As we move towards the end of 2017 and look forward to 2018, many homeowners are beginning to consider selling their home next year! And one of the first things you probably need to do is to decide who it is you are going to work with - not just to help you sell your home, but also to help you buy your next home!
So you decide to meet with 1 Realtor (or even 2 or 3). But, if you have never done this before, or it has been some time since you last sold a house, you may be wondering what you should be asking the Realtors you are interviewing! And, for all of us Realtors, you are interviewing us to help you with the sale of your home! You are entrusting the Realtor you select to help you with one of the biggest financial transaction you probably will do in 2018!
So here are some of the things you probably want to ask the Realtors you interview!
1. What is your experience? This is probably the most basic question you can ask - but I have been surprised over the years how many sellers I talk to don't actually ask this question! There is really no hard & fast answer to that - and you can have some Realtors who have not been in the business very long be just as good, or better, than some Realtors with lots of years of experience! But you should want to make sure that they have done enough sales to make you feel comfortable that they will be able to handle YOUR transaction and be able to handle any bumps that come up in the road to a successful closing!
2. What is your marketing plan? A house doesn't sell itself just because a Realtor put a sign in the yard, your house's information in MLS and put an ad in the newspaper! In today's market, there must be a marketing plan to go along with the sign and the MLS listing! Newspaper ads don't seem to be the way most people today are searching for homes, so it is important to know how they will present your home to potential buyers looking on the internet and driving by the home! Every Realtor has their own marketing plan, so it may be a good idea to see just what they will do to get your home sold!
3. Who do you represent on the transaction? In Virginia, a Realtor can represent both the buyer and seller on the same transaction! This is called Dual Agency! I personally don't care for dual agency - my feeling is that everything is good until it isn't! Then you have to wonder who is your Realtor representing in the transaction! So make sure you ask this question when interviewing Realtors - bumps in the road aren't expected, but they can happen and you want to make sure that your Realtor is representing your interests only if one does come along!
4. How are you going to communicated with me? There are lots of ways today for Realtors and sellers to communicate - some sellers prefer a phone call weekly, some prefer text, some prefer an update weekly via email! There are lots of different ways to communicate activity on your home - this is something you want to discuss with the Realtors you are considering!
5. What separates you from your competition? I like this question because everyone can give the standard answers that are in most of the books and ads we always see - that I can get you top dollar for your home, or I will sell your home for the most money in the least amount of time! But if a Realtor you are interviewing can give you a different answer - and you like their answer - this may be the Realtor for you! Perhaps they are good negotiators, they have been in the business long enough to be able to handle those problems that come up without having to stress you out about them, perhaps it is that they are honest and trustworthy and will let you know the truth even if it is not what you want to hear!
6. What is your commission? Commissions are negotiable between the seller and their Realtor! Some Realtors are willing to agree to a lower commission than what is standard in the area! But whatever commission the Realtor is going to charge, you should know just what you will be getting for the commission! Are you losing out on some marketing in exchange for the lower commission? But never decide on the Realtor you will be using just because they are going to offer you the lowest commission!
7. How did you prepare my Market Analysis? There are many different ways to do the market analysis, which is an analysis of what your home's value is based on the real estate activity in your area! There are a lot of things that go into the valuation and different Realtors will put together their Market Analysis in different ways! And then you have valuation models such as the Zestimate, which does nothing more than take what is in public records and uses a computer algorithm to come up with a value! A Realtor who puts very little time and effort into preparing your Market Analysis will come up with a very different result than the Realtor who really took the time to look at your home and at the competition as well as what has sold, is under contract and did not sell in your area! They will give you a very detailed explanation of just what is happening in your area to make sure that your home is being valued as competitively as can be!
8. What are the drawbacks of my home? No one likes to hear anything bad about their home - after all, this is your home, and you have many happy memories here! But you need to know what the negatives are about your home, so that they can be fixed if needed. And if they can't be fixed, then you certainly want to know what they are, because they will most likely be negatives in any feedback received after your home has been shown! It can affect your home's price and the offer that you ultimately get!
9. How are you going to help me sell my home AND help me buy my new home? This is definitely a question that should be discussed with your Realtor! In the Richmond market, your home may be one that as soon as your house goes on the market there may be multiple offers - which means you need to have a place to move to! But if the neighborhoods you are looking in are also very tight and go into multiple offers as soon as a house hits the market, you may not be able to make any offer contingent on the sale of your house! So you and your Realtor definitely need to have these conversations on how to handle the logistics of your sale!
10. Is this your full time job? A part time Realtor may not be able to devote the kind of attention to the marketing of your home and to keeping up with any changes that are happening in the market! They may not be able to be reached immediately, which could impact the ability of an agent to show your house, to get offers presented in a timely manner to you, or to even spend the time needed to resolve any issues that come up or make changes to your listing quickly! Being a part time Realtor should not disqualify a Realtor from listing your home, but you should know this up front and to see how the Realtor will handle your listing (are they part of a team or is there another Realtor who will step in when they aren't available).
There are lots of other questions you may want to ask the Realtors you are interviewing - these are my top 10 questions!
Thinking of selling your home? Thinking of buying a home? Have a question? Feel free to contact me - I would be happy to help! Have a great day!