So you're ready to hire a real estate agent to sell presumably one of your largest assets? Do you have a plan to find the right agent for you and your home? Or do you plan on just hiring your cousin? Or calling off of the side of someone's car? This is a decision that needs to be thoughtfully considered. Below you will find a few questions to help you get started with the interview process. For the record, you want to get this decision right the first time. Don't be afraid to interview two or three candidates and don't be afraid to bring them back more than once. The more due diligence you do upfront, the more likely you will be to find success.
1. Are you a full time agent and how long have you been in real estate?
Admittedly, getting a real estate license is not the most difficult process in the world and keeping your license is even less difficult. Any Johnny Pencil Pusher can take the battery of tests required by the Texas Real Estate Commission to get their license and then stay current with the continuing education and annual fees required to keep it. However, in our estimation, being a Realtor is a profession. A profession that requires experience and passion. While shopping for someone to sell your Houston home, make sure the agent has the experience and full-time commitment to complete this important job.
2. What is your average market time vs. the market?
There are dedicated agents and there are other agents. Agents that are dedicated to serving their clients to the best of their ability will tend to have a lower average time on market than the market. Not all homes are alike. A home that is poorly placed on a street or located next to the railroad tracks might take a little extra time to sell. However, on average, a good Realtor should sell their listings faster than the market. This is generally achieved by competently advising their clients on how to position their home, proactively listening to prospects that tour their listings, and by quickly making adjustments to changing conditions if needed.
3. What is your list price to sales price ratio vs. the market?
To be a successful in residential real estate sales, two of the more important things that an agent needs to be good at is pricing homes and negotiating a favorable price for their clients. If an agent is accomplished in those two areas, then they will have a high list price to sales price ratio. The agent will have ensured that the home was priced at a competitive price from the beginning of the transaction and they will have negotiated terms that are favorable to their clients.
4. Do you have any examples of the listings for properties you have sold?
In order to sell real estate in today's market, Realtors have to ensure that their online listings stand out from the crowd. 80% of home buyers will first see their future home for the first time online. Listings need property descriptions that really entice the prospective buyer to learn more about the home. Furthermore, listings need great photography to really grab the prospect and drive the prospect to see the home in person. Always request from a prospective Realtor a few examples of their listings to get a sense of the effort and quality they put into attracting buyers.
5. How frequently do you provide written updates on my homes sales process?
Like any project, open and frequent communication is vital to the real estate sales process. Ask your prospective Houston Realtor how they keep in touch and update you as the sales cycle progresses. Do they send weekly updates? Do they send regular reports on the feedback from prospects? Do they provide updates on web traffic for your listing? Make sure you set clear expectations for your agent, so they understand how you like to receive information and how often you expect to receive it. If they are alert to your needs, they may have already asked.
6. What is your online and offline marketing strategy for my Home?
How is your agent going to get it done at the end of the day? Does he or she even have a plan? Developing an online and offline strategy to get your home sold is vital to the process. In that plan, the Realtor needs to have set goals and target dates for achieving those goals. Furthermore, does your agent have a plan that is unique for your home? Very few homes are the same. They all have different strengths and weaknesses. Some homes are attractive to first time home buyers. Some homes are attractive for Empty Nesters. How is your Realtor going to attractive the unique person or couple that is ready willing and able to buy your home?