What Should You Ask
in Your Listing Agent Interview?
Maribeth Lynch, Owner/Broker
Thrive Real Estate Specialists
10 Most Important Questions you MUST Ask When Choosing a Listing Real Estate Agent
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When you sell your home, you want to be confident that you are partnering with a real estate agent who is a good communicator with ample experience and the right approach to selling your home. Qualified listing agents should be motivated, connected, and invested in your sale.
So … how do you assess these qualities before signing on with an agent? The answer is really quite simple and highly crucial if you want to be certain you are working with a results-oriented agent who has your best interests at heart: Interview a number of listing agents and ask thoughtful questions designed to help you determine whether you’ve found the right person to help you sell your home.
Here are a few “must-ask” interview questions that any listing agent should be able to answer without hesitation:
1) Where do you live?
This may, at first glance, seem like a nosy question, but it’s not! It’s a very fair question to ask a listing agent, because no one can represent a house better than an agent who lives and works in a particular community or area.
2) What was your volume last year?
An agent should be able to provide you numbers quickly if not right offhand. You should ask how many homes he or she sold in terms of dollars and units. Each market is unique, but in our local market a productive agent should sell minimally 15-20 units per year and should have a yearly volume in excess of $6 million.
3) What is your list price/sale price ratio?
Finding out whether an agent generally makes a sale close to the initial asking price will help you determine whether the agent is skilled at properly pricing homes.
4) What were the last three homes you sold – and when?
Were you the listing agent or the buyer’s agent? Since you are looking for an active agent, consistent production is a must. You’ll want to take into account the market, of course (when the market is sluggish, sales are slower), but in general, finding out about the agent’s recent sales history will help you assess his or her activity as well as the type of sales he or she has made. Also, listing agents and buyer’s agents employ different skill sets, so be sure to break down their production in terms of homes they listed and homes for which they represented the buyer.
5) When I contact you via phone, email, or text, who will be returning my messages?
Some agents list a house and then pass of the rest of the work to their “team.” If you want to be assured that you will be working directly with the agent for the duration of the sale process, this is a fair question to ask.
6) When I contact you and leave a message, how long will I wait before receiving a reply?
Agents who see a lot of activity may be otherwise engaged when you happen to call, but it shouldn’t take hours before you receive a response, particularly when the matter requires a timely reply. An agent who doesn’t get back to you in a timely manner might be too busy for your business. Real estate agents like anyone else, do have unexpected occurrences pop up, but your agent should communicate to you in advance anything he or she has scheduled (a trip, a seminar, a family event, etc.) that might take him or her out of the loop for any amount of time – and inform you whom you can contact in the interim.
7) Can you provide me with three references from sellers you’ve worked with?
An agent should be able to list sellers with whom he or she has worked recently. If you receive a list of references comprised of clients the agent worked with years
ago, that should be a red flag.
8) Do you have a vendor list of subcontractors and professionals who you can recommend?
This is a very valuable aspect to hiring an active, local agent — he or she has established relationships with professionals ranging from attorneys, movers, and stagers to engineers, electricians, painters, landscapers, and many other must have services. In a busy market, getting a response from a contractor can be tricky, but an active agent refers lots of business to others and will be able to get quick service that will benefit you.
9) Why should I hire you?
This is a great, challenging question. The answer should help you determine where your goals and the agent’s goals match up. If the answer doesn’t resonate with your vision for the sale, you need to interview some additional agents.
10) What is the most important quality you possess that makes you good at your job?
This is a great question because this is, after all, an interview. Gaining some insight into what drives your agent to strive for success can tell you a lot about him or her.
I assure you that I am fully able to thoroughly answer any question on the above list and I prepare for listing presentations like I would prepare for a job interview. Any qualified listing agent should be able to do the same in order to provide you with the facts that you need to make an informed decision about listing your home.
Go into your listing interview looking for an agent who is prepared, on time, can show you a plan to sell your house, and who listens to you. It usually (but not always) takes an agent at least two visits to your home to render an opinion on price, but you can assess his or her other qualities during that first meeting. You are going to spend a lot of time and money with the agent you hire, so make certain that you have a positive feeling about his or her ability to represent you and your home. A fruitful collaboration will ensure that you get the value you deserve for your investment, and you should be able to get a sense of that value right up front with a thorough listing interview.
Would you like to know more? Visit www.thriverealtors.com for more information!