A critical decision when selling or buying a home is choosing your realtor. It’s the first and arguably the most critical step in the process. Some might choose a realtor because they are a friend-of-a-friend or a family member, but this could be a big mistake.
When buying or selling a home, you want to be working with the best. The problem is that there are hundreds (in some regions, thousands) of licensed realtors. How do you pick the right one? Well, you should start by knowing the questions to ask! Here are a few things that you might want to bring up when you are interviewing a realtor.
Are You a Full-Time or a Part-Time Realtor?
There can be a perception that real estate is a great part-time job. And that might be true for a realtor. But not necessarily if you are buying or selling a home.
Becoming a top producing realtor, like Regalway Homes realtors, is hard work, and it’s unlikely that a part-time agent will be able to invest the time, money, training, and effort required to achieve this. Be sure to ask this question in an interview, as their answer could instantly cross them out as a possibility.
You should also ask them how long they’ve been working in real estate. A lower number here shouldn’t be a “make-or-break” metric of if you should hire them. After all, there are lots of young hotshots who are rapidly rising in the real estate world! Their experience should just be something you keep in mind when making your decision.
How Many Homes Did You Close Last Year?
When choosing a realtor, you want to get a feel for how successful they are in their field. There is no better metric of this than asking how many homes they closed in the previous year.
Be sure to make your decision based on their specialties. Some realtors are skilled at selling homes, others in helping their clients purchase them, but they often work on “both sides of the aisle.” Ask a prospective realtor how many homes they sold last year when working with buyers, as well as how many deals they closed for buyers. This isn’t to say that a realtor can’t be skilled in both, but if their ratio is 10:1 homes purchased vs homes sold, you might not want to bring them on to help sell yours.
And a word of advice here: Don’t just settle for their word on it. Follow up by asking for the addresses and prices of the homes. This is easily verifiable information, so any discrepancies between what they said and what you find will likely rule them out. Take a look if there is a gap between the listing price and the homes’ sales price. If it’s significant, then the listing price could have been unrealistic. If you’re looking for an agent to sell your home, you may want to take a look at how long those properties were on the market. If all of them took years, that could be a red flag.
What is Your Commission?
It’s surprising how many people don’t know how a realtor is paid. Generally (in Ontario), the seller will pay a 5% commission which will be split between the buyer and listing agent.
Why does the seller pay that commission? Because the selling agent will determine how much the home is listed for, and their work should make sure that price is met.
In other words, you get what you pay for.
What’s Your List-Price-to-Sales-Price Ratio?
Something that differences that separates an ok realtor from a fantastic realtor is their list-price-to-sales-price ratio.
Selling a home often comes down to a negotiation between your realtor and the buyer’s agent. They are trying to get the price down as low as possible. If you’re selling your home, your realtor should be trying to negotiate a sales price as close as possible to the list price. If you’re buying a home, your realtor should be trying to get the price down to as low as possible.
Do You Have a Proven Marketing Plan?
Real estate is a constantly evolving industry. It was only a few years ago when 4K photos and drone footage were considered to be extravagances. Now, they are almost standard with every listing.
If you’re looking for a realtor to sell your home, their marketing plan will often determine how long your property will be on the market and the price it will go for. Ask them for details about their marketing methods. Will they use direct mail? On what platforms will your home be found online? Will they help you stage your home to put it in its best light?
Another significant part of their marketing plan should be their familiarity with your area. If they have never sold a house in the area where you live, that could dramatically impact their marketing success. You want someone who knows the area and can communicate it’s benefits to potential buyers.
Can You Provide Me With References?
Just like if you were hiring an employee (which you sort of are), you want to make sure you get third-party confirmation about their abilities. Asking your potential realtor for a few references will give you information about what it’s really like to work with them/confirm what they told you.
You might also want to search online, looking for reviews on the realtor. Keep in mind that online reviews sometimes slant towards the negative (it’s just the nature of the internet). However, you can still often find valuable info about their work ethic and communication skills. Speaking of that...
How Often Will We Be Communicating?
Nothing is worse than being left in the dark, especially when it comes to selling or buying a home.
A hallmark of a great realtor is their ability to communicate with their clients. Your realtor should be able to contact you through your preferred method: email, text, or phone. You shouldn’t be the one continually reaching out to them for updates. Instead, they should be keeping you apprised of what’s going on with your property, even if the answer is, “nothing.” You’re putting a tremendous amount of trust in your realtor, so they have a responsibility to keep you informed.
Also, showing that they can communicate effectively with you will often reflect on their ability to communicate with the listing/buyer’s agent and other professionals needed to sell your home. Ask yourself, “If they aren’t getting around to answer my email promptly, will they bother to respond to offers ASAP?”
Another reason you want to ask as many questions as possible of an agent is simply to talk with them. It isn’t just knowledge and experience that separates a great realtor from the pack; it’s also your relationship with them. Making sure that you are both on the same page and getting along well is essential to your success in purchasing or selling a home.
If you are looking to invest in real estate, having a knowledgeable realtor is also a must-have. At Regalway Homes, we’ve worked with countless realtors and their clients. Book a consultation with us today, and we can get started building up your wealth in real estate!