The Top Questions To Ask Your Listing Agent
Hiring the right real estate agent to successfully list and sell your property requires a diligent interview process. The following questions and answers will help guide you through your search for finding the best agent who can meet your communication needs and ultimately gain your trust and confidence.
Why should I sell my property?
However, we can provide you with a ton of information about local real estate market trends, neighborhood comps, the general buyer/seller atmosphere and other real estate related topics that can help you make a confident and informed decision.
The last thing we want to do is indirectly persuade you to make a decision based on what “we” think is best for you.
There are a few more specific questions listed below that relate to this topic that you should be asking.
How do I prepare my property before putting it on the market?
Clean up your entryway, repaint or replace the front door, open up your floor plan by eliminating unnecessary furniture or decorations and clear the counter tops in the kitchen, as well as closets and cabinets.
There are a number of low-cost and DIY home improvement projects that will also help improve the perceived value of your property. From a coat of fresh paint to a minor kitchen renovation to replace dated appliances or counters, a few basic upgrades may help you make a lasting impression with a buyer.
Obviously, it also depends on whether or not we’re in a seller’s or buyer’s market.
What’s the difference between a Buyer’s and Seller’s market?
Everyone wants to “buy low and sell high,” but the truth of the matter is there is no way that can happen for everyone, every time.
Seller’s Market = More buyers than sellers (or available properties)
Buyers Market = More sellers (or available properties) than buyers
When there is limited inventory that multiple buyers are competing for, then sellers generally have the advantage of accepting the most favorable offer they receive. An experienced real estate agent representing a buyer knows how to present attractive offers that may be considered by a seller.
Can I sell if I am underwater on my mortgage?
What is a Short Sale?
The lender often agrees to a short sale because they know if they take the property back through foreclosure they will often incur an even greater loss.
Should I rent this property or sell?
We’ll obviously need to do a little more research before we can come up with an answer that makes sense based on true facts and figures.
Your decision of hiring a property management company vs playing landlord is something to consider with this question as well.
What happens during a listing appointment?
a) if selling fits into your overall financial goals
b) what the implications of selling may be as they relate to real estate
c) what the current listings are priced at
d) an estimated sales price
e) what we need to do to prepare the property
f) immediate housing plans after or during the sale
If there is a decision to move forward, then the seller and agent sign a series of papers that define the nature of the agent/seller relationship and responsibilities.
How much should I sell my property for?
The real estate agent’s job is to help guide you in this decision based on what the market will dictate, taking into consideration your other needs such as speed, viewing visibility or whether or not we have to negotiate a short sale with the bank.
Be cautious though of agents who “allow” you to set a price higher than what may be reasonable in the current market.
For example, if two agents recommend a listing price of $400,000, but a third thinks that $550,000 is achievable, then it may be apparent that someone didn’t do their homework. Or even worse, they are trying to lock you into a contract.
What has changed with selling in recent years?
Between 2002 and 2007 there were mortgage programs that fit just about every borrower’s credit, income and down payment scenario. Lending restrictions are tighter in this market, which has made it challenging to sell specific types of properties at certain price ranges.
Agents who don’t understand this new mortgage lending environment can negatively impact a seller who accepts offers from borrowers who may not qualify, or denying offers from borrowers based on a loan program the agent doesn’t understand.
For example, an FHA 203k or other related Renovation Lending mortgage program will allow a buyer to purchase a property and finance in a certain amount of upgrades. Because these government insured/endorsed mortgage programs are not widely known by most real estate agents, some sellers spend thousands of their own dollars preparing a home for show when they could have instead marketed to a different type of buyer who would have preferred to add their own paint, carpet and kitchen upgrades themselves.
The business of short sales has overwhelmed the industry as well. Dealing with banks, negotiating through attorneys and working with a seller under stressful life circumstances.
Besides the real estate inventory and buying trends, the process of actually marketing properties has drastically changed.
Buyers can now preview all available homes online without having to contact a real estate agent first. This new technology requires listing agents to step up their game and provide better photos, video, property descriptions and well search engine optimized web pages that can be spread throughout the social media channels.
If an agent’s value proposition is simply to place your home on the MLS, throw a sign in the yard, buy an ad in the newspaper (are those still around?) and commit to a few open houses, then you may want to consider interviewing a few other agents.
What will I need to leave behind in the property after it is sold?
Unless agreed to in the purchase contract, the seller leaves all items that are fixed to the property, which includes lights, built-in appliances, dishwashers and other upgrades.
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