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8 Questions To Ask Your Real Estate Agent Before You List Your Home

business photoSelling a home is likely to be one of the largest financial transactions that most people will ever take part in. As such, most people (almost 90% as of 2014) choose to hire a real estate professional to work with. And with good reason. Recent statistics show that realtor represented properties sell for almost 27% more than for-sale-by-owner properties and in 21% less time. But that doesn’t mean that all real estate professionals are created equal.

It’s possible that you already have an acquaintance who is a realtor, or you can get referrals from friends and relatives. But it’s critical that the person handling such a good portion of your overall financial health knows what they’re talking about, and the best way to find that out is to treat your first meeting like an interview. The best agent for you will be someone you get along with, who communicates well, knows your market, acts in an ethical manner, answers your questions and, most importantly, is your partner throughout the process. With that in mind, here are some good questions to ask:

1) How long have you and your brokerage been in business in the area?

Typically, an experienced agent will have better insights into the market and a more established marketing plan. However, most real estate agents work through a brokerage, which may provide them with experienced mentors and support staff, as well as a successful marketing plan. At the same time newer agents will likely have more time to focus on you, and some 20 year agents just repeat their first year mistakes over and over. Either way, their answer can help you gauge how competent they are to help sell your home.

2) How many homes did you and your brokerage sell in the last year?

Even more than how many years they’ve been in business, this question helps you gauge how much experience this perspective agent has and how much experience they can draw on at their brokerage. If a lot of people in your area have trusted the same people, it’s a good indication that you can trust them too.

3) What is your average list-price-to-sales-price ratio?

chart photoFirst, realize that the list-price-to-sales-price ratio depends on the area. In on-fire housing areas, this ratio may be above 100%, however in our area of Ohio, you’re looking for a listing agents that can keep that ratio as close to 100% as possible. Bonus points should go to an agent that can compare their list-price-to-sales-price ratio to the average in the area. This shows that not only do they keep an eye on their own performance, but they’re competing to be the best.

4) How long does your average property stay on the market?

You should also ask how that compares to the overall market. An agent that’s good at setting the right price and good at marketing your home will, at the very least, have these numbers on hand, if not burned into their brain. Of course, every agent has that stubborn uncle that asks them to list a property at well above market price and just leaves it there, so listen to their whole answer.

5) What is your marketing plan for my home?

plan photoAn experienced agent or brokerage should have a standard marketing plan they use in most cases. There should also be some variation depending on the specific needs of your property. Be wary of any agent who can’t answer this question with specifics, or who fails to make mention of multiple forms of online marketing, since 92% of home buyers use the internet in some way during the home buying process.

6) Can you provide references?

A successful agent should have a whole stable full of people ready to gush about them. It’s important to note, however, that if you already know the agent’s reputation, or if they have multiple online reviews, you may not need to actually ask them directly for these references.

7) How will you help me find the other professionals I’ll need?

During the home selling process, you might need the help of several other professionals, such as inspectors, title companies, escrow companies, repair men and appraisers. An experienced agent should have positive working relationships with multiple people in each profession and should be able to guide you to the right person for your particular needs.

8) What haven’t I asked you that I need to know?

Pay close attention to how the real estate agent answers this question because there’s almost certainly something else you need to know. You want an agent that’s ready to take the time to help you feel comfortable with the process, rather than one that’s eager to get you out the door for their next appointment. This also gives a chance for the agent to show off their personal knowledge of your market and your situation. You want to make sure that, by the time they’re done, you’re satisfied that this agent knows how to listen to you, knows how to counsel you and is the right partner to help you sell your home.

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1110 Tuscarawas Avenue NW

New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663

Phone: (330) 364-6648

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