Selling your house is oftentimes a difficult decision. With the stress of setting the right price, finding a buyer, and doing the paperwork, it can be an incredibly taxing experience. Finding the best realtor to help you through this is not impossible but can be a lengthy process.
In order to ease some of your burdens, we will discuss some must-ask questions that will help you screen out unsuitable candidates.
About the House
It is best to categorize the questions so that you don’t miss out on any. First, ask questions regarding the house so that you have a good understanding of the whole process and a tentative price.
How did you arrive at your suggested list price?
Instead of asking the straightforward question of “What should be the asking price?” This question ensures two things. First, that your realtor can justify the price during the negotiation, and secondly, they aren’t exaggerating the price to increase their commission.
A low price will cheat you out of your potential profit, but a price that is too high may scare off potential buyers. Thus, the right selling price will not only give you a fair profit but also help the house to sell quickly.
To understand how your property compares to other homes sold recently, a comparative market analysis (also known as a CMA) is listed by the realtor. They will be able to justify how they came to the price, which will include the following factors:
- Lot size
- Square footage
- Proximity to road noise
However, keep in mind that some realtors will tempt owners with cash for houses. They might convince you that they can get a high price when in actuality your house will end up selling at a low price after being on the market for a long time.
Will you also represent the buyer?
This question will help you judge your realtor’s integrity. Some realtors insist on representing both parties to double their commission. This can lead to your house being sold below market value because they are not negotiating for you.
You can follow up on this question by asking the percentage of listings when they represent the buyer. Anywhere above 10 percent is a red flag.
What are the selling features of my home?
No matter what condition your house is in, it will always have selling features. If it needs some fixing, then it will have a lower price and taxes as well as allow the buyer to redecorate as they see fit.
A good realtor will be able to market the features of your house so that it can sell for top price.
About the Selling Process
Now it’s time to discuss the selling process.
Who do you think the buyer for my home will be?
Knowing the demographic will help your realtor market effectively. For example, the buyer for a condo isn’t the same as a single-family house.
An intelligent realtor understands the demographic of each type of home and maximizes the marketing opportunity so that you will get the best price.
How do you plan on marketing to those homebuyers?
This is the most important part. You don’t want your house to be on the market forever or to sell at a mediocre price. Effective marketing will prevent these pitfalls.
The importance of the Internet in real estate cannot be stressed enough. Most buyers are looking on Google for potential houses, so your realtor needs to be well-versed to be able to cater to such audiences.
The first few questions that you should ask them to judge their Internet presence and reach include:
- Do you have your website that shows up in search results?
- Do you have a real estate blog?
- Do you utilize social media?
- What quality camera do you use when taking photos of the homes you sell?
This will help you screen out realtors who are unlikely to sell your home. A realtor with a website or blog which appears on the front page in searches with reliable information on properties, good social media presence, and high-quality pictures is more likely to sell houses than those who don’t fit these criteria.
How will you vet the buyer?
Despite having finalized your buyer, the risk of the deal falling through still stands. This usually happens for two reasons: financing troubles for the buyer and they back out during the inspection contingency period. To prevent this, you should:
- Ensure that the buyer submits the offer with a pre-approval letter
- Contact the loan officer to inquire about the buyer’s debt-income ratio
- Complete inspections before selling
- Ensure that the buyer has read through the inspection reports
All of these factors make it difficult for the buyer to back out from the deal. A successful realtor will be able to vet the buyer and complete the sale.
About Additional Changes to the House
These questions are about pre-selling prep for the house and other costs you need to consider during the deal.
What do I need to do to get my home ready?
To make your house more marketable, it may be suggested that you make some changes to it. These can range from painting, fixing the roof or air leaks, and cleaning the yard to downsizing the furniture. The better the condition of your house, the quicker it can sell, and the more potential buyers you can find.
A realtor may even get a contractor for a house inspection to identify any hidden problems.
What are the costs?
As a seller, you need to know how much money you will get after all costs are paid. Simply deduct money owed, closing costs which include the commission, escrow fees, title fees, and attorney fees from your selling price.
It is good to negotiate commission with your realtor to test whether they defend their financial interest and by extent, yours.
Can I cancel our agreement?
This one is a must-ask question for your realtor. Don’t hire a realtor who doesn’t allow you to cancel the agreement.
Many ‘top agents’ try to lure sellers into a contract with hopes of unrealistic prices and fast purchase but end up selling at a lower price after it sits on the market too long. However, the agent still gets his promised commission.
By providing a cancel option on your contract, your realtor’s integrity is proved and you can be confident that they will fight tooth and nail to sell your property at a fair price. This is because their commission is at stake now. You should also know about any penalties for contract termination.
About the Realtor
These are questions to judge the competency of your realtor.
How many homes have you sold?
This will give you an idea of the realtor’s abilities. However, a higher selling rate isn’t necessarily the only indicator. You need to find a realtor who has a high selling rate representing buyers (think 60 percent) in recent years and whether they have experience selling houses in your neighbourhood.
What was the average time from listing date to contract date of these sales?
You should also inquire about the duration between market listing and contract date. You don’t want your house sitting on the market for months. This drives away buyers and you end up with lower selling prices.
What’s your sale to list price ratio?
This is another must-ask question. Additionally, ask about their pending transactions. These questions judge the realtor’s ability to negotiate and whether they can keep a fair sales price.
What Additional Services Can You Provide?
Your realtor should be able to help you with resources like attorneys, mortgage brokers, and movers. So you have a one-stop solution for all vendors.
What Is the Level of Satisfaction from Past Clients?
Past customers are the best judge of your realtor. Ask the realtor for client testimonials, which should be easily acquired.
Which References Can I Contact?
Your realtor should have references who can vouch for their abilities. Ask for contact information of recent sellers who are willing to talk to you and not the cherry-picked ones by your realtor. Hearing directly from the clients will give you confidence in your realtor’s abilities.
About the Communication Process
The communication ability of your realtor is an important quality. You want a realtor who can allow smooth communication between seller and buyer as well as all parties involved.
How often will we communicate?
You need a capable realtor who can openly discuss all aspects of the process and can handle any problems that arise. Ask about who will be in charge of showing your house and how they communicate with sellers. You will also want to know their methods for obtaining feedback.
A trusted realtor is transparent about these questions and will ease any worries the seller may have. You want the proceedings of your selling process under the supervision of an agent who cares about your pocketbook as much as theirs.
With these questions, you are more likely to be assured that your house is in safe hands. A fair price for their house is of the utmost to any homeowner, and a good realtor can ensure just that.
As a realtor will be representing you to potential buyers, it is important that they fully understand your priorities and needs. Therefore, they will often ask you questions as well to help build the housing portfolio. Proper cooperation from both parties will ensure a smooth selling process.