When Choosing A Listing Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Property, Make Sure They Know How to Negotiate Like a Tiger!

Selling a home is one of the biggest sales you’ll make in your lifetime. When deciding who is going to help you with such an crucial transaction, it’s important to assess the skills and background of the individual and the team that’s going to guide you through the process.  The Dawn Thomas Team of Dreyfus Sotheby’s International Realty has developed the following questions to assist you in making the correct decision:

We are happy to provide you with this list of questions via e-mail.  Just let us know.

1. How long have you been in residential real estate sales?  Is it your full-time job?

While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate — like many other professions — is mostly learned on the job.  Years in the real estate business really doesn’t mean much if the practitioner is part-time or doesn’t do any business.  It’s common knowledge that the requirements for obtaining a real estate license in the State of California are currently very low!

2. What designations or licenses do you hold?

Designations such as a Broker’s license, CLHMS, CIPS, CRS®, and GRI which require that agents take additional, specialized real estate training, are held only by a small fraction of real estate practitioners.   Holding these designations is similar to having a masters degree in real estate.

3. How many homes did you and your real estate brokerage sell last year?

By asking this question, you’ll get a good idea of how much experience the practitioner has.

4. How many days did it take you to sell the average home? How did that compare to the overall market?

The Real Estate Agent you interview should have these facts on hand, and be able to present market statistics from the local Multiple Listing Service to provide a comparison.

5. How close to the list prices of the homes you sold were the final sale prices?  In other words, describe your negotiations experience.

When selecting the professional who will be working towards netting you as much money on your sale as possible, trusting your Real Estate Agent and his/her market knowledge are very important.   His/her ability to negotiate on your behalf is, by far, the most important reason to hire a real estate professional.  How he/she articulates the answer to this one question will give you a good idea of how skilled a negotiator the Real Estate Agent is.    The percentage of how close the list price of a home is to the sales price is known as the average list price to sales price ratio.   A Real Estate Agent should know his/her numbers cold at all times.

6. What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home?

You don’t want someone who’s going to put a For Sale sign in the yard and hope for the best. Look for someone who has aggressive and innovative approaches, and knows how to market your property competitively on the Internet.  Buyers today want information fast, so it’s important that your Real Estate Agent is responsive and provides exposure for your property on multiple websites and through several online mediums.  See our sample marketing plan.

For luxury properties and estates, custom marketing plans are imperative as each home is unique and will likely attract niche buyers.  

Your luxury home needs a custom marketing plan, so don’t settle for less!

7. Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction?

While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where the practitioner’s obligations lie. Your Real Estate Agent should explain his or her agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party.

8. Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage on my next home purchase, make home repairs to my current property, and help with other things I need done?

Because Real Estate Agents are immersed in the industry, they’re wonderful resources as you seek lenders, home improvement companies, and other home service providers.  Practitioners should generally recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with or receive compensation from any of the providers.

9. What type of support and supervision does your brokerage office provide to you?

Having resources such as in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, and assistance with technology can help an agent sell your home.

10. What’s your business philosophy?

While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the agent and determine how closely the agent’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.

11. How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently?

Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but how you judge the response will reflect your own desires. Do you want updates twice a week or do you prefer not to be bothered unless there’s a hot prospect? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit?

12. Could you please give me the names and contact information of your three most recent clients?

Ask recent clients if they would work with this Real Estate Agent again. Find out whether they were pleased with the communication style, follow-up, and work ethic of the Real Estate Agent.   If contact information for previous clients is not available, be sure to check endorsements and reviews on websites such as LinkedInGoogleYelpMerchantCircle, and Facebook.

Bottom Line:  Does your Real Estate Agent have the market experience, tools,
and skills to negotiate like a tiger on your behalf?