Welcome back to blog #3 of the Seller Guide Series. Make sure you have downloaded the Home Seller Guide if you haven’t already. It’s going to guide you through the entire process, from everything I talked about so far as well as what it going to come in upcoming blogs.
The last post talked about what a real estate agent actually does and if you even need to hire one for you to sell your home. This week we’re talking about what you do if you’ve decided that you would like to hire a real estate agent to assist you with the sale of your property. So what’s the next step? To interview them of course. I believe that one of the biggest misconceptions out there is that all real estate agents are the same. As long as you’ve got a real estate license you can do what the other real estate agent can do and nothing can be further from the truth.
To give you an idea, in Durham Region in 2017 there was about 7,000 real estate agents that did one deal (a buy or sale.) Of that 7,000, only half did one deal the entire year. Only 10% of all of the real estate agents in Durham Region did more than 10 deals in the entire year. That means 90% of the real estate agents are doing less than one deal a month. This is not a knock on any agents or about their production levels, it’s just you need to understand what a real estate agent is going to be doing when they’re selling your home. Is a real estate agent that has been involved in five transactions in the entire year going to have the exact same market knowledge, experience, systems in place, marketing budget that somebody has who did 20-30, or 50 deals in the entire year? This is something you have to take into consideration when you’re hiring a real estate agent. This doesn’t mean you have to go with one or the other. It’s about asking questions and picking one that you’re comfortable with.
How many agents do you meet with? I personally say three, anything more than that you might go through some analysis paralysis. However, this is one of the most expensive assets you are ever going to own so you interview as many agents as you need to before you find someone that you’re comfortable with. A couple of years ago I met with a family of five and came back three separate times to meet with them. When they ended up hiring us they told me they had interviewed seven different real estate agents. I thought this was a bit much, I felt like I was on an episode of Dragons’ Den talking to five different decision makers, but they did what they felt was necessary to hire someone they were 100% confident with.
First and foremost when interviewing you want to find out if they are a part-time or full-time agent. You’d be surprised how many people will sign with a real estate agent, page them and they won’t get a call back until the next day telling you that they were at their other job. This is something you might want to know about before you actually sign with them and commit.
Second, you want to find out what they are charging. It’s obviously an extremely important aspect of selling your home. You always got to keep in mind that you get what you pay for. A lot of people that are cutting commission are doing it for cheaper because they have another side job or another full-time job and this is their side job. If a real estate agent is willing to cut their commission to a certain amount, where is that coming out of their budget? Is it coming from their marketing budget that is supposed to get your property exposure or is it going to come out of their budget for their personal income to cover their mortgage, car payments and to feed their family? More often than not it is going to affect your marketing budget. This doesn’t really matter too much in a hot market when it’s very easy to sell, but when it’s a balanced or buyer’s market you need to make sure your agent is getting you the ultimate exposure for your property.
You’re going to want to ask to see some stats. This is no guarantee, but the best indicator for future results is past results. Ask them what their average days on market is and what their average sale price to list price ratio is. These are all things that will give you a pretty good idea as to how quickly they’re selling their homes and how close to asking they are actually selling for.
How long they have been in the business isn’t that important to me. I’d rather talk to somebody and find out how much experience they’ve got. I’d rather hire a real estate that’s been in the business for three years but is selling 20-30 homes a year, as opposed to a real estate agent who has been in the business for 30 years but sells an average of four to five homes every single year. It all comes down to how much experience they have.
Additionally you’re going to want to find out what kind of support staff they’ve got. Do they have a marketing coordinator or transaction coordinator, is it just them or do they have a support system with other real estate agent on the team? Will they be handling your listings personally or are they going to hand you off to another real estate agent? Again, there is no right or wrong answer. This is all about finding out the answers and then deciding who you feel the most confident with.
Now where do you get some people to interview? You’re going to want to ask some family or friends, people that you know have had a good experience with an agent. Maybe a realtor that you keep seeing their name everywhere, or someone who’s videos you watch. You might just want to get together with them and see what they have to offer.
Another thing I would ask is if they offer any guarantees. If you’re not satisfied with the level of service they are providing, find out if they will force you to stay in the contract, offer you a suspension or if they will let you completely out with a cancellation.
Lastly my favourite one, do they have any referrals and recommendations. These days it’s a lot easier to see what people think of a particular service just by looking at the reviews. Don’t judge someone based on one bad review though. You’re always going to come across someone who thinks completely way out unfortunately. You’re going to want to look at the overall score and you will get a pretty good idea as to how they run their business if they’ve got a decent 4-4.5 even 5-star rating.
These are some pretty good talking points to review with any real estate agent that you’re going to be interviewing. Let me know down below how you decided on the last real estate agent you hired to sell your home. Was it through a referral or did you interview? I would love to hear some of your experiences.
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Download the Home Seller Guide here.