Questions to Ask Real Estate Agents When Selling

The real estate agent’s role is to smooth the home sale process, from setting the price to closing the deal. Before you hire an agent, interview several to determine their suitability for your transaction. The agent should be a good match for your style, your neighborhood, and the buying population you are targeting.

Once you have chosen an agent, they will help you set your home’s asking price. For that, it’s important to know how much comparable homes in the neighborhood have sold for. Your real estate agent will also advise you about improving your house for higher profits.

Find the Right Agent for You
Start by getting recommendations from friends and family. Ask if their agent was attentive, answered their questions, and pursued all leads. Next, peruse local listings and advertisements to see who’s selling nearby. Arrange interviews with three or four real estate agents. Some important questions to ask them:

What are your credentials?

At the very least, the agent should have a state license. A higher level of reassurance comes from Realtors, who belong to the National Association of Realtors®, which requires ethics training and adherence to a Code of Ethics.
 

How many sales did you make last year?

Choose someone with a strong history of success. This does not guarantee your home’s successful sale but heads you in the right direction.
 

Where do you usually work?

Someone who sells in your neighborhood is likely to understand the target buyer and market your house appropriately.

Do you have a sales plan?

The agent should be able to provide a written marketing plan, including where they will advertise the house and how they will help you prime your house for sale.

How often will you communicate?

Your agent should update you just about every day.

Ask Your Agent How to Sell Your Home
Once you have chosen an agent, take advantage of their knowledge about houses and the market. Ask questions about your planned sale, such as: Is the home ready to be sold in its present condition, or are improvements absolutely necessary? How much have comparable homes in the neighborhood been selling for? Is now a good time to sell, or should I wait for the seasons — or the economy — to turn? What is the home’s current worth? What is the asking price that I should set? Once I put the house on the market, how long can I expect to wait to sell?

Question Your Agent About Home Improvements
Your real estate agent’s expertise will guide you to make the home repairs that bring the most bang for your buck. Ask the following:

Which upgrades and repairs are absolutely necessary, and which would not make a big difference in the house price?
Which upgrades are considered standard in your area’s housing market? For example, is gutting and renovating your bathrooms necessary?
Which home improvement jobs cost little but improve a home’s cachet?
Some experts say that a remodeled kitchen is always a draw, but ask your agent whether that’s the case in your neighborhood.

How Should You Stage?
Before showing your house, ask your real estate agent about how best to stage it. The agent will advise you about minimizing clutter, arranging furniture and infusing it with pleasing scents. Ask your agent what items you should get rid of, or hide, before potential buyers come to view your home.

Sell Your Home Successfully
Proper preparation for a home sale is essential. If you choose the right agent and ask the right questions, your home should sell quickly and smoothly, and for the right asking price.

Gilan Gertz wrote this article.

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