Choosing a real estate agent is a momentous decision that typically follows tons of interviews and weighing the pros and cons of each candidate. What should you do to prepare for the meeting? What kind of questions should you ask? What should you look for in their proposal?
That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in this segment: steps you can take to prepare for your upcoming interviews with real estate agents; attributes you should be looking for in your candidates and how you can discretely attain that information; questions you should be asking and clarifying during the interview process; and possible red flags to keep an eye out for.
You may start with by talking with family and friends who’ve been through the process and see if they can refer you to a great agent they’ve previously worked with. Find out their name and contact information but also do your own digging to ensure they’ll work with your needs and criteria – after all, not everybody’s needs are identical. After you’ve compiled an initial list, you can call to set up a time for an initial meeting.
What should you do to prepare for your meeting with a potential candidate?
Sometimes, people think “doing your homework” should be done after the interview, but that isn’t the case at all. Both you and your potential agents should be preparing for the meeting – only in slightly different ways.
This basic list goes over some of the things you should be doing before the meeting. Throughout the process, you’ll need to trust your agent and one way trust happens, is by getting to know someone.
- Review each candidate’s online presence. Reviewing their website, social media pages, and online reviews are great ways to get to know the agent, without actually meeting the agent. How do things like an outdated website or blank social media pages affect your decision?
- Research their prior listings and sales and check out their marketing on current listings and marketing remarks. Do they work in your price range? How do you connect with their strategy?
- Look up the licensing. Do a little background check to ensure you’re working with by-the-books agent. This won’t catch everything, but it may help you weed out an agent or two.
- Compile a list of things that are important to you. Deal breakers and makers that will help you navigate through the meeting and settle with an agent that best suits your needs and wants. You can’t get where you’re going without the map or vision to get you there.
- Research recent closed sales in your neighborhood to help decipher an estimated home value. “But, shouldn’t the agent be doing that?” Yes, the agent will, but you’ll want to know how realistic that number is. Some people may inflate the number, to seem more attractive to a potential client. You can do this through sites like Trulia and Zillow.
Doing your research before the meeting can help you set up the right list of questions to ask or may incite additional questions (other than the one’s below). You may even consider doing this step before you initiate contact, but before the meeting is also an opportune time.
If you’re completely unfamiliar with the industry, consider talking with a friend or relative that has been through the process of selling their home.
What should you look for in your candidate’s proposal?
When searching for the real estate agent, there are tons of things you should consider, and many of them won’t be directly gone over in the interview, such as honesty, communication, negotiating skills and experience, and knowledge of your immediate area.
- A pricing proposal that reflects the current market and recent sales in your neighborhood – a pricing range is even better. No agent can predict exactly what your home will sell for, but they can use the current market climate to give an estimate.
- A marketing plan that reflects a mixture of online portals, open houses, and print marketing. A diverse marketing plan can help market to a broader audience, grabbing the eye of potential buyers. How creative are their marketing strategies? How do their strategies suit the needs of your property? Do their strategies work with you?
- Excellent communication from beginning to end. Many agents have their spiel for each home and practice before they go into a proposal, so candid communication in the interview may be limited to your questions. You should consider the phone, email, text, etc. communication from prior to the meeting and directly afterwards. As a vital component of the process, you’ll need a communicator that jives.
- As direct questions, such as “tell me of a time you’ve succeeded in a negotiation” or “have you ever had a client that was unhappy with you, and what went wrong?” These can help you decide if this person is the right for you, by how they respond to each question.
Oftentimes, it’s up to you to bring up these essential questions to ensure you’re the right fix. Ask insightful questions to gather the information you’re looking for. You’re looking for someone with a passion for the industry and a dedication to you and your property.
Questions you should ask your potential real estate agent?
Asking questions, and the agent’s subsequent answers, get everyone on the same page and will help weed out agents you don’t think will provide the kind of service you’re looking for. If your preferred method of contact is face-to-face, but they’re too busy in their business or with other clients to accommodate 100%, they may not be the best fit for your situation.
Asking the below questions may help you better decide the ideal agent for you:
- How long have you been selling real estate, and how familiar are you with my particular neighborhood? Or ask questions about other listing in the area or the area in general and see how they respond.
- What geographic areas and property types do you specialize in?
- Are you part of a team? What support do you offer?
- What is your preferred method of communication? Could you accommodate my preferred method? How often do you typically touch base after a home has hit the market?
- What do you think it’ll cost me to sell this property?
- What suggests do you have for optimizing curb appeal?
- Can you provide three references?
Potential red flags in a potential real estate agent:
- Suggesting an exorbitant price, way above any other proposal.
- An agent unfamiliar with the current real estate climate and the real estate landscape in your neighborhood.
- Your agent has little to no experience in your price range.
We’re all inclined to go with the one that suggests the most amount of money, but that shouldn’t be the reason you choose an agent. If you’re candidates are taking the market and area into consideration, those figures should largely be the same – or at least in the same ballpark. And if there are outliers, that may be a red flag.
Think of this interview like you’d be creating a partnership in a business. You’ll want to fully understand how that person works and thinks, and what they bring to the table – or sale of your home.
Each facet of the home selling process is about communication, dedication, and skillful negotiation and these questions and key points are vital for helping you decide upon the ideal agent for you!
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