How to Interview A Realtor When Selling Your Home

Kyle Hiscock

Kyle Hiscock | Greater Rochester NY Real Estate | Pittsford NY Realtor at RE/MAX Realty Group

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How to Interview a Realtor When Selling Your Home

How to Interview a Realtor When Selling Your Home

When selling your home, choosing the Realtor who will represent your best interests is one of the most important and one of the first steps in the process.  Unfortunately, many sellers do not understand how important this is or believe that to be the case.  There are specific things that you should expect from your real estate agent when selling your home.

A piece of advice if you are thinking about selling your home, do not hire a Realtor because they are just your friend or because they are a colleagues spouse.  Every Realtor is different, period.  There are many consumers who believe every Realtor is the same and they all do the same things to sell homes, which is the farthest from the truth!  Each Realtor runs their business differently, advertises in different places, and utilizes different sales techniques.

It is very easy to obtain a real estate license, however, being a top producing Realtor is not easy.  In many real estate markets, the 80/20 theory is accurate and in others it is not!  The 80/20 theory is simply put that 80 percent of the local real estate business is done by 20 percent of the local real estate agents.  This may seem shocking, but in some communities, the ratio can actually be closer to 95/5, 95 percent of the real estate sales being done by 5 percent of the local real estate agents!

So how do you avoid getting stuck with one of the agents who doesn’t fall within that 5-20 percent?  Interview, Interview, Interview! Knowing how to interview prospective Realtors correctly can eliminate a problem down the road!

Follow these tips and common questions when interviewing a Realtor to sell your home and you will be on your way to a smooth and relatively stress-free sale!

How Long Have You Been Selling Real Estate

  • How long have you been Selling Real Estate?

This is an interview question that you cannot miss!  Experience in real estate is extremely important.  Generally speaking, the more years of experience a Realtor has, the more sales they have had, and the probability they will have encountered many different situations.  This is not always the case though as there are new Realtors who are natural superstars and can sell your home better than an agent with 30+ years experience.

  • Are you a full time Realtor or part time Realtor?

There are many consumers who believe being a real estate agent is easy money and doesn’t take a ton of effort or time.  This is also the furthest from the truth.  In order to be a top producing Realtor, it’s a must to be a full-time Realtor.  It’s highly likely that a Part-time real estate agent won’t have the time or availability to field calls for showing requests from other agents or follow-up on inquiries on your property, due to their full-time position.  Hiring a part-time Realtor is not suggested when selling your home and do not forget to ask this question during the interview.

What Proven Results Do You Have

  • How many homes last year did you sell while representing a seller?

Don’t let a Realtor who works primarily with buyers trick you!  There is a difference between helping a buyer find a home and representing a seller with the sale of their home.  By asking the prospective Realtor during the interview how many homes they sold last year, while representing a seller, should clear up whether they primarily work with buyers or sellers.  Top producing sellers agents should have a minimum ratio of 60/40.  60 percent or greater of their sales are representing sellers and 40 percent or less of their sales are representing buyers.

  • What was the average time from listing date to contract date of these sales?

When selling your home, one of the worst nightmares is the thought of your home sitting on the market for months and months.  When you interview Realtors, ask them how long on average it takes for their listings to obtain an acceptable contract.

  • What was the average list price to sale price ratio?

To no ones surprise, a seller wants top dollar for their home.  An important interview question is asking the prospective Realtor about their average list price to sale price ratio.  There are many sellers who make the mistake of hiring a Realtor who “buys a listing.”  An agent who “buys listings” will suggest listing a home much higher than the current market value, just to secure the contract, only later to continually “beat up” a seller to reduce the price.  By asking this question during the interview, you greatly reduce the chance of this happening, as a top producing Realtor should have an average list price to sale price ratio of 95% or greater!

  • How many pending transactions do you currently have?

This interview question is a good indication of a Realtors success level.  If a Realtor tells you they have one pending transaction when you interview them, it’s very likely they are not a top producing agent.  A top producing Realtor should always have 10+ transactions that are sale pending.

The Realtor Selling Your Home Must Have a Killer Online Presence!

The Realtor Selling Your Home Must Have a Killer Online Presence!

Which Marketing and Advertising “Vehicles” Do You Use

  • Do you utilize the internet for marketing your homes for sale?

The internet has a huge impact on the real estate industry.  Any Realtor or individual who says the internet is not an important part of real estate sales, either doesn’t understand the power of the internet or hasn’t adapted and is not being honest.  Before your interview with a prospective Realtor, “Google” search their name.  The Realtor should show up EVERYWHERE!  Since 90% of home buyers begin their search on the internet, it’s important to ask a Realtor during the interview how they market their homes for sale on the internet and here are several things to consider asking.

  • Do you have your own website that shows up in search results?

The number of real estate agents who do not have their own real estate website is way to high.  Finding out if a Realtor has their own website is a very important question to ask during the interview.  It’s not only important that the Realtor you choose to sell your home has their own website, but also that it ranks high in the search results.

For example, if a potential buyer or seller is looking for information on the local real estate market in Penfield NY, it’s highly probable they are going to search “Penfield NY Real Estate Market” or similar terms.  It’s critical the Realtors website ranks on the first page, and in the worst case scenario, first couple pages.

  • Do you have a real estate blog?

