Selecting a real estate agent to handle a large financial transaction can be a daunting process. In a competitive environment among real estate companies, and amid a confusing marketplace, it can be very frustrating to know where to begin.
A good place to start is by opening a dialogue with each potential agent. While chemistry between you and the real estate professional is important, it is not the only variable to consider. The history of the agent’s company, the agent’s individual success rate and professionalism, should impact the decision making process. Here are some guidelines and questions that can help you open any communication with a potential agent partner and screen out the best for you.
No 1: What Percent of The Company’s Listings Have Sold in The Last 12 Months?
Ideally, you should partner with a sales agent whose company has a high percentage of completed transactions within the local market. While this number will vary depending upon how active the local real estate market is, the higher percentage, the better.Tips:
Top real estate agents either have their own brokerage business, or are affiliated with an established real estate company such as ColdWell Banker, 21 Century and etc. And top real estate agents don’t work alone, they leverage their company’s resources and networks to help their clients sell fast.
For example, an agent can send free email blast to his/her office about his/her recent listing – this can reach out to a lot of ready buyers as they are working with his/her colleagues in the office; the larger the office and the company is (thus more affiliated agents and buyers), the better chance that this listing will sell fast.
No 2. What was the average amount of time it took to sell those listings?
The answer to this question also depends upon the local economy. However, the answer can help you get a better understanding of the market and set up a reasonable expectation; it can also test out the efficiency and dedication of the agent and his/her team – why is it important? You don’t want to work with an agent who does not care about a client’s time frame and expectation.
Top real estate agents usually will be comfortable to tell you an estimated time frame for a particular house to be sold, if a listing price is proposed and agreed.
However, the very best agents will not just promise you to sell fast, but will try to apprehend all your needs and best benefits – sometimes before you think about it. Things like attorney, closing date, moving/relocation agenda, plan for kids (if you have), & etc. will all be in his/her consideration to ensure you can get a satisfying transaction with ease.
No. 3 What was the average sales price?
This question is a little tricky. However, it can help you understand the agent’s past listings – the types, diversities, and price ranges. Some agents are more experienced with “luxury” homes, while others may have sold more flipping houses. It doesn’t mean you should choose an agent just based on his/her particular listing types, but looking into the figures can help you understand the agent’s pricing strategy and market aumen. It can also provide you a list of comparable homes from which you can set up a realistic expectation for your listing price.
No 4. What was your list-price to sale-price ratio?
A often neglected question yet an important question. If you found an agent had a lot of sales records with significant differences between original prices and sold prices: be watchful – if sold prices are significantly higher, should be fine and a strategy, feel free to ask and discuss in details. If sold prices are significantly lower, inquiry the reason: you don’t want to be quoted very high but ended selling at a much lower price.
As a seller, you care no other things more than your home value and you always want to know “what is my house worth” when you sit with an agent – this is understandable, but you will not get the answer you want from your first appointment.
A truly responsible agent will need sometime to walk around the house, inspect things that you may not noticed, conduct a CMA (comparative marketing analysis) based on at least 3-6 months’ data, and do many other works depending on various conditions of your house, before she/he can suggest you a number. And the number should not be the only aspect that you take into consideration for your agent partnership.
Whereas, the questions listed here are much more strategic and informative to help you determine which real estate agent is right for you and your homeownership goals:
- Percent of Listings Have Sold in The Last 12 Months
- Average Amount of Time It Took to Sell Those Listings
- The Average Sales Price
- List-Price To Sale-Price Ratio