How do you know which Real Estate Agent to hire?
You won’t until you begin interviewing and most sellers interview more than one real estate broker before choosing.
One of the first things we tell our clients is we’re going to come to a mutual decision as to whether we’ll be able to work together to achieve your goals. It’s important for clients to understand that the Real Estate Agent will likely be interviewing the seller as well.
So, without further ado…
1. Are you full time or part time?
70% of real estate agents handle 1 or fewer transactions per year. The average agent does about 6 transactions. Choose a full time agent who can give you their full attention and who will be available when you need them, not at their “other” job.
2. What makes you different from other agents?
Real Estate Agents come in many different shapes, sizes, personality types, skill sets, and work ethics. Look for an agent that fits with you.
When interviewing there are certain things to look for. One of the first things I would look for in a Real Estate Agent is someone who isn’t afraid to tell me ‘no.’ You don’t want a salesperson, you want someone who is going to hold your hand and help you get the most money possible in the shortest time and take care of all the details.
Many agents are focused on the number of homes they’ve sold and that is not a statistic that helps you.
3. How many clients have you helped?
Asking this question helps to demonstrate what type of experience the Real Estate Agent has. It’s a much better indicator of experience than asking ‘how many years have you been in the business?’ You’ll want to look for an individual agent who handles 25-40 transactions per year or a team that does more than 50 if you want the best balance of experience and availability. Don’t choose an agent who sells 1 home per year regardless of how many “years” of experience they might have.
4. Who’s on your real estate team?
You will want an agent who has a proven team of professionals to recommend to you. The reason we recommend certain professionals is because we feel they will best represent your interests. Certain people have great chemistry when working together.
Team is a great word to describe your relationship with your Agent, your attorney, your mortgage lender, and everyone involved in the transaction. Who does your Real Estate Agent work with and why? Is it because they are the best in the business or because they get kickbacks?
5. What if I’m not happy with the service?
Some agents or brokerages have up front or cancellation fees. There’s no reason to pay for real estate services until the job is done, at closing. Your Real Estate Agent should allow you the opportunity to leave the agreement without any conditions. It’s not good for anyone to be locked into an unproductive relationship. Look for an agent who won’t lock you in with fees.
6. How will you get more money?
Past performance doesn’t guarantee future results but it will help you compare how effective agents have been. The average agent in the Chicago area achieves a Sale Price to List Price ratio of around 97% and takes about 76 days on market. This means if you list your home for $200,000 you can expect to get $194,000 on average and you’ll be closing in about 4-5 months from the list date. You’ll want to know how to get more money, including a full marketing plan that includes professional photography, online marketing and social media marketing. Any agent not excelling in these areas are behind the times.
Avoid agents who will only place a sign in the yard, put the home on the MLS and pray someone else will sell it.
7. What support and technology does the Brokerage provide?
When you hire an agent, you’re actually signing an agreement with their brokerage. Choose a well known national or local brand that provides your agent with tools and support.
8. How many sellers are you currently representing?
Focus is also a concern for agents who are juggling several listings. You don’t want to get lost in the shuffle. Most agents can handle about 10 on their own before it starts to get challenging.
9. What’s your commission?
While this is important, don’t get too focused on this conversation. You want the agent who can provide the best experience with the best outcome. If you’re like most people, this means getting the most money at closing. Don’t be afraid to pay a top agent 5-6% as they are usually worth it. Avoid agents who discount commissions as you’ll usually get discounted service to go with it. This is one of the only areas where an agent can look out for their own interests and beware an agent who gives away commissions to entice you to list with them. Who’s money are they going to be negotiating for next? Yours! You’re hiring them to negotiate for your money.
10. How much money will I get at closing?
This is the top concern for almost every seller. You’ll want an agent who understands and can create a net sheet, estimating all the possible expenses that you’ll incur in selling your home. You’ll want a conservative estimate so you’ll be likely to have more money at closing or can absorb unexpected expenses. Beware an agent who doesn’t have a good handle on costs or is promising too much.
Too many people cost themselves a lot of money by only focusing on real estate commissions at the sole way to choose an agent. Consider it along with the other questions on this list and you’ll be able to make the best decision for the sale of your home.