This is a list that hasn’t changed much since Hannibal first considered getting a larger place for his elephants. He decided that the Roman Empire would be a fine choice (but history tells us that the move didn’t work out).
If Hannibal had consulted a knowledgeable Roman real estate agent, he might have chosen a more suitable property, and history would be different. Hiring the right agent can be pretty important—and choosing the right agent means asking some good questions.
Here’s a list of five questions to pose when interviewing town real estate agents. It doesn’t come with a crib sheet, because there aren’t any perfectly correct answers. If there were such a thing, sooner or later all the interviewees would know them.
Instead, this list is intended to provide a simple way to compare the candidates’ responses—at the same time, providing some essential information about the current state of the area real estate market. Along the way, you should get a chance to sample how well you and each agent communicate. Was your question understood? Was the answer clear? It’s vital that you and your representative stay on the same wavelength. Here’s the list:
- How long have you worked in real estate—and how long in town?
Knowing the nooks and crannies of our area’s real estate market is one of the most important qualities a Realtor® can bring to the effort. Experience in the industry is the surest way to head off technical hitches before they can cause trouble.
- What’s your best guess about how long it will take to sell my property?
The current average DOM (Days On the Market) for local homes in your category are only a general guide for what to expect—and a canny real estate agent will explain that as part of the answer. If the topic of the asking price becomes a part of the discussion, you’re on the right track: one is closely related to the other.
- How will you go about marketing my home?
The advertising media should include web and print initiatives. If the candidate has brought recent samples to show you, it displays good professionalism.
- Will you take professional photographs of the property?
Quality photography is essential to any serious campaign, so letting potential real estate agents know that you understand its importance does double service. The agent will be on notice that you prioritize this aspect of sale preparation, and will also know that you will be diligent in readying the property for a good shoot.
- How successful have you been over the past year?
Knowing how many homes an agent has sold recently is important, as is a follow-up question like: “How many didn’t sell?” If the agent has cogent reasons why they didn’t sell, or offers how a different approach might have helped, those too can be relevant indicators. An agent who is analytical and open to new ideas can be a good partner.
It’s always good practice to interview more than one area real estate agent before settling on your final choice. I hope you plan to include me in the mix!