Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 12.59.33 PMIt always surprises me to know that 2/3 of home sellers hire the first agent they talk to. While I’d like to think it’s because all REALTORS are amazing, I sadly know that’s not the case. If you’re thinking of selling your house, here are the 20 questions you should be asking:

  1. How many homes did you sell last year? How many have you sold this year?
  2. How long have you been a REALTOR? Nobody wants to be an agent’s first listing. And beware the agents who talk about ‘being in the real estate market’ for 10 years – they might just mean they’ve owned a home for 10 years.
  3. Do you have another job or are you a full-time REALTOR? Beware the part-time agents who won’t have time for you and aren’t on top of what’s happening in the market.
  4. If I list my home with you, will you actually be the person I deal with? Lots of “top agents” will hand you off to their assistants – make sure that the person you meet is the person who’ll actually be doing the work to sell your house, the person who’ll be hosting open houses and the person who you’ll communicate with…not just the guy on the billboard.
  5. How will you market my property? Other than posting it on MLS, what specifically will you do to drive Buyers to my house or condo?
  6. How will you market my home online? 93% of buyers search for a home online and you want to make sure your home will be found.
  7. Will you hire a photographer to take photos of my house or condo? Run from the agent who claims he takes great photos with his iPhone or Blackberry. Top agents hire photographers (and pay for them).
  8. How much do you think my house is worth? Don’t make the mistake of hiring the agent who answers with the highest number – that’s an old school strategy that a lot of agents use to get hired. The market determines how much your house is worth, not the agent, and pricing too high in the beginning will hurt you.
  9. Why should I hire you? If an agent doesn’t know what makes him or her different than the other 37,000 agents in Toronto, move on.
  10. Do you have any advice as to what I should do to get my home ready for sale? Experienced agents know what matters and aren’t afraid to tell you what you need to do to help get top dollar for your home.
  11. When do you think I should list my house? A good agent will know the importance of timing and be able to offer strategic advice.
  12. What is your negotiation style? Let’s be honest, a lot of Toronto agents don’t know how to negotiate – ask them for real life examples of their negotiation strategies.
  13. Do you have partners that can help me with painting/home inspections/financing/staging/renovations? A good agent has a network of talented people on call to help their Sellers.
  14. How often will you communicate with me and how? Make sure that the agent you choose communicates with you how you want to be communicated with and at a frequency you’re comfortable with.
  15. What would your past clients say is the best thing about working with you? And don’t be afraid to ask for references.

  1. I think your tips are great and that home sellers should take them as gospel but what if you are a new realtor who does want to do a great job, be professional, has gone out of their way to find a mentor and wants a first listing….someone has to be that realtors first listing

    • Melanie Piche says:

      I’m a big believer that new agents should shadow experienced agents, so that their ‘first time’ isn’t at a Seller’s expense. I wouldn’t want a doctor’s first operation to be on me, or a financial adviser’s first plan to be for me. Having a good mentor can go a long way to developing experience without unnecessary risk to the client.

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