Chances are, you may know many Realtors® already, and likely, they are all trying to win your business. So, how do you choose the RIGHT agent for YOU? Ultimately, the key is to trust your gut and pick someone you feel comfortable with and sharing intimate details of your financials with. Think of it as establishing a level of trust, almost as if you were dating or engaged, simply because you will be sharing A LOT of information with them!
How do you go about establishing that level of trust, and what are the right kinds of questions you should be asking? It’s a great time to sell a home in the Prosper and Celina area in Greater DFW, so I’ve put together this informative article to provide you with a list of questions, along with tips for each, on how to interview real estate agents when getting ready to sell your home. Let’s get right to it!
How long have you been in business?
The agent’s answer to this question will give you some clue to their track record. If they’ve been in business a long time, then you can probably conclude that they’re managing a stable and respectable business. They also probably know the area really well and they’ll have a deep network of agents and other real estate professionals to draw from during your work with them.
How well do you know the area?
Here’s your chance to test them on their knowledge of your real estate market. Ideally, your agent will have lived in and around the area for a long time. They’ll know all the hidden gems, they’ll know the buyer taste trends, and they’ll have a firm grasp on housing market and economics data. This is actually even more critical when the market is hot, such as in the Prosper and Celina area in Greater DFW.
What sets you apart?
You’re comparing multiple agents to find the best one for you. There’s no reason to hide that. This question gives the agent a chance to sell you on their business a little bit and at the same time it gives you more of the information you need to compare and contrast them against the other agents you’re talking to.
How many clients do you represent at a time?
The subtext in this question is simple: will you make time for me and my needs? You want to get the agent to divulge information about how they handle their workload and get a good idea about their team’s capacity to meet your needs.
For instance, if an agent is working too many deals at once, you’re liable to work more with their team and their assistants than with the agent themselves. At the same time, you don’t want to be the agent’s only client because that could be a sign that their business is slow.
Listen carefully to how the agents answer this question. Ideally, they’ll make you feel comfortable and confident that they’ll give you a ton of attention no matter how many other clients they have.
Who would I be working with?
The real estate agent on the phone may or may not be the person you deal with on a day-to-day basis. You need to know who’s on their team, who your point person will be, and how you can reach them with questions so that there are no surprises.
What’s your marketing plan, especially online?
Every agent takes a slightly different approach to marketing a property but these days the internet is the biggest elephant in the room. Homebuyers’ use of the web in their property hunt is nearly universal. According to the National Association of Realtors’® 2020 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, 84% of all buyers use the internet “frequently” in the search for their dream home.
Needless to say, if people can’t find your property online, they won’t buy it.
A top real estate agent will have a clear, concise, and proven strategy for tackling Zillow, Google, Facebook, and the rest. Simply posting your listing to their blog won’t cut it anymore.
How do you handle prep work and staging?
Selling your house requires a boat-load of elbow grease. Your agent should guide you through all of the prep work, connect you with verified professionals, and provide staging advice and even staging service.
You need to find out what they think is necessary, what they do as part of the deal, and what they won’t do. Staging and marketing go hand-in-hand, so you want to make sure that the agent is providing you with a level of comfort and confidence in these particular areas.
How deep is your professional network?
Contractors, designers, stagers, home inspectors, pest-control, window-cleaners, painters, you name it—your agent needs to know a guy, vouch for their work, and fit your budget.
How often will we be in touch?
Get a feel for how accessible they will be throughout the buying or selling process, and if they have an office administrator helping them field communication efforts.
Do you have any buyers / properties in mind already?
Now, this question is key. The agent’s answer could make your decision right here and now. If they’ve got a buyer already interested in your property, or if they’ve got a few properties for you to look at that day, you know they’re on top things.
What do you think will be our biggest challenge?
I like to throw this question in to double check the agent’s expertise. Every house, every housing market, and every buyer and seller come with a unique set of challenges. A good real estate agent will see them coming and tackle them head on.
You’re looking for honesty and humility here—the more straightforward they are about what you’re up against, the easier it will be to address the issue.
What kind of guarantees do I get?
In general, you should watch out for agents who “guarantee” that they’ll place you in a home or sell your home in a specific number of days. An honest agent won’t promise what they can’t deliver on.
How long do I have to review the documents before I sign anything?
You need to take your time with this decision and your agent should not pressure you into signing anything before you’re ready to start.
How much do you charge and how flexible is that?
Real estate agents generally work on commission. The commission pays for your agent’s assistance in pricing your home, staging and marketing it to the masses, and negotiating with the other parties in order to get you the best possible price and terms, among other services. It covers the listing agent and buyer’s agent fees (it’s customary for the seller to pay both).
According to 2021 data, the average real estate commission in Texas is 5.78%, but there’s a ton of variability here. You need to end this interview with a clear understanding of the agent’s cost structure.
This is also the time to bring up your own personal budget. How much are you willing to spend and on what? Both parties need to be clear on the financials to see if there’s a fit. Like most things in life, you typically get (or SHOULD get) what you pay for.
Can you send over some client references?
If performance data and online reviews aren’t enough and you want to do a little more digging, you should ask the agent to provide you contact information for a handful of their previous clients.
You will want to speak with clients who dealt with similar properties and in the same area. References and the stories they tell can often serve as tie-breakers if you’re stuck debating over two or three stellar candidates.
If I pick you, what’s the first thing we need to do to get started?
Let’s get this show on the road! Before you hang up the phone, you need an actionable next step and your agent should be more than happy to provide one.
This list of questions may also help you think of some other questions. At the end of the conversation, you should expect to have established a level of trust and comfort, along with that gut instinct. If you don’t feel like you can check all of those boxes, then perhaps that agent isn’t the right one for you!
If you’re considering selling a home in the Prosper and Celina area in Greater DFW, I would love to be included in your agent interview process! I think you would agree that establishing a level of trust and comfort is the most important, and hardest part---I’d like to make that the easy part for you.