How To Be Ready With Answers
Your real estate agent is going to ask you a million questions. How old is the roof? What’s the best way to reach you? Can I put a lockbox on the front door? Does the refrigerator stay with the house? And on and on and on…
All that is pretty normal stuff, but what questions should you be asking your agent? Are you afraid to upset them, not sure what to ask, or certain all agents are going to give you the run around? Don’t worry. This blog is the short version of a longer topic that’s critical to your success as you look for an agent. Here are the top 10 questions you should ALWAYS be asking when you sit down with a potential listing agent.
1. How much do you charge?
If you don’t know what their commission rate is, how are you going to know if you’re getting a good deal? Make sure you get a specific and concise answer. Don’t forget to ask if there are administration fees or closing fees paid to the agent. Some agencies charge to put your closing docs on a disk! For crying out loud, never pay that fee. Bring me your paperwork and I’ll scan it to a 50 cent disk for free (I’ve seen agencies charge up to $150!).
2. Is that the best you can do?
Most agents will (and should) negotiate their commission. Most people just don’t ask.
3. Will you give me a discount if my house sells in the first 30 days?
If you price your house aggressively and it sells in a short amount of time, how much time and effort did your agent have to put into selling your home? Not much. What’s funny is most agents expect to get paid MORE when your house sells quickly. Homes sell quickly when they are priced properly, and the seller is the one who sets the price. Don’t pay someone else for your good judgment.
4. Will you give me a discount if I find my own buyer?
I’m pretty sure you’re going to get a big fat NO here, but it’s always worth a shot. At Rocket Realty, we do give you a discount if you secure the buyer on your own. It’s common sense to us, but unfortunately uncommon in our market.
5. What’s the conversion rate/value?
Many agents will try to dazzle you with fancy awards, jazzy websites, and open houses. If they can’t quantify the value, then why are you paying for it?
6. What (in measurable terms) justifies paying a top end commission rate?
For example, ask them if open houses make homes sell in a shorter amount of time or for more money. And don’t settle for anecdotal data. If they can’t quantify it, it’s a fairytale.
7. Are you a full time real estate agent?
If I had a nickel for every time an agent has said to me, “I’ll call my client when I get off from my REAL job.” It’s crazy, but there are tons of agents who do this gig as a side job or as a “hobby.” I don’t hire doctors, lawyers, or accountants who do their profession as a hobby, and I wouldn’t recommend you hire a hobbyist real estate agent either.
8. How many houses have you sold in the last 12 months?
If the answer isn’t 25+, be leery. Agents who just dabble in real estate or struggle to have a steady stream of business may not be the best representation.
9. Who covers for you when you are sick or on vacation?
If they hesitate to answer this question, run. Run fast and run far. If your agent doesn’t have an existing plan for coverage when they are unavailable, you are in for a world of hurt.
10. Do you use a showing service?
You are going to pay this person THOUSANDS of dollars to sell your house. The least they can do is pay $35 to a showing service to facilitate showings. Listen, if I can’t get your agent to call me back, I can’t show your house. And if I can’t show your house, I can’t SELL your house. If sellers knew how hard it was to get an agent to answer their phone on the weekend (or while on vaca, sick, grieving, etc.), they would DEMAND a showing service handle their listing. How will you ever know if your agent misses opportunities for showings? You won’t, so be sure you get a 24/7 listing service (like Centralized Showings) to do it for them. It’s easy, affordable, and nearly infallible.
Okay, you are armed and ready for battle! You know what questions to ask, and what answers you should get. Or you could just call us at Rocket, avoid the battle, and win the war. Either way, now you’re in good hands you can trust.
Good luck out there!