10 QUESTION YOU SHOULD BE ASKING YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT
Are you going to buy real estate and especially if you are buying real estate then you may not be familier with the process.So here are some questions you should be asking a real estate agent that you probably don’t even think about.
1. “How long have you been a real estate agent for?”
Experience counts in this industry. But that doesn’t mean that the agent with the most experience is the best choice by default. You should look for someone who is not only experienced enough to handle all aspects of the sale, but also one who is enthusiastic and motivated enough to secure a buyer for your deal.
2. “What properties have you recently sold in the area?”
Agents often specialise in a particular kind of property.
An agent that has sold at least 5 properties similar to yours in the past year is recommended. Preferably these should be in a nearby suburb and be similar in price and type. You could also ask your agent if they have a database of clients that have missed out on previous sales. They might be already having a few clients in mind that they can suggest your property to.
3. “What selling price do you think I can achieve?”
The prospective agents will give you a sale price they think they can get for your property. Follow-up question to be asked importantly is, “What are you basing that price on?” They should be able to support their conclusions with recent sales in that area of similar properties – both from their agency and others.
Do make sure that they can support the suggested sale price with evidence – as you would not want to fall for the trap of securing the agent who simply says they can get the best price for you.
4. “How much will I need to spend on advertising?”
Advertising for this takes place in two forms:
- Traditional – newspapers, signboards, agency window displays and brochures, etc.
- Digital – online listings on agency and third party websites, email marketing, etc.
Depending on the type of property and its location, advertising option is selected. The practice varies by market, property type and agent. Do have a look at what similar properties are doing in your area.
Will your agent be willing to put money on the table for any marketing costs, or is it your responsibility? Find out to avoid any surprises/shocks and to help with negotiating commissions (if you bear all of the marketing expenditure, the agent may be willing to reduce their rate).
5. “How long do you think it will take to sell my property (and why)?”
You might not get an exact number from your real estate agent, but that’s fine. Try to get a feel for their understanding of the current market, the factors impacting your area and how those factors will be affecting the selling process.
6. “How do you handle potential buyers’ questions?”
It is important to see if your real estate agent is a people person. For example, if an agent has a temper problem, you probably want to know about it before they start talking to potential buyers about your property.
Ask the prospective agent how they handle questions from buyers such as:
- How long has this property been on the market for?
- Why is the vendor selling?
- How much will the vendor accept?
These questions would be a great way to gauge your comfort levels with the types of responses your agent will give to potential buyers.
7. “Are your fees negotiable?”
You should not look for the cheapest agent with this question. You should be more interested in what their fees include. Also look for a good negotiator (a good agent will be able to confidently justify their price).
8. “How should I sell my property (and why)?”
There will be several different types of campaigns that your agent may recommend, such as:
- An auction – a sale (usually in public) by an auctioneer in which property is sold to the highest bidder
- Expressions of interest (EOI) – a deadline is set by which potential buyers submit a bid of what they are prepared to pay
- Price on application (POA) – property will be listed with a sale price of “POA” so that vendors will need to contact the agent to receive details
- Tender – the selling of a property through seeking written bids
- Sale – the process in which potential buyers negotiate with a real estate agent to purchase your property
Campaigns will depend on market. For example, Melbourne favours auctions whereas Brisbane generally doesn’t.
Another question which is worth asking is how they plan to arrange viewing of your property – is it via scheduled times or by appointment only?
You may come across several terms which are unfamiliar to you, during your agent interview process. Visit the REIA Glossary of Terms.
9. “Do you have references I can contact?”
A good real estate agent will happily provide you with a list of previous clients that they have dealt with. Even a new agent will be able to provide some sort of positive reference, such as a past employer. Don’t be afraid to follow up with them to gain their feedback before deciding to appoint an agent.
Few examples of questions to ask previous references are:
- What did you like about the agent?
- How long did the property take to sell?
- Was there anything you thought they could have done better?
- Did the agent secure the sale price you wanted to achieve?
10.“What makes you different to other real estate agents?”
This question will allow the agent to demonstrate what stands them apart from their competition, both as an individual agent and as an agency.
Interviewing a real estate agent – what’s next?
Now that you’re armed with great questions, it’s time to find a great agent. You can compare real estate agents including fees, commission, marketing strategy and more.