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Know What Questions to Ask
Interviewing Realtors to help you sell your home can be incredibly frustrating. My inlaws sold their home in Brentwood, near Antioch, to move here and be closer to us when my son was born. I helped them interview 3 agents. It was then that I knew what I had only heard from my clients.
What a pain in the butt that was. Sifting through the BS was incredible and I was one of them! Invariably, it always seems to boil down to who you feel the most comfortable with or who has the best communication skills or who seems to have the most effective marketing strategy.
Often, it’s a gut feeling that most people go with. Whoever they feel like they can get along with, that’s who they hire.
That said, here are a few questions that will help you get to know, if you don’t already know, the Realtors you’re hiring to represent you:
1. How Well Do You Know My Area/Neighborhood?
Local area knowledge goes along way to helping you get your home sold. When it comes to pricing, ask each and every agent for a comparable market analysis. This will give you an idea about how well they know your market. Don’t let them tell you what price they think your home should sell for, have each one substantiate their thoughts on pricing with documentation. This will give you an idea about organizational skills and market knowledge.
HOT TIP: Some agents will ask you what you think your home should sell for. The best answer to this question is “I don’t know, you’re the expert, what do you think?” Don’t ever answer that question any other way no matter how hard they press. This is the best way to get an objective opinion from each agent and with regard to pricing, that’s what you want.
(That said, don’t hire your agent based on the price they tell you they think you’re home should sell for. Huge mistake.)
2. How Long Have You Been Working Full Time Selling Real Estate?
This is a great question because part time agents generally don’t do a very good job. They can be unavailable at times when you need them and their not generally as knowledgeable as they need to be especially now. There exceptions to every rule however.
3. Are You Related To Me?
Please don’t hire a relative. In times like these, you need all the friends and family you can get! If something goes wrong it could hang over your relationship and that wouldn’t be good. Keep family and selling your home separate. You’ll be far better off not hiring family, having them be upset with you for a short time rather than hiring them, having the decision cost you a couple thousands dollars and ruining your relationship. It just isn’t worth it.
4. How Will You Market My Home ONLINE? What Percentage of Your Business Comes from Your Online Efforts?
Any marketing plan that excludes the internet isn’t effective. According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, upwards of 90% of all home buyers begin their searches online. Putting your home on the MLS and hoping that it will be found on Realtor.com is NOT an effective strategy. It’s not a strategy at all.
Make sure your agent has a comprehensive online strategy, has a search engine presence for their website and is utilizing it to generate buyers. Don’t hire an agent who can’t walk you through their online strategy, who doesn’t have a clue how to get your home found on the internet. The internet is where the buyers are, right there, in their pajamas looking for homes.
Here is my internet strategy. Click here. If the agents you’re interviewing can’t show you something like this, they are probably not your best choice.
A solid internet presence is CRITICAL to getting a home sold as quickly as possible.
5. How Many Homes Do You Sell Per Year?
Agents who sell in excess of 25 to 40 homes a year are very busy people. Some have assistants, most do in fact. When you call them you will generally reach them or you’ll hear back from them. Agents who sell 60 homes or more a year, forget it. The listing appointment will be one of the last times, if you see them then, you’ll speak to your agent. Generally, all your questions will be routed through the assistant. Is that the service you’ll be looking for?
While I respect delegation, I don’t delegate contact with my clients. I delegate everything else! Don’t hire an agent who is so busy they won’t have the time to talk to you. You don’t want to hire a starving agent either. That presents another set of issues.
Someone who sells 25 to 40 homes a year is a good choice unless you like talking to the 22 year old assistant who has no idea why you’re calling and is waiting for 5 o’clock to roll around to they can catch happy hour at Chili’s.
The personal touch is priceless and when it comes to one of the most important decisions you’ll make about the single most important investment you’ve got, hearing from the person responsible to you makes the difference between temporary insanity and knowing exactly what’s going on when it happens. But, that said, the choice is yours!
One Last Thing
Designations like GRI, ABR, CRB and other’s simply don’t mean much. Most of the education that Realtors get won’t help you to get your home sold. You don’t want a new agent in this market and hiring an agent with a bunch of letters behind their name isn’t the end all, be all either.
Hire a Realtor bound by the Code of Ethics of the association. Choose a National Association of Realtors and a California Association of Realtors member in good standing. As far as designations go, this is one of the strongest.
Designations simply mean that the Realtor or agent took the time away from working in the field to educate themselves. Honorable as that is, and valuable to the individual, it’s the quality of the person and how aggressive they will be in marketing your home for the highest and best sales price that often makes the difference. Self confidence, not arrogance, and tenacity aren’t taught in schools last I checked. These are the qualities that will help you when things look bleak and you want to give up.
Hope this helps. Call us if you have any questions.
Thanks for visiting!