Selling your home is one of life’s major financial decisions which is why we’re sharing the top ten questions to ask a real estate agent before listing your home.
In order to maximize profit and minimize hassle, you should hire a real estate agent that’s experienced, passionate and knowledgeable about your neighborhood.
First ask your friends and neighbors for recommendations. Then check each agent’s reviews on-line. And finally, put together a list of three to interview in person.
To find the best agent for you ask these 10 questions.
Top 10 Questions To Ask Real Estate Agents Before Listing Your Home
1. Would you tell me about your background?
Listen for how long the agent has been licensed and selling real estate in your Chicago neighborhood. Also listen for what they specialize in. Helping buyers, renters, sellers?
It’s true that in life experience doesn’t always equate with success. But because real estate is commission based, experience is a good indicator of success. Agents who have survived and thrived over the years have usually done so by providing clients with excellent service. And they’ve seen many selling situations so they are less likely to be rattled should bumps be encountered during the process.
So, listen for an agent who has solid experience listing and selling properties similar to yours in your neighborhood.
A big-name brokerage agent with the most years in the business could be a good choice. However, the better choice might be an experienced agent with a high-tech independent brokerage right in your neighborhood.
2. What sets you apart?
During the listing meeting the agent should look the part and impress you with their professionalism.
And while it’s easy to be impressed by a slick high-tech presentation, make sure the agent has solid experience listing and selling in your neighborhood.
Listen for the details of the marketing plan. The plan should be customized to your home? And should include a plan for marketing directly to other neighborhood agents in addition to the general public. Plus the plan should include tactics involving social media.
Have they developed a specific calendar of marketing events? This shows the agent actually has thought of and documented a detailed plan for marketing your specific home.
This might seem like a lot to ask but it isn’t really. You’re paying a lot of money and should expect more than an agent who is just winging it!
3. How do you communicate with your clients?
The ideal answer to this question would be for the agent to ask you how you prefer to communicate.
Determine how much or how little you really want to know. Do you just want a text once a week with an update or phone conversations after every showing?
Also, ask about the agent’s availability. Will you have a direct number to call or text your agent? Are they available 7 days a week? How late can you call or text?
4. What is your average number of clients?
In other words, will you have enough time for me? Nobody likes being ignored while their agent is working with their many other clients. If the agent works a high volume of clients then you really have to be okay with the idea of working mostly with their team members.
A few words about real estate “teams.” Teams can be great when staffed with experienced real estate professionals. But sadly, in Chicago that’s often not the case.
The word “team” is often code for “I impress the sellers and get the listings then delegate everything to a group of newbie agents who struggle to deliver on all my promises.”
With teams you’re often talking to a variety of people who don’t always coordinate very well. And many times, have no idea regarding the features, advantages and benefits of your home.
Having an agent who actually works your listing is essential. Direct communication with your single agent means you and your buyer will receive a more personalized experience.
Look for the agent that strikes the right balance between experience and attention to you as a client. This gets back to the core principal that the home selling experience should be exciting, enjoyable and rewarding!
5. How much do you charge?
Attention! This is not the first question! Remember the agents are also interviewing you. If this is your first question it tells them a lot about how you value them. A great agent is not a commodity to be bought at the lowest price.
Most brokerages are paid a certain percentage of your home’s selling price and the listing agent receives a percentage of that amount. Of course, if you think it’s unfairly high given the agent’s experience then by all means negotiate.
Or better yet, keep looking for an individual agent you like who has the best experience selling homes in your neighborhood.
Cancellation fees are important to consider as well. If you happen to find a buyer on your own, or end up disliking your agent, ask how that will be handled.
You normally get what you pay for so don’t be lured into a discount scenario without understanding what the services will be.
6. Can you give me a CMA?
A comparative market analysis (CMA) is a study done by real estate agents to establish a home’s market value.
The amount of detail the agent provides shows you how knowledgeable he or she is about your market, neighborhood and building.
Make sure the CMA is specific and not just an average price of hundreds of area listings. Study it. Does it consider listings near your? In your building?
It may seem obvious but don’t always go with the agent who tells you they can sell your place for the most money!
Get a Bestimate and find out what your home is really worth.
7. How will you market my home?
All Chicago Realtors® of course use MRED, the Chicago MLS. So, you want a great agent who offers an expansive internet strategy that gets your property exposure on social media and hundreds of websites.
That said, it follows that you’ll want an agent who brings in a professional photographer and also does a professional video tour of your home. Do they offer a Matterport 3D Tour?
Your place will be all over the internet so you want it to look better than the other listings.
8. What’s your list-price to sold-price ratio?
This question separates the good Chicago agents from the best.
The list-price to sold-price ratio is the comparison of the original list price of the property to the price at which it eventually sold.
The higher the percentage the better as it shows the agent understands how to correctly price a property.
Just because an agent has been selling in the neighborhood for many years does not mean they will get you the best deal. In fact, the opposite could be true.
Your home will sell faster and most often for more money if it is priced correctly from the start. For more on this read Selling A Chicago Condo For The Most Money.
9. Can I have the contact information for a few of your recent clients?
It can be very enlightening to hear about the agent from a client’s perspective. And it will help you judge if the agent is a good fit for you.
Of course, you should also check their reviews on sites like Google, Yelp and of course the reviews on their company website. Read our seller reviews.
10. What questions can I answer for you?
Be sure to ask this question! The answer will provide you with a window into the agent’s mindset, their commitment to you and to your selling situation.
Here the agent should demonstrate that they genuinely want to get to know you and your selling priorities.
Let your gut feeling about their questions and how they listen be the most important factor in your decision. Sometimes it just comes down to chemistry.
Now you have the best questions to ask real estate agents before listing your home. In conclusion, if you interview three Chicago real estate agents and ask these questions then you should have a successful home selling experience.
Thanks for reading. Ready to sell? Contact us, we’re ready to help.