10 Questions To Ask Your Realtor®
1. Are you a full-time professional Realtor®? How long have
you worked full time in real estate? What professional designations do
Knowing whether or not your Realtor® practices real estate on a full-time
basis can give you a piece of the puzzle in foreseeing scheduling conflicts
and, overall, his or her commitment to your transaction. As with any profession,
the number of years a person has been in the business does not necessarily
reflect the level of service you can expect, but it is a good starting
point for your discussion. The same issue can apply to professional designations.
2. Do you have a personal assistant, team, or staff to handle
different parts of the sales transaction? What are their names and how
will each of them help me in my transaction? How do I communicate with
It is not uncommon for high real estate sales producers to hire people
to work for them or with them. They typically work on a referral basis,
and, as their businesses grow, they must be able to deliver the same or
higher quality service to more clients.
You may want to be clear about who on the team will take part in your
transaction, and what role each person will play. You may even want to
meet the other team members before you decide to work with the team overall.
If you needed help with a certain part of your home sale, who should you
talk to and how would you communicate? If you have a question about fees
on your closing statement, who would handle that? Who will show up to
your closing? These are just a few of the many important considerations
in working with a team.
3. Do you and/or your company each have a website that will provide
me with useful information for research, services, and how you work with
buyers? Can I have those Web addresses now?
Many homebuyers prefer to search online for homes and home buying information.
There are certain privacy and comfort levels that you might appreciate
in starting a preliminary search this way, and often it is just a matter
of convenience, having 24-hour access to information. By searching the
Realtor®'s and the company's Web sites, you will get a clear picture
of how much work you would be able to accomplish online, and whether or
not that suits your preferences.
4. How will you keep in contact with me during the buying process,
and how often?
It's a good idea for you to set your expectations reasonably in accordance
with how your Realtor® conducts business. You may be looking for an
agent to call, fax, or email you every days to tell you about prospective
buyers who have seen your home. On the other hand, your Realtor® may
have access to systems that will notify you automatically each time a
new visitor tours your home (which could happen several times a day or
several times a week). Asking this extra question can help you to reconcile
your needs with your Realtor®'s systems, which makes for a far more
5. Can you explain one thing that you do that other agents don't
do that ensures I'm getting top dollar for my property? What is your average
market time versus other agents' average market time?
Marketing skills are learned, and sometimes a real estate professional's
unique method of research and delivery make the difference between whether
or not a property sells quickly. For example, an agent might research
the demographics of your neighborhood and present to you a target market
list for direct marketing purposes.
6. Will you give me names of past clients who will give references
Interviewing a Realtor® to help you buy a home can be very similar
to interviewing someone to work in your office. Contacting a Realtor®'s
references can be a reliable way for you to understand how he or she works,
and whether or not this style is compatible with your own.
7. Do you have a performance guarantee? If I am not satisfied
with your performance, can I terminate our listing agreement?
Understand that, especially in the heavily regulated world of real estate,
it can be increasingly difficult for a Realtor® to offer a performance
guarantee. Sometimes you may find a Realtor® who is willing to guarantee
that if you are dissatisfied in any way with their service they will terminate
your listing agreement. If your Realtor® does not have a performance
guarantee available in writing, it is not an indication that he or she
is not committed to perform. Realtors® at Keller Williams Realty understand
the importance of win-win business relationships, and that the Realtor®
does not benefit if the client does not also benefit.
8. How will you get paid? How are your fees structured? May I
have that in writing?
This is an issue that can also be related to agency. In many areas, the
seller still customarily pays all Realtor® commissions through the
listing broker. Sometimes, Realtors® will have other small fees, such
as administrative or special service fees, that are charged to clients,
regardless of whether they are buying or selling. Be aware of the big
picture before you sign any agreements. Ask for an estimate of costs from
any agent you contemplate employing.
9. How would you develop pricing and marketing strategies for
our home? Will you commit to the marketing strategy in writing?
Pricing a home correctly is the single most important factor in determining
if a home sells quickly, or at all. Although location and condition also
effect the selling process, price is a primary factor. Access to all current
property information is essential, and sometimes a pre-appraisal will
help. Ask your agent where he or she obtained the information to create
the market analysis, and whether your agent included For Sale By Owner
homes, foreclosed homes, and bank-owned sales in that list.
10. What will you do and what will you not do to sell my home?
Who determines where and when my home is marketed/ promoted? Who pays
for your advertising?
Ask your real estate agent to present to you a clear marketing and advertising
budget, and how those dollars will be spent. Ask if there are other forms
of advertisement/ marketing media that are also available but not mentioned
in the budget/plan, and who pays for those. Request samples of the various
media that your agent proposes (such as Internet Web sites, print magazines,
and local publications).