Selecting a Listing Agent
You're about to select a real estate agent ... someone who will represent your interests as you sell your home, and perhaps as you select a new one. We encourage you to interview several likely prospects, asking them a number of the same questions. Their answers will provide you with insights that will help in your ultimate choice.
If I list my house with an agent, can she/he represent me in the purchase of my next home?
Most likely, yes. You'll want your agent to fully explain the concept of agency and how it works in your state. An individual working as a seller's (listing) agent in one transaction can usually become that client's buyer's agent for the next home purchase. Be sure to ask what limitations, if any, your representation will have.
What happens when my listing agent is not available?
What communication systems does your agent have available? Who "covers" for him/her when it's vacation time? You'll want to know the "what ifs" before they occur.
When did you last sell your own residence? What did you like and dislike about that experience?
Experience is a great teacher. Selling a home is an emotional experience, and empathy is a powerful emotion. Does your agent understand first-hand what it's like to sell a home? Which hassles could have been averted?
What advice would you give me to prepare my home for sale?
Some agents will suggest that you neutralize your décor while others may feel that they know just the right buyer for your intense color scheme. Should you tear out old carpeting? What about major repairs?
What would you tell a buyer considering my home?
Real estate agents should be skilled in discerning the positive features and benefits of any home. Is yours especially appealing because of its décor? Or is it "priced to sell?" Be sure that you're comfortable with how its marketing will be positioned.
What's your personal philosophy of what really sells a home? Is it advertising, Internet exposure or promotion to other real estate agents?
Your listing agent will build a marketing plan based on his/her answer to this question. Be certain that you understand and agree with the perspective expressed.
How do you, or your company, protect me from the general public (safety, convenience, eliminating unnecessary showings)?
Do you feel comfortable having your address projected to the maximum number of potential buyers, or do you want each prospect carefully screened before they're told anything about your home? Do you have an unusual or luxurious home that might attract curious, but not necessarily qualified, prospects? You'll want to be in agreement with your listing agent on how these things are to be handled.
What sold the last three properties you had listed?
The answers to this question may differ considerably, depending on agency in your state, your area's market customs, and your listing agent's specific marketing plans. Agents should be able to articulate what factors prompted their listings' sales.
What advice would you give a buyer considering my home?
Real estate agents are paid to give objective, professional advice. Will your agent be focused on commanding top dollar for your home, or eliciting offers as quickly as possible? You'll want to understand how your home is being "framed" for buyers and their selling agents.
What distinguishes your real estate company from its competitors?
Is a company large because it re-invests in innovation? Or has it remained a "boutique," believing that its personalized services attract clients? Each organization should have a business philosophy that's clearly understood by its agents.
What distinguishes your personal service from other real estate agents?
A recent study showed that unreturned phone calls from their agent was the No. 1 complaint among home buyers and sellers. Listen to how prospective agents describe their communication skills.
After each interview, ask yourself:
• Did you feel that the agent is trustworthy and honest?
• Did he/she seem realistic when talking about your home or your anticipated home purchase?
• Did you communicate well with the agent? Were you "on the same page?"
• Would you describe him/her as committed, motivated, and experienced?
• In a business about people, RE/MAX Allegiance will help streamline and simplify your decision.