How to Interview a Real Estate Agent:

 

Smart consumers interview potential real estate agents before they decide which agent they want to hire. Just as you're sizing up the potential for a good fit, the real estate agent will likely be interviewing you, too. Be wary of agents who don't ask you questions and probe for your motivation. You wouldn't work with just any agent off the street, and good agents are selective about their clients, too.

Here are 5 questions you must ask when you start your interview process:

1)    What Is Your Best Marketing Plan or Strategy for My Needs?

As a seller, you'll want to know exactly how the agent will sell your home. Is a direct mail campaign appropriate? Why or why not? Where and how often does he/she advertise? What kind of photography does he/she offer? Does he/she market online? What steps will he/she take to prepare your home for sale? Most importantly, ask if there's anything about your home that he/she thinks might detract from its potential for sale.

2)    How do you arrive at the listing price?

I always recommend a homeowner doing their due diligence when it comes to the price of their home. Many agents tend to over promise on the listing price in hopes that it will result in getting the listing.  A home that is priced too high will languish, eventually turning off potential buyers; but a home priced too low might leave money on the table. Make sure your agent is knowledgeable about the market and what other similar homes have recently sold for to help you arrive at the right price.

3)    Can you provide references?

Past performance and years of experience are all valuable indicators of an agent’s competence. But you’ll also want to talk with someone who has used their services before to know what it’s really like to work with them. Perhaps you’re interviewing an agent in the first place because they were recommended by a trusted friend or family member, but you’ll still want to get a variety of opinions from different sources. It’s unlikely that a listing agent will send you to a client who didn’t have a good experience, which is where a little internet sleuthing can come in handy. When reading through online reviews, however, always keep the source in mind. If you stumble on anything negative three or four pages deep in the search results, it’s always a good idea to give the agent a chance to explain if he or she seems otherwise well-suited to your needs. This can be a great way to see how he or she handles criticism before getting past the point of no return.

4)    What questions do you have for me?

Although you are paying them to perform a service for you, your relationship with your agent should be a true partnership that goes both ways. Look for an agent who has a genuine interest in understanding your plans and goals, and who will take all of your requests and requirements seriously.

5)    Can You Explain the Home Selling Process from Start to Finish?

Most homeowners may only experience selling a home once in a lifetime. The process can seem long and complicated. Feel comfortable understanding the key points along the way—preparing the home, showings, how to manage offers, home inspections, what happens post-accepting an offer, timelines, etc. A realtor should make you comfortable along the way, though always expect the unexpected.