Guide to the Best Real Estate Agent Questions
1 * What selling process do you recommend auction or a private treaty ?
2 * Please explain the online marketing campaign.
3 * Explanation of print marketing campaign ( be careful is it necessary ? )
4 * Explanation of buyer database marketing plan.
( Active agents will have plenty of buyers who are already ready to purchase )
5 * Average time you take to sell a property ?
6 * How many properties have you sold in this suburb recently ?
7 * Explain your seller communication plan.
8 * How long is the listing agreement for ?
9 * Details of past seller recommendations.( Any on this web site ? )
10 * Example of negotiating training and techniques.
11 * Are your selling commissions negotiable ?
12 * Do you have any extra fees if my property does not sell ?
( A full explanation of fees and charges including all marketing costs. )
* Details of why these real estate agent questions are important is below.
Prepare : Have your real estate agent questions ready before the agents arrive.
Agents know this is an important meeting, a lot of real estate agent training revolves around how to be impressive at property appraisals.
Consumers should approach this as a business meeting and have a prepared set of questions for each agent.
Agent Question 1 * Selling process do you recommend auction or private treaty sales ?
Tip - How are the majority of properties in your area sold, this should be your guide.
If by auction then most serious buyers in your area will be comfortable with the auction process and as a seller you should get comfortable with it too.
If you are confident there will be extremely high demand for your property and you are almost guaranteed there will be more than one party interested in bidding for it, auction may be suitable.
Having said that in most cases an auction increases the margin for error, and it puts an extra amount of pressure and stress on everybody who is to be involved in the transaction.
An auction will bring the marketing and advertising to an end day and will possibly deliver a result because of this deadline, but this is also what puts the pressure on the potential buyers, on you the seller, and rightly or wrongly on the agent.
If your potential agent is suggesting auction ask for evidence of why it is the best way to sell.
Agent Question 2 * Please explain the online marketing campaign.
Tip - This is the most effective way to let buyers know your property is on the market.
Depending on what property portals are popular in your area you need to have a full explanation of the web sites your property will be marketed on.
Make sure you fully understand the agents online marketing strategy.
You can also assess agencies by there company web site.
If the agents web site is outdated or hard to navigate you may have an agent who doesn't fully appreciate the importance of online marketing.
Agent Question 3 * Explanation of print marketing campaign.
Tip - Be careful is it necessary ?
Depending on the local market place, newspaper marketing may or may not be required.
Some real estate agents are still using old media thinking, that is print or newspaper marketing, it really depends on your marketplace but be aware that in the last 3 years the importance of newspaper advertising for real estate has fallen off a cliff.
Local property guides are still relevant but be careful about spending lots of money on print advertising for newspapers.
Agent Question 4 * Explanation of buyer database marketing plan.
Tip - If your agent doesn't have buyers in a database, then ask the question why not ?
It should be standard practice for agents to contact their existing buyer database with for example a bulk email about your property or any new listing they bring on to the market.
If your agent can't explain how they will promote your property to their existing buyer database then there is something wrong with their buyer management systems.
Agent Question 5 * Average time you take to sell a property ?
Tip - This is the type of information the good agents will offer to you anyway.
But follow up with the question so why does it take that long ?
This is more probing, but it is the type of question you want to ask.
Remember you want to know your agent has the answers now and for later when they are dealing with potential buyers for your property.
Agent Question 6 * How many properties have you sold in this suburb ?
Tip - This is really important as you want an agent who is the area specialist.
Real estate market places are very much geographic specific markets within markets.
One suburb can appeal to buyers that is radically different to the market in the adjoining suburb.
This difference can come down to difference between streets because every single property is unique.
Even in a new subdivisions the blocks of land are all different.
You could argue that one block of land of the same size is better than the block of land right next door of the same size because of the first blocks aspect, accessibility, slope etc etc.
Agent Question 7 * Explain your seller communication plan.
Tip - This is the number 1 area of complaint from past sellers.
Communication is the key throughout the selling period.
Make sure you and your agent have a clear understanding of how you will be kept informed throughout the marketing and selling period.
Ask The Right Real Estate Questions and You Will Find a Good Agent
Agent Question 8 * How long is the listing agreement for ?
Tip - This should be negotiable.
Most states in Australia the Office of Fair Trading or their equivalent will have set a maximum period that an agency agreement can be in place.
For example in Queensland the maximum time a seller can appoint an agent for is up to 60 days.
Most agents will have a standard time frame that they work to with each property and that should be clearly stated on the listing agreement.
An agent may tell you that they have a buyer for your property and will only need to list it for one or two weeks to sell it, be skeptical of this type of approach as it could do damage to the value of your property if you list with one agent and then change to another agent a couple of weeks latter.
Agent Question 9 * Details of past seller recommendations.
Tip - What reviews has the the agent received on this web site ?
Ask the agent for details of past clients who they have sold for and get then seek their opinions of the real estate agent.
Agent Question 10 * Example of negotiating training and techniques.
Tip - Ask the agent to demonstrate how they would negotiate for you a higher selling price.
You want to know the agent has studied negotiation.
A good real estate agent acts as the representative for sellers of property to any potential buyers interested in that property.
Understanding that this role is essentially about negotiating a deal so that both the sellers and the buyers can have their needs met, this is the key role of a good real estate agent.
Negotiating a deal so that both the sellers and the buyers are happy can be tricky and sometimes it is not as easy as it sounds.
Particularly when you appreciate that all sellers want to get as high a price as possible and all buyers want to pay no more than they have to.
Negotiating is a skill that can be learned and there are certain principles if acknowledged and understood most people can become good at negotiating.
Agent Question 11 * Are your selling commissions negotiable.
Tip - This is a great question to test agents negotiating ability.
If the agent is prepared to quickly drop their own pay/fee just because you asked it is a fair guess that they will probably also quickly drop your selling price when asked by potential buyers.
It would be more impressive if the agent answered that they don't negotiate on their fee.
Seriously because what you are really looking for in a good real estate agent is someone who knows how to negotiate.
Most agents will probably offer you some other type of incentive.
But ask the question, the answer will give you a terrific insight.
Agent Question 12 * Do you have any extra fees if my property does not sell ?.
Tip - Get in writing a full explanation of fees and charges including all marketing costs.
You have to also be prepared if the sale does not go as planned.
If this happens and you decide not to sell or you decide to change agents at a later date, protect your self by finding out if there are any charges from the agent if the property has not sold.