If you’re thinking about selling your home, you want to be sure you’re in good hands. But with so many real estate agents out there, how can you be sure you’re picking the best person for the job? With about 2 million active real estate agents in the U.S., it’s important to do your due diligence when meeting with agents.
Before signing on the dotted line, there are a few key questions you should ask your prospective agent. That way, you can get to know them and their experience, while also understanding how they would handle your specific sale. From the price and the marketing plan to an agent’s years of experience and their geographic expertise, there are things you should ask about up front for the best possible experience.
1. What is your experience and what are your qualifications?
Get more information about how long an agent has been selling real estate, if they do it full- or part-time and how many homes and what type they’ve sold in the past year. You may even want to get into more nitty-gritty details, such as the average length of time their listings take to sell and their list-to-sale ratio — the percentage of the original asking price that a home ultimately sells for. (A top brokerage’s or agent’s ratio? Well over 90 percent.) All of these metrics will help you measure their success and understand if their experience is right for you and your home.
2. Do you have experience in my neighborhood?
Most real estate markets are hyper-localized, so having someone who understands your neighborhood’s landscape is critical to getting the best price for your home. Find someone who specializes in your specific area to ensure they know the ins and outs and have a pulse on exactly what buyers are looking for. That way, they’ll also have a good sense for what price will help you quickly sell your home.
3. What updates do you recommend before I sell?
Not every home is in turnkey condition — but it doesn’t necessarily need to be to sell. Ask potential agents what updates may help you secure a higher price. It may be relatively easy changes such as a fresh coat of paint or updated landscaping for some added curb appeal. These insights will showcase their market know-how and help you gauge for their level of candor. That way, you’ll know whether or not you can trust them to be honest throughout the entire process.
4. How will you determine my home’s listing price?
It’s no surprise that, for a seller, price is one of the most important elements of the sale. If you price the home too low, the seller (and the agent) lose out on additional cash. If you price it too high, it’s possible it will turn away prospective buyers and possibly linger on the market. To strike the perfect balance, your agent should consider everything from square footage and the number of bedrooms to the local school district and the location relative to conveniences such as shops and main streets. Your agent should take all of these things into consideration, along with a comparative market analysis, to land on a price that’s backed by data, and not just a gut feeling.
5. What is your marketing plan?
Once you choose an agent, that’s when the real work starts for them. They’ll need to have a clear plan of action that will help drive interest in your property and get the word out there to prospective buyers. Simply listing your home on popular real estate sites isn’t enough. Understand from your agent what other marketing materials they’ll put together. Will they work with a professional photographer to produce high-quality images? Or perhaps they’ll develop marketing materials such as flyers or direct mailers. Ask them about their social media strategy for your home, and what national or international sites your home will be listed on, because of the brokerage they are with. Experienced real estate agents with established brokerages should be able to easily answer all of these questions — and more — about their marketing practices.
6. How long do you think my home will take to sell?
While no agent can give you a guarantee of how long a sale will take, experienced agents should be able to give you a fairly reliable ballpark amount. Based on their knowledge of the local market and their years of experience, they should have a good sense of how pricing will impact your timeline and how long it will take to generate the interest needed to close a sale.
If you’re struggling to find an agent who can confidently answer all of your questions, reach out to Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. Our agents are known as the best in the business and are backed by the world’s most powerful luxury realty brand. That way, you can feel confident knowing that — with their unmatched instincts and unique connections — they’ll help get the best possible price for your home, in any kind of market, hot or cool.