Finding a real estate agent who is right for you requires doing a little homework, and
asking the right questions. Choosing an agent is a decision that could ultimately cost or
save you thousands of dollars. Keep in mind the individual you choose will be handling
almost every maneuver in the biggest financial investment of your life. Experience,
interests, and expertise vary from agent to agent, so you should be asking very specific
questions in order to align your own needs with the abilities of an appropriate
representative. Use the following list of questions as a guide to finding the agent that is
right for you:
1. How long have you been involved in residential real estate in this area?
If the agent hasn’t been connected to the residential real estate market for several
years, s/he will be out of touch with the cyclical nature of the current market.
Your agent must be familiar with trends of the local market and have an eye for
the ways in which it will change. This knowledge could mean the difference of
thousands of dollars in the long-run.
2. What is your marketing strategy for my home?
A realtor should be able to lay out for you, in detail, a marketing plan to sell your
home. Examine this plan carefully. How much money does the realtor allot to
advertising? What type of media does s/he use? S/he should be able to
demonstrate the effectiveness of one form of media over another, explaining why
his/her particular marketing strategy will sell your home faster and for top dollar.
The realtor should employ current, innovative marketing techniques that indicate
creativity and a willingness to market outside of the box. Stay away from realtors
who rely on traditional, dated forms of advertising. They simply won’t work in
the current real estate market.
3. How do you support a buyer throughout the process?
A realtor should be able to indicate how s/he will support you through each step
of the home-buying or selling process, offering you a unique system to suit your
needs and goals. Also, ask if a specialist will be available at each level of the
sale. Your realtor should always be on hand to answer questions, but the specific
resources of an expert can be invaluable during different stages of the process.
4. What other properties has your company sold in my area?
The realtor should be able to provide you with a complete, detailed listing of their
own sales in your area, as well as other comparable sales. You should get a clear
idea of what you might be able to expect both from the realtor and from the
5. What is your experience with financing options? How would you suggest I
approach my own financing plan?
Each buyer requires a different financing strategy. A realtor should be able to
suggest a plan catered specifically to your financial background and needs. Don’t
just depend on your lender for information and guidance on financing a new
home. Let your agent lead the way.
6. On average, how close is the selling price of your listings to their asking
price, and how long do they take to sell?
You can contact the Real Estate Board to obtain information on the selling record
of an agent. The Board also has statistics on a broader scale, so you can see
whether an agent’s selling performance is higher or lower than the board average,
and whether s/he tends to sell faster or slower than the board average. Placing the
realtor’s performance on a scale will help you get an idea of how much you might
expect your home to sell for, and how long it might take to sell.
7. What is your philosophy/method of negotiation and how will you apply it
when selling my home?
Your realtor should be able to articulate effective and informed negotiation tactics
that demonstrate a commitment to securing the best price for you.
8. Do you have a reference list of clients I could contact?
Do some homework! Choose a few names on the list and call them. The stories
of others who have gone through the home-selling process can be a valuable
source of information.