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Research shows that two-thirds of home sellers hire the first agent they talk to – the first one! While I’d like to think it’s because all REALTORS are amazing, I know that’s not really the case. If you’re thinking of selling your house, here are the 15 questions you should be asking:
1 – How many homes did you sell last year? How many have you sold this year? Of those, how many times did you represent the Seller vs. the Buyer?
It’s important to work with an experienced REALTOR who is actively engaged in the market: what’s happening right now and how that might affect your sale? Hire a listing agent who’s familiar with the mindset of the Buyers who are currently searching for a home, pricing strategies that are working right now and current best practices in marketing and staging. Agents who only sell a few homes per year don’t have the depth of experience or current knowledge to best represent you – and if they mostly work with Buyers, they might not understand the selling process.
The chart on the right shows the number of homes sold by GTA real estate agents in 2018 – 57% of agents 2 or fewer homes.
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. If you want to get the highest price for your home and sell it quickly, you’ll need someone – ideally a team of experts – who make selling your home their top priority.
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 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 your home on the MLS, what specifically will they do to drive Buyers to your house or condo? While the MLS brings in many potential Buyers, a comprehensive online and offline marketing strategy focused on selling your home is critical.
Related: The Truth About the ‘Neighbourhood Expert’ REALTOR
6 – How will you market my home online? Will you hire a photographer to take photos of my house or condo?
93% of buyers search for a home online and you want to make sure your home will be found. Where will they post your home online? How much traffic does their website get?
Run from the agent who claims to take great photos with their iPhone (even if it is the iPhone 11). Top agents hire top photographers, invest in HDR photography and understand that the first online impression is the most important one.
Related: How BREL Reaches More Buyers
7 – What results have you achieved for other Sellers?
You’re looking for real numbers here, that can easily be backed up with proof. Ignore boasts of internal awards – what you really want to know is how their efforts have positively impacted their Seller clients.
8 – How much do you think my house is worth?
Don’t make the mistake of hiring the agent who gives you 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.
Related: Understanding a House’s Value
Related: The Lowdown on Pricing a Condo
9 – Why should I hire you?
If an agent doesn’t know what makes him or her different from the other 60,000+ agents in the GTA, move on. This should be the easiest question for them to answer.
10 – 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.
Related: 30 Days to Listing Your Home for Sale
11 – When do you think I should list my house?
A good agent knows the importance of timing and will be able to offer strategic advice while balancing your personal needs.
Related: When Should I List My Home for Sale?
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 who can help me prepare my home for sale?
Painters, home inspectors, stagers, contractors, electricians, plumbers, etc. A good agent has a network of talented people on call to help their Sellers, and if you’re working with a top team, they probably have in-house stagers and handymen.
14 – How often will you communicate with me and how?
Make sure that the agent you hire to sell your home 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.
Related: Read our Reviews on Google
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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.
Julie Wiser says:
We all understand a seller wanting an agent with experience, but bewate choosing the “hottest agent” in the area! Having three listings while working with a couple of buyers can be overwhelming to even the most experienced agent. Will your home be among the highest priced for this agent and garner plenty of her time and energy? Or, will she delegate most of the work to a more junior team member, including holding open houses and tours, and possibly overseeing much of the marketing plan
Many relatively new agents will provide better service and be more available than super busy and pressured veterans and will often involve their broker or mentor in the process of selling the home. Many new agents had solid careers in sales and marketing and often were self-employed in another industry that gave them many varied skills. Don’t automatically count them out,
Jen Lyles says:
I really like your Comment Julie! I co-sign your sentiments