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7 Questions to Ask an Agent Before Hiring Them to Sell your Home

If you're looking to sell your home, then you have likely worked with a Real Estate Agent at some point before. Maybe you had an awesome experience and plan to use that same Agent again? Great! Here's the thing, though — it's important that you make sure that your Agent who did a fantastic job helping you buy your home has that same awesome set of skills for selling a home. While you may think buying and selling go hand-in-hand (and they can!), that's not always the case. Here is a helpful list of questions to ask any Real Estate Agent you might select to sell your home.

questions to ask when hiring a listing agent to sell your home

1. How many sellers have you worked with before?

Unfortunately simply holding a Real Estate License doesn't automatically make for a great Listing Agent. Experience, however, is what you should look for when hiring an Agent. It's a good idea to ask how many sellers the Agent has both worked with before and how many of those resulted in the successful sale of their home. This will be a helpful indication of what experience the Agent will be bringing to the table when selling your home.

2. How do you plan to market my home for sale?

The right Listing Agent should be able to articulate their marketing strategy for your home. They should be able to show you what methods they will use to market and promote your home as well as provide you with some statistics on what results they have achieved from prior home sales. At a minimum, their marketing plan should include:

  • Professional signage
  • Professional photos for listing
  • MLS exposure with distribution to major home search sites
  • Email campaign announcing the new listing
  • Social media exposure
  • Print flyers
  • Open houses, when applicable

Keep in mind that every home is different and past results do not always indicate how quickly your home will sell. Different home conditions, age, neighborhoods and market timing play a significant role in your home sale. And the sales price plays the biggest role in most cases. So it's a good idea to have an open conversation with your chosen Agent about how your home stacks up.

ask a listing agent how they will market your home

3. How much will we list my house for?

In most cases, the best thing an Agent can do is show you "comps" for your area and then recommend a price range for your home. Comps are the industry term for comparable homes that have recently sold. Analyzing these statistics can help your Agent advise you on a suggested price range. Be leary if an Agent you interview suggests a price range much higher than what other Agents have presented. It could result in your home sitting on the market much longer than necessary. In the end, the listing price is your decision.

4. What is your commission charge?

Be wary of an Agent willing to work for much less than other competitors. Unless there is a reason it makes sense (maybe they are a family friend... which by the way, does not always mean they are the best agent for you) the right Agent should feel confident in their abilities and not be willing to drastically reduce a commission just because you ask. Instead, an experienced and confident Agent should be able to outline all of the ways they will assist you through the process — ultimately giving you more comfort in the justification for their commission.

Remember, if an Agent is willing to give up part of their earned commission easily — their own livelihood... what will they do when it comes time to negotiate on your behalf with the Buyer's Agent and Buyer wanting to purchase your home?

Also, keep in mind that the Agent does not personally receive all of the commission you see on the listing agreement. All commissions are usually split among several parties after closings. Usually, the commission is split with their broker right off the bat and if they have assistants or other agents on their team helping, the commission is split again. Your Listing Agent will receive the remainder. And since Agents are independent contractors in most cases, each Agent is usually responsible for covering all of their upfront marketing, admin and travel expenses — taking the risk that your home will sell. (Here's a breakdown of how Real Estate Agents are paid.)

So before you are heavy-handed with negotiating the commission percentage with your Listing Agent, just consider if your boss or client asked you to do a stellar job but told you they wanted you to cut your paycheck to do so. It's just food for thought.

5. How long do you estimate it will take for my home to sell?

Although this is a loaded question and it's impossible to predict, the Agent should be able to give you some local statistics that give insight into what you can expect if everything goes smoothly. They can share with you the "average DOM — days on the market" in your area.

However, sales price is THE strongest factor of how quickly your home will sell. So if you are in a time-sensitive situation to move, you may want to consider listing your home for a lower sales price just to increase interest and potential offers. If you're not in a time crunch and you can afford the carrying costs and time on the market, you may decide to list your home at a price directly in line with homes similar to yours.

questions to ask when hiring a listing agent to sell your home

It's your decision to make based on your personal situation. Your Agent is there to give you their best recommendations to you based on the sales activity they are observing in your current local market. You'll also need to be willing to adjust the sales price if you're not getting enough showing traffic to your home. The right Agent for you will keep you in the loop on the showing activity so you can reduce the sales price if need be.

Their goal is to always maximize your sales price but keep in mind that it's their job to inform you of any market feedback that's affecting your home sale. So it's good to keep an open mind and remember that you will be working as a team with your Agent to get the job done.

6. What surprised you and what did you learn from your last home sale?

Simply put, this question will give good insight into the Agent and how they learn and handle unexpected situations. It's a good gauge of their desire to keep honing their skills and of how introspective they can be of their own past work with the goal of improving future sales for their clients.

7. Why should I hire you?

Although this might seem like an awkward question to ask, remember you are hiring the Agent to perform a service for you and they should take no offense but instead have a solid answer for you. The right Agent will be able to clearly communicate with you what makes them the different in the way they treat their clients, market your property and the experience they have to offer.

While you may want to get your home listed and on the market as quickly as possible, simply taking the extra time to interview a few Listing Agents can drastically affect your experience. Choosing an experienced and confident Real Estate Agent to have by your side will give you the peace of mind that throughout the ups and downs of selling your home they will go the extra mile to ensure you have the best possible experience.

Want more advice about all things home — including homebuying or selling advice? Nestiny is a great place for homebuyer education and to help you gauge how ready you are to buy a home. Journey Homeward allows you to enter all your wants and needs while the True Affordability Tool will break down your budget, showing what you can comfortably afford. You will also receive a Ready Report that will give you a vital head start in the home buying journey, saving you valuable time and money.

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