Last week I encouraged potential sellers to take advantage of the hot spring selling market and start making preparations NOW.  The first step on that “to-do” list was to interview and hire a Realtor® who will help prep, market and ensure that you get the best price for you home.  Interviewing and selecting a Realtor® isn’t an easy task… I realize that.  I’ve been interviewed hundreds of times and have learned a few things that I think every potential client should be sure to ask a Realtor®.  Feel free to print this out, tuck it in your pocket and use it as your Realtor® cheat-sheet as you ask questions to find the perfect agent for you and your home!

1. How long have you been selling homes and is it your full-time profession?

While experience is no guarantee of skill and professionalism, the truth is that this business of buying and selling property is mostly learned on the job.

2. What designations do you hold?

Designations such as GRI and CRS®, which require agents to take additional and specialized real estate training, are held by only about one quarter of real estate practitioners.

3. How many homes did you and your brokerage firm sell last year?

Once, again… this question (and answer!) is all about experience.

4. How many days did it take you to sell the average home and how does that figure compare to the overall market in my area?

A real estate professional that is experienced should have these facts on hand and be able to present market statistics from the local MLS to provide a comparison.

5. How close to the asking price of the homes you sold were the final sale prices?

This answer will tell you a great deal about how skilled he or she is at pricing homes and marketing to potential buyers.  Do realize, though, that other factors can influence this answer, including an especially hot or cold market.

6. What types of specific marketing will you use to help sell my home?

Look for a Realtor® who employs innovative and aggressive approaches and knows how to market your property competitively on the internet.  Today’s buyers want information fast, so it is crucial that your Realtor will be responsive to their (and your!) questions and schedules.

7. Can you recommend service providers, like home maintenance crews, lawn care professionals, stagers and repairmen?

An experienced Realtor® should have a ready list of references and will be able to provide more than one option for any need you might have.  Be sure to ask if they have any special relationship with or receive compensation from home service providers.

8. What type of support staff do you employ?

Having an in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, and technology assistance can be a huge help to your Realtor and subsequently to you as you sell your home.

9. What’s your business philosophy?

There’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer for this question and after asking the previous nine, you should have a good feel for whether or not your potential agent’s goals and business approaches match your own.  Their response to this question will help you determine what is important to them.  Make sure it is also important to you.

10. How will you keep me informed about the status of my transaction?

Do you expect daily or weekly updates or do you prefer not to be bothered unless there is a hot prospect?  Do you prefer to be contacted via e-mail, text message, phone or with in-person visits.  Make sure you are clear with your expectations about information exchange.

11. Could you please provide names and numbers of three recent clients?

Remember, you are hiring this person to work for you and the job they are being asked to perform most likely involves your largest and most precious financial investment.  It’s totally within your rights to expect references… in this case, clients with whom this Realtor® has recently worked. 

Don’t be daunted by the interviewing process, but recognize it as a very important first step in achieving your ultimate goal: the successful sale of your home and property.