DO NOT Hire A Realtor® Without Asking These Questions First
Every home seller should realize the importance of interviewing a Realtor® before they hire them to sell their home. This interview is, in fact, the most important step of the entire home selling process. Amazingly, very few homeowners take the time to conduct interviews before they decide who they choose to work with. The result often ends up in a transaction not ending in the way they envisioned it, causing them to be unhappy and possibly walking away with a lower sales price than they were hoping for.
Conducting interviews of potential Realtors® and asking “the right” questions is critical to your success. Today I want to share with you tips on how to interview a Realtor® with fantastic questions that will ensure you start your home sales journey off on the right foot.
Why Bother To Interview Realtors® At All? They’re All The Same, Right?
This is perhaps one of the most common, yet misconceptions I hear when discussing Real Estate, and Realtors® in particular, with homeowners. The vast majority of the public thinks that all Realtors® do the exact same things to sell a home and therefore, any Realtor® will do. This cannot be further from the truth.
The reality of the situation is that in the Silicon Valley, 10% of working Realtors® do 90% of the transactions. Think about those numbers. It’s an astounding figure. If there are so many Realtors® to choose from in the Valley, why is it that 10% of them are doing virtually all the transactions? It’s simple. That 10% of Realtors® are gamers. They go above and beyond what is necessary, all the time, to not only ensure their client’s happiness but to also make sure they sell their client’s homes for the highest listing price possible.
Another easy way to rectify this amazing figure in your head is to simply take a quick turn through Realtor® review websites. You’ll see many reviews of agents that describe transactions that you would only imagine in your worst nightmare. Why is this? While it could be they simply do not have many transactions under their belts and are still “learning the ropes”, it does also stem around the fact that the barrier of entry to become a Realtor® is still rather unfortunately low. As a result, people with selfish motives to “make a quick buck” and a poor work ethic do get licenses and do a terrible job representing their client’s needs.
While these things are unfortunate realities of not only the Silicon Valley market but every market in the U.S., that doesn’t mean you need to get stuck with a bad Realtor®. In fact, one great way to look at this is that it does not actually cost any more money to work with a fantastic top producing Realtor® than it does with a low level, bad Realtor®. So interviewing a Realtor® before you list your home really has no downside.
The Critical Questions You HAVE TO Ask A Realtor® When Interviewing Them
•How long have you been a Realtor and how many homes do you sell each year?
While experience is great, you can’t forget the small percentage of new, “rising top producers” that are bursting into the market. So when you ask about experience, always remember to ask about their volume of transactions as well.
One objection response that Realtors® with less production rely on is asking a homeowner if they would rather work with someone that sells 50 homes a year or only 10 homes, BUT will give them super personalized service. Never forget, there is a reason that the agent is only selling 10 homes per year.
At the end of the day, you want a Realtor® that has a great track record of success, handles lots of transactions and is able to perform under any requirement or market condition. Selecting a Realtor® with these characteristics will help ensure a smooth transaction where you get everything you want.
•What is the average list vs. sales price of homes you list?
At the end of the day, everything about your listing comes down to the amount of money you walk away with, but you also want a transaction that will close. Some Realtors®, unfortunately, worry more about what their commission will be and end up pricing homes at a price point that is too high for the market, leaving the home on the market much longer than it need be, or possibly never selling it at all. It’s important you hire a Realtor® that is focused first and foremost on your success.
An important related follow-up question to this should be asking what is average days on the market for their listings. Again, this will give you insight into how they’ll perform and possibly their motives.
•Do you have a team or an assistant working with you?
While you can’t fall for the, “I don’t sell many homes so I can pay more attention to your needs” objection response a non-performing Realtor® may give you as an objection response, it is valid to consider that a highly productive Realtor® does get busy. There, of course, are only so many hours in a day so it is important to see how they deal with client needs when they clearly cannot be in all places at once. Ask about the agent’s support staff. Ask if they have a team that works under them. Ask if they have a personal assistant that helps with the “on demand” things that arise when a home is on the market.
•Can you give me the addresses of the last three or four homes you sold?
Every Realtor® will have a list of hand-picked, perfect clients that can give glowing testimonials about what a great job they did for them. Instead of wasting your time speaking with people you already know are going to say great things, ask for the addresses of the last three or four homes they sold. The internet is a great thing. It will take a little extra work, but you can look up the names of the owners and reach out to them on your own. This gives you the highest likelihood that you are getting unfiltered, accurate depictions of what it was like to work with that Realtor®.
As an added benefit, undoubtedly when you start googling a home address, you are bound to come across online marketing (e.g. virtual tours, property websites, digital ads, etc.) that the Realtor® you are interviewing did for that listing. This will give you the bonus benefit of seeing the type of quality and effort this Realtor® would put into marketing your home if you were to work with them.