Choosing a Real Estate Agent

The following questions and answers may be useful in helping you select the right agent to sell or manage your property.

1. How long have you been in business?

Experience does count. It can mean the difference between achieving an average result and a Prime Result. Knowing how to handle a difficult situation, answering queries correctly, advising rospective vendors and buyers should come naturally to an experienced agent.

There’s nothing wrong with giving a new agent the opportunity to sell your property. Much depends on whether they have access to competent mentors and the level of their training.

2. What is your average list price to sales price ratio?

A competent listing agent should hold a track record for negotiating sales prices that are very close to list prices. Therefore, listing agents should have higher ratios closer to 100%.

When hiring an agent, expect to see list-to-sales ratio within 97% to 100% in a buyer’s market; in a seller’s market: 100% to 110% of list price.

3. What is your best marketing plan or strategy for my needs?

As a seller, you will need to know:

  • Specifically, how will you sell my home?
  • What is your direct mail campaign?
  • Where and how often do you advertise?
  • Will you show me a sample flyer?
  • How do you market online?

4. Will you please provide references or testimonials?

Everybody has testimonials. Ask to see them.

Clients often send thank you notes or letters to the agents. Check a minimum of three references.

5. What are the top three things that separate you from your competition?

A good agent won’t hesitate to answer this question and will be ready to demonstrate why they are best suited for the job. Everyone has their own standards, but most people say they are looking for agents who are:

  • Honest and trustworthy
  • Assertive
  • Excellent negotiators
  • Good communicators
  • Friendly
  • Able to maintain a good sense of humour under trying circumstances
  • Knowledgeable about the market trends
  • Able to demonstrate strong repeat business and referrals of satisfied customers
  • Able to present a sound marketing strategy
  • Available by phone or e-mail – phones today are mobile computers

6. What haven’t I asked that I should know?

Pay close attention to how the real estate agent answers this question because there is always something you need to know – always. You want an agent to take their time with you – to make sure you feel comfortable and secure with their knowledge and experience. They should know how to listen and how to counsel you, how to ask the right questions to find out what they need to know to better serve you. The way the agent treats you is how they may potentially treat the buyer. If you feel comfortable, then the buyer will feel comfortable.

You might ask the agent to reiterate your goals and objectives. If the agent does not appear to have a thorough understanding of what you want, despite your attempts to explain what you want, then hire somebody else. Some agents do not listen very well. You want an agent who will listen to you and communicate with you. The best way to find out if the agent comprehends your desires is to ask the agent to repeat it back to you.