When you sell your house, you want to make as much of a profit as possible. To do that, you should get the help of a quality real estate agent. But when it comes to selling property, some agents make a lot of promises and fail to deliver results. Knowing the right questions to ask will help you weed out those agents and find someone who will make the sale you desire.
How Many Homes Have You Sold in the Last Six Months?
You want a real estate agent who knows the current market and adapts his strategies to fit the market. If a real estate agent has not sold a home in the last six months, he either does not know the market well or is not effective at navigating it. In addition to an agent who has not sold any homes in the last six months, one who has not had any listings in the last six months may not have the experience or reputation you need.
What Is the Average Length of Time Your Listings Are on the Market?
The average length of time a house is on the market varies by area. Regardless of your area's averages, you want to sell your home quickly. Compare a real estate agent's answer to this question to local average. If her listings are on the market significantly longer than the average, she may not be the best choice. Look for an agent whose average time on the market is lower than the area's.
What Is Your Average List-Price to Sales-Price Ratio?
A good agent knows what a house will sell for and prices it accordingly. If you find an agent who regularly sells homes well below their list price, the agent either does not know the market well or does not attract the right buyers to the property. While there will be some room for negotiation in any list price, choose an agent whose listings regularly sell near the list price.
How Do You Determine the List Price?
To determine a list price, a competent agent looks at prices of comparable houses that have sold along with those that are up for sale in the neighborhood and makes an analysis of the current market. An agent who simply plugs a few details about your house into a computer program or pulls up a few similar houses during an Internet search may not price your home effectively. This could cause your home to sit on the market or cut into your net proceeds.
What Types of Advertising Do You Use?
When you sell your home, you need an agent who will take advantage of multiple resources and strategies for advertising your home. An agent who only relies on a few listing services and a newspaper ad will likely not get the job done effectively. Look for an agent who uses a variety of Internet, print and industry resources to advertise your home to the right group of potential buyers.
What Will You Do to Make My Home Stand Out?
In a saturated market, houses like yours are probably a dime a dozen. An agent's job is to make your home stand out by pricing it competitively, offering incentives and creating advertising materials that showcase your home's good qualities. Do not be put off by an agent who suggests making minor changes to your home, such as de-cluttering, painting or doing some landscaping to help it look its best and stand out from the rest.
What Do You Charge?
Do not automatically choose the agent with the lowest fees. Quality agents may charge a larger percentage of the home's selling price but are often worth it. An agent with a lower fee may not spend as much time trying to sell your home or may take on more sellers at once, leaving less time to devote to you. It's in your best interest to have an agent who spends the time and money necessary to get your house sold.
Stacy Zeiger began writing in 2000 for "Suburban News Publication" in Ohio and has expanded to teaching writing as an eighth grade English teacher. Zeiger completed creative writing course work at Miami University and holds a B.A. in English and a M.Ed. in secondary education from Ohio State.