Questions To Ask BEFORE You Hire a Real Estate Agent

Just like my teacher used to say “there are no stupid questions”…this holds true here. Your home is one of your most important assets so finding the right real estate agent is one of the most important decisions you will make before buying or selling a home.  You should feel comfortable asking agents anything and everything, especially prior to signing a contract with them.  Below are just a few of the important questions that should be asked before signing a contract BUT a simple internet search will give you more questions than can be asked in a life time! This list will give you a great starting point.

WHAT IS THE AGENTS MARKETING PLAN FOR SELLING YOUR HOME? One of the biggest advantages of hiring a real estate agent is increased access to resources for marketing your home. Immediately upon signing with you, your agent should post your house on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) but what other venues will they use? The most effective and most increasingly popular venue for selling homes is the internet. More than half of buyers use the internet to search for homes. Does the agent plan on holding any open houses?  How soon and how many? Depending on your needs, the agent should have a variety of options to offer regarding marketing your property.

HOW WILL THE AGENT KEEP YOU UPDATED?  Find out what kinds of news you’ll be updated on, the frequency and how they will be communicated to you? If you’re a buyer, there are a number of details to handle, even after a seller has accepted your offer. This includes home inspection, potential re-inspection, mortgage paperwork, title search, title insurance, repairs and other items. Will you get a weekly update, or just on an as-needed basis? Will it be with a phone call, an email or both? You may have your own preferences, and the agent may or may not accommodate them.

HOW DOES THE AGENT GET PAID? During the interview, you’ll want to talk money. Some agent’s charge a flat fee and some agents do not. Typically if they do not charge a flat fee they will take a percentage of the home’s final sale price. What percentage are they suggesting? The typical fee is around 6% of the selling price.

DOES THE AGENT HAVE A CANCELLATION POLICY? What if after signing you hear that your neighbor’s friend is interested in buying your house? Or, if you’re buying a home, you stumble upon one on your own. Find out if the agent will still be entitled to the full commission/flat fee and what cancellation fees may or may not apply.

FINALLY, ASK THE AGENT WHAT PROBLEMS THEY SEE IN YOUR HOME THAT MAY AFFECT THE SELLING PROCESS? If the agent tells you what sounds like legitimate drawbacks, then they may be a keeper.  On the other hand, if they don’t point out what you already know are flaws, this could be an indication that they may have only a half-hearted dedication to selling your home.