The 5-Questions That Agents HOPE Sellers Will NOT Ask!
Thinking of selling your house?
You'll probably interview one or more agents. You'll have them out to
your house, receive their opinion of value, and talk about market
conditions. Among these agents may be your next door neighbor, your
sister's best friend, or some other family acquaintance, who just
happens to have a real estate license.
Before you sign a listing contract with anyone, you should ask the
following important questions. This list grew out of an informal
survey in which Sellers and Agents identified those areas that caused
the most friction or problems in their relationship. By having the
answers to these questions up front, you can avoid misunderstandings,
save yourself some grief and aggravation, and make certain that what
you get from your agent is the same as what you expected.
Warning: When first asking these questions, you might encounter
"the squirm." Some agents may not be prepared to answer such
straightforward inquiries. Don't be uncomfortable. As a seller you
have every right to know these things, and any professional agent
should be happy to provide you with the answers.
- Are you a full time professional, or do you have another job
besides selling real estate? Many, many people sell real estate
"part time". While this is no crime, it's no great virtue, either.
In most cases, a family's home represents a substantial portion of
their financial assets. Such an important matter deserves to be
entrusted to a full time agent.
- Do you have a specific marketing plan for my house, and will you
commit to it in writing? Find out, ahead of time, exactly what your
agent will or will not do to sell your house. Does the agent's plan
include featuring your home on the Internet, as well as aggressively
marketing the property in your local area? The real reason for
asking this question is to make certain that your agent definitely
has a plan, and is not 'shooting from the hip'.
- Who determines how much money will be spent on advertising my
home, and what is that figure? If seeing your house in print every
week is important to you, then ask - up front - if your agent makes
those decisions. In many cases, the owner/manager decides which
properties are advertised. If this is so, then your home may only be
featured sporadically, if at all. While most experts agree that the
amount of time a house is on the market is not directly related to
the number of times the home appears in ads, you should still have a
fair idea of the type and number of ads you can expect.
- What financial resources or connections do you have for
assisting marginal or unusual buyers? While all sellers want buyers
with whistle clean credit and a 20% down payment, experience shows
that many viable buyers do not fall into that category. Find out if
your agent is knowledgeable, and prepared, to work with all buyers,
whether AAA or marginal. This is just one of the areas where sellers
will find experienced, full time agents much more knowledgeable than
beginners or part-timers.
- Do you have letters of recommendation from past clients, and may
I call them? Get the references and make the calls. One of the best
ways to discover how someone will perform in the future is to
investigate how they have acted in the past.
Including this short list of questions in your initial interview with
a real estate agent can be an eye-opener. The purpose of raising these
issues, however, is not to embarrass the real estate agent, but rather
is to make absolutely certain that you, as the seller, understand the
qualifications and strengths of the person you are retaining for the
important job of selling your home. Hopefully, the answers given will
raise your comfort level with the agent, and contribute to a
profitable and enjoyable real estate relationship.