National statistics indicate that each home buyer or seller knows 10-12 licensed real estate agents. However, just like in every other industry, real estate agents' experience and skill sets can vary greatly. An experienced, professional and skilled real estate agent should be an impartial, devoted guide and facilitator for you, whose interest in your outcome is completely aligned with yours.
Here are a few questions to help make sure you're on the same page.
If you're selling, ask:
- What criteria do you use to determine the fair market value of my home?
- What is your marketing and advertising plan for my property?
- How often will I hear from you and what information should I expect to receive during visits?
- When an agent schedules a showing of my home, what communication do they receive prior to the showing and within 24 hours after?
- What actions should I take to prepare my home or my yard to ensure a quicker sale at the highest possible price?
- What are the costs to me as a seller?
- What should I expect between accepting an offer and closing?
- Should I have my home pre-inspected?
- Do you use a professional photographer?
- How many homes comparable to mine have you sold in the last two years? Would you be willing to provide contact information for their references?
- What is your average “days on market” for the listings you have sold in the last year?
- What is your ratio of sold price to list price over the last year?
If you're buying, ask:
- How long have you been assisting buyers in this market?
- How many buyers did you help successfully find and close on a new home in the last year?
- What challenges do you anticipate we will encounter on our search?
- How will you help us find our home other than our own online searches?
- What will your availability be for touring homes?
- How often should we expect to hear from you?
- Have you had any special training or certifications in negotiation skills?
- Would you be willing to share the contact information of five buyers you have successfully assisted in the past year who we may call for references?
- If you are on vacation or unavailable for any reason during our home buying process, who will be assisting us in your absence?
- What will you be watching for on each home we consider?
- What should we expect during the buying process?
- How do you advise us on an offer price?
- What costs will we incur between accepting an offer and closing?
Buying or selling a home is an exciting time. You owe it to yourself to be sure the agent you choose to assist you with either process is going to be a dedicated, skilled professional committed to your very best outcome.
Susan Desselle is the owner and principal broker of Desselle Real Estate, a full-service agency where she and her team of experienced, dedicated agents provide buyers and sellers with turnkey service every day.