1. Have you sold in my neighborhood recently? Now it’s not mandatory that your realtor have experience in your neighborhood, but it sure does help. A realtor who has recently sold or listed in your area will have a good handle of what your neighbors homes are going for and the condition they are in. He should know how your home stacks up to the competition, and this is a great benefit when it comes to pricing your home appropriately
2. What is your average Sold Price vs. List Price? If your realtor does not have an answer to that then maybe they just haven’t sold enough homes to have an average. If they are seasoned and don’t have an answer then they are not paying close enough attention to the details that count. A realtor that overprices will show a record of longer (DOM) days on market and wider spreads from their listing price. A listing agent’s goal is to maximize the value of their client’s home, but not at the cost of losing potential buyers. It is important in this regard for both the seller and listing agent to work with the facts only. The numbers will not lie. The heart can be deceiving. This happens often with beautiful homes in the wrong neighborhood.
3. What does your home marketing plan look like? As the old saying goes, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”. A good realtor will have a well thought out proven plan to sell your home. It is very important for a seller to know what is coming next throughout the listing agreement.
4. When was the last time a listing contract expired with you? Why didn’t it sell? If a realtor tells you that he has never had a listing expire on them, then they probably have not had many listings. All realtors eventually have a listing not sell. That is going to happen. The important thing is to learn from that home why it did not sell. Maybe the home was priced above market and the seller refused to accept a price reduction? Maybe the home marketing photos were poorly taken and not enough potential buyers were interested and thus never walked the home? Maybe the home was hard to show because the owner turned too many showing requests down? Whatever the case was, it is important to know how your realtor learned from that and now handles those type of situations.
5. What kind of follow through can I expect of you when we have an interested party? Recently I gained a great client from a referral. They were unhappy with their previous realtor because of poor communication and what they internally felt was a failure to negotiate properly. I realized that the homes they had viewed were well suited to them and could have been secured if only the previous realtor worked hard to reel in the fish. Whether you’re a listing agent (sign in the yard person) or a buying agent (representing the buyer), you have a responsibility to negotiate to the best of your ability. I liken a negotiation to fishing. Your marketing is your tackle box. A realtor needs to know what bait works best to get the right sized fish in the boat. When a fish is on the hook you need to make sure that you work your hardest to reel that fish in for your client. If the line breaks, then be ready with the net! Negotiation skills and tenacity are the hallmarks of a great realtor. Make sure your realtor has them.