Most home sellers take the task of hiring an agent very seriously, and it’s no wonder. Making a quick and profitable sale requires hard work, dedication, and real estate expertise! Finding a professional who brings all of that (and more) to the table means asking the right questions. It all starts with an interview, and a bit of preparation on your part can help ensure that you wind up working with the best.
If you’re thinking of hiring a particular agent, here are seven questions to ask an agent before selling your home…
1) How well do you know my area?
Home buyers are thorough. They’ll ask about everything from nearby schools to commute times and what families in your area are like. Your agent needs to know the answers to these questions. Before hiring someone, ask them how long they’ve been working in your community. You can delve into their favourite parks, cafes, restaurants, and more. If they do the area justice, you can be sure they’ll do the same when buyers come calling. An intimate knowledge of local market trends and nearby sold prices will also make them better equipped at every step of the process—from pricing to negotiations!
2) How will you market my home?
An experienced agent will have a marketing strategy in mind from the beginning—one that goes beyond planting a “For Sale” sign out front. From virtual tours to social media ads to print materials, the professional you decide to work with should use many different tools at their disposal. The tactics they use shouldn’t be chosen at random—instead, they should be based on your goals, circumstances, and the specifics of your home. Put simply, don’t be afraid to ask about strategy and next steps!
3) Can I see sample marketing materials?
While we’re on the subject of marketing, not all materials are created equal. Put yourself in a buyer’s shoes. When you’re perusing online listings, which homes would grab your attention? Would they be the ones with beautiful, professionally-taken photographs, or the ones that contain a few images captured on an iPhone? From listings to print materials and ads, every item used to promote your home should be of the highest quality. To get a sense of what you can expect, ask the agent you’re thinking of working with to see materials they’ve put together in the past.
4) What are the costs involved?
When you walk into a real estate agent’s office, you’re bound to have money on your mind—and we’re not just talking about your home’s sale price. Before you decide to work with a professional, be sure you know all of the costs involved. Here in Ontario, sellers usually pay between 4 and 6 per cent in commission fees. That amount covers the services provided by both their own representative and the buyer’s agent. During the interview process, you should feel comfortable asking about fee structures and how they break down! There will also be an assortment of closing costs associated with your purchase, and your agent can help you understand what they’ll cover.
5) How many homes have you listed in the last year?
An agent can present very well without having sold a whole lot of homes. It’s certainly nice to have the right designations, a professional-looking website, and polished answers for all of the questions you ask. But the proof is in the pudding—and the truth is, you’re better off with a full-time agent with a strong selling track record. We’re talking about someone who has helped sell more a small handful of properties in the last 12 months! Ask for the numbers, and be wary if it’s only a couple of homes.
6) Can you connect me to other professionals?
When your home goes on the market, it should be clean, decluttered, and beautifully staged. Along with home preparations, you’ll require legal expertise throughout the selling process. In other words, there’s a lot that goes into a successful home sale—and there are almost always many professionals involved. The good news is, the right agent will have trusted connections to call on when need be. To make sure you’ll have every advantage when you’re selling, ask the real estate professionals you interview about their networks—and how they can benefit you.
7) Can I speak to past clients?
Interview questions, credentials, past marketing materials…when you’re looking to hire an agent, it’s all part of the puzzle. But there’s one more piece that can help ensure that you hire the best professional for the job, and that’s references. An agent with a great track record should have no problem connecting you with satisfied clients. Ask specifically to speak to sellers. Once you have a couple of names, prepare a few questions about the results that the agent achieved—and what working with them is really like.
Are you ready to sell your home? We have the local market knowledge and experience to help. Contact us to discuss your needs today!