9 Interview Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent
Treating it Like a Job Interview
Selling your home can be an exciting time, provided you have the right real estate agent to steer the ship.
According to the Real Estate Institute of Australia, there were 64,698 agents in 2011 (taken from the most recent census), and that number has undoubtedly increased since then.
Selling your home requires you to pick just one (in most cases), which highlights the importance of a vetting process. Once you've done your research and created a shortlist of two or three, question your candidates. Treat it like a job interview, where you're the intimidating CEO asking the hard questions.
Good Interview Questions
1. What have you sold recently?
This will enable you to not only see their success rate, but also the kinds of homes they're selling. For example, if you're selling your two bedroom house, you won't want an agent that has predominantly been selling units.
2. Do you have any references from previous clients?
A good real estate agent will happily provide you with a list of previous clients that you can speak with. If not, then you know that something might be amiss.
3. Can you show me your licence and registration?
Sounds like something an American cop would say in a tacky TV show right? Only ask this if you're unable to find their licence details online with your relevant state authority. All real estate agents must go through a stringent licensing process before they are legally allowed to practice - the penalties for working without one are worse than being caught operating a car without a drivers licence.
4. How would you sell my house and why?
There are several ways to sell a home, and all have their strengths and weaknesses depending on the local market. Asking this question is a good way to gauge the agent's knowledge of the property market, with your area in particular.
For example: "I would sell your home by auction, as figures from last week show that homes in your area sold with an 80 per cent success rate."
5. What advertising do you recommend?
Most of the time, the marketing of your home comes out of your pocket, so you want to be clear on what you're actually paying for. Discuss the different options available, how they would like to advertise your proprety and how much this will cost.
6. How much do you think my home is worth?
This is probably the question you're most interested in! Be wary of agents that give you an unrealistic price - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ask what their opinion of market value is based on, as well as some examples of similar homes that have sold.
7. How long do you think it will be on the market?
This will give you an idea of the agent's expectations. You can compare it to the current average market time in your area to gain a better understanding.
8. What's your commission?
Find out how much the agent will charge you for their services, and then ask them to justify their fees - especially if they're more expensive than other agents. Remember that you're not looking for the cheapest, but the one who will offer you the most for their costs.
9. What makes you different?
With this question, you leave it to the agents to seal the deal and sell themselves. They'll be able to tell you why they're better than their competition, both as an agent and agency.