Selling real estate seems like a well-paying career that’s easy to get into. That’s the thought most people have when they consider getting a real estate license. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy for people to get into our industry and, before they realize how hard it is to actually make a living, they often damage the industry by cutting corners (often in an attempt to cut commissions) which results in poor attention to detail and terrible customer experiences.
When you go to buy or sell a home, interview no less than two agents to compare the services offered and the fees for the services they provide. You want to be sure you are working with a Realtor who is experienced, diligent, proactive, honest, and cares about your needs. Here’s a quick list of questions you must ask before hiring any Realtor:
- What can you do that other agents cannot? Most Realtors don’t offer anything unique which is why price tends to be the most common difference. You shouldn’t choose by price alone – find an agent that offers exceptional service!
- How much real estate do you own? This is a key question to ask if you’re investing, but relevant even if you’re buying your first home. How can you put your faith in someone that doesn’t believe in their product enough to own some herself? Would you a mutual fund from a broker who doesn’t invest in that fund?
- How long have you been selling Real Estate? Experience counts!
- Have you ever been fined or sanctioned by your local board or council? Why? Know their history.
- Can you offer 10 – 20 reference letters from satisfied customers? Call them!
- What happens to me if you go away or have a family emergency? Make sure that there’s always someone available to work for you when you find the right house, or when an offer is written on yours.
- Do you live in Edmonton; how long have you lived here? Edmonton has grown quickly! A solid understanding of the history in the area(s) you want to buy into will give you an advantage over those who are new to Edmonton.
- How and how often will you advise me on what buyers are saying about my home? All agents want your listing; but how often will they follow-up with you after you sign the contract?
- What will you do to help me find the right home? Most agents will expect you to simply wait for the right house to come available on the conveyor belt called MLS (multiple listing service); but you should work with an agent willing to go out of their way to find your perfect home. Other services exist – ask us!
- How flexible is your fee? Commissions are negotiable! What if your home sells in the first week?
- How can you help me save money on fees? If you’ve already prepared your home and done some of the work for your Realtor, it makes sense to expect a savings.
- What’s the first thing we need to do to sell our home? A good agent will explain the home-preparation process.
- Can you show me a sample of the quality or representation you offer? Be sure that your agent will be representing your home in a manner that you agree with.
- How many homes did you sell last month? Know that your agent is active.
By having an agent address these questions you’ll know if they are worthy of your business. This is a service business and you should work with someone who can and will serve your needs best for a fair fee.