share my marketing knowledge and expertise to help you! Contact me today!
I service the following Greater Cincinnati, OH areas: Amberly, Anderson Township, City of Cincinnati, Clifton, Columbia Tusculum, Blue Ash, Deer Park, Hyde Park, Indian Hill, Kennedy Heights, Kenwood, Loveland, Madeira, Madisonville, Mariemont, Mason, Milford, Montgomery, Mt. Lookout, Mt. Washington, Newtown, North Avondale, Northside, Norwood, Oakley, Pleasant Ridge, Silverton, Sycamore Township, Symmes Township, and Walnut Hills.