1. Can you provide me with references?
Ask for at least two references from satisfied customers who have sold homes in a similar price range in your area.
2. What are your professional qualifications?
Look for someone who works as a full-time REALTOR® and is a licensed real estate agent. REALTORS® are real estate professionals who belong to the National Association of REALTORS®. They subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are committed to ongoing education in the real estate industry.
3. Are repeat or referral clients a large part of your business?
A list of satisfied customers is a sign of success.
4. What’s the average length of time the homes you’ve listed have been on the market?
If it takes too long to sell, a house may be overpriced. A reasonable time frame is 90 to 120 days. Beware of agents who might deliberately give high listing prices just to sign new clients.
5. What’s the average difference between the asking and the selling price of the homes you list?
If the prices are close, the agent did a good job of setting the listing price.
6. How many properties have you listed over the past six months?
Look for a REALTOR® who typically lists one or two homes a month.
7. How many of these homes have sold?
It’s a good idea to choose a REALTOR® that sells all or most of the homes he or she lists.
8. In what areas of my city do you normally work?
If you are interested in a particular area, look for someone who knows it well. Such REALTORs® will have expertise in finding just what you want — they will also have good contacts with other REALTORs® and will be familiar with prices in your region.
9. How much will this cost?
REALTORs® are paid by commission, often 4 to 6 percent of the selling price by the seller.
10. How will you arrive at a listing price?
The REALTOR® will recommend a listing price based on an up-to-date market analysis of your area. This will focus on recently sold homes that are similar in size, style and features to yours. The accuracy of the listing price is important because you can discourage those potential buyers who have higher or lower budgets from seeing it. It’s also a good idea to specify in the listing agreement that offers will only be accepted from buyers who have been pre-approved for a loan.
11. How often will I hear from you?
A daily telephone call, fax or e-mail is not unreasonable. Your REALTOR® should let you know about every showing of your home and give you feedback from potential buyers or their agents.
12. What are your sales tactics?
There are many strategies for attracting buyers both from your area and from far away. Your REALTOR® should write up a listing of your home with a picture, to put on the Multiple Listing Service. The Internet has become very important in marketing real estate. As well, he or she will hold an open house for REALTORs®, the public, plus by-appointment for prospective buyers. A detailed property fact sheet with specific information about your home and any improvements should also be available.
13. What will the listing agreement cover?
Most contracts name the beginning and end dates, and these should be negotiable. Giving a REALTOR® three to six months to sell your home is reasonable. REALTORs® cannot guarantee they will sell your house within a given period of time because the real estate market is often affected by factors outside his or her control.
14. What can I do to boost my selling price?
Your REALTOR® should offer advice on what you can do to make your home more attractive to potential buyers. For example, this could mean painting your bright red foyer a more subdued neutral shade, making some minor repairs or clearing out your clutter. Fresh flowers in the living room are also a nice touch,.