Blogs are very popular in many industries and the real estate industry is no different.  A blog gives a Realtor the opportunity to write about frequently asked questions by buyers and sellers, current real estate topics, and most importantly to you, a home they are selling.  Don’t forget to ask the prospective Realtor if they have a blog during your interview.

  • Do you utilize social media?

I’m sure you have heard of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram, right?  Of course you have!  During the interview, be sure to ask the Realtor if they are using social media and which sites they are using.  A Realtors job when selling a home is to give their clients home the most exposure possible.  By utilizing certain social media websites, a Realtor is able to give their clients additional exposure that Realtors who aren’t active on Social Media cannot.

  • What quality of camera do you use when taking photos of the homes you sell?

Have you ever looked at a property online and asked yourself, “how could someone take such awful photos?”  Yup, I’m sure you have.  Taking great real estate photos is not a trait every Realtor has.  Some Realtors have the trait, but do not have the proper equipment to ensure the photos are of high quality.  Ask prospective Realtors what quality of camera they use when taking photos of the homes they sell.  It should be a high quality camera with high quality lenses, not a $50 digital camera.

How Do You Determine the Price of the Homes You Sell

  • What methods do you use to determine the listing price of the homes you sell?

Pricing a home is not as simple as throwing a dart at a board and whatever price it lands on is what the list price will be.  There are different methods a Realtor may use to price a home.  Two common pricing methods include a comparative market analysis (CMA) and price per square foot.  In most cases, the comparative market analysis technique is going to be the best method for determining a listing price of a home.  During the interview, any prospective Realtor should have an example of a comparative market analysis for you to look at.  Pay close attention the amount of detail the Realtor uses in their analysis as the more detailed the analysis, the more time and effort they spend on pricing their homes.

What is the Level of Satisfaction from Past Clients

  • Can you provide testimonials from past sellers whose home you sold?

Ask prospective Realtors for testimonials from past seller clients.  This should be a very easy request, as most top producing Realtors will have testimonials in their possession or on their website.

  • Can you provide contact information from past sellers whose home you sold and can I contact them?

Having the opportunity to speak with a past client of the prospective Realtor is not always possible.  During the interview, ask the Realtor if they have contact information from past seller clients who would be willing to talk with them about their experience.  If this is possible, be sure to take advantage and contact this past client, it’s a great opportunity to “hear from the horses mouth” about their experience of working with the prospective Realtor.

Communication Methods & Frequency are important to ask Realtors about during an interview

Communication Methods & Frequency are important to ask Realtors about during an interview

How Frequent and By Which Methods Do You Communicate and Provide Feedback

  • How often do you reach out to your sellers?

The biggest complaint from sellers and buyers is lack of communication from their Realtor.  Another important interview question is relating to the frequency of communication.  Find out how often they communicate with their sellers so that your expectations aren’t let down in the future.

  • Who is in charge of coordinating showings of your listings?

Every Realtor handles the coordinating of showings of their listings differently.  Some agents have showing services, administrative assistants, or even other Realtors who handle the showings.  Ask during the interview who handles the coordinating of showings.

  • How do you obtain feedback?

Feedback is crucial in the home selling process.  Another interview question to ask refers to the method the Realtor uses to obtain feedback.  Do they utilize an automated e-mail for feedback?  Do they follow up directly with the other Realtors?  Feedback from showings is important as there maybe things within a home that can be corrected for a small amount of money that another Realtor may provide in their feedback.

Additionally, a great Realtor should be able to handle objections to negative feedback from other Realtors.  If another Realtor said their client didn’t like your home because the carpet was dirty in the living room, the agent can push the other Realtor to write an offer with a condition that new carpet would be installed prior to closing in the living room.

  • Which methods of communication do you use with your sellers?

Asking a Realtor the methods in which they communicate is important during the interview.  If you prefer e-mail then ask the Realtor if they e-mail.  Same goes for text messaging and any other communication method.  It’s important that you are comfortable with the way the Realtor is able to communicate with you.

What Additional Services Can You Provide

  • Can you recommend any tips to make my home more salable?

A great Realtor should have the ability to make recommendations before a home is listed to help make it more salable.  Ask during the interview if they have any staging experience.  A great Realtor will be able to make simple staging recommendations to help make your home more salable.

One word of advice, do not hire an agent just because they have staging designations.  Anyone can obtain a staging designation, if they are willing to pay for the designation.  This, however, does not ensure they are a top producing agent.

  • Do you have a list of vendors that you can recommend?

Over the years, real estate has become a full-service industry.  It isn’t simply buying and selling homes anymore.  Ask prospective Realtors during the interview if they have a list of vendors in different trades.  Do they have attorneys they can recommend?  Do they have movers?  A great Realtor should be able to provide a long list of services.

Other Miscellaneous Interview Questions

  • How much do you charge?

First and foremost, commission is negotiable.  It’s important to ask a prospective Realtor what the commission percentage or fee is.  If you interview several Realtors, don’t believe because one agent offers less than another you are getting a special deal.  In reality, you could actually be costing yourself lots of money, as a top producing agent should be able to justify what their commission percentage or fee is.

In most real estate markets, there are real estate agents or companies who make it a habit of cutting their commission percentage just to secure a listing.  What they don’t tell you as a seller is that they do not plan on spending any money on selling your home and also that they cannot provide what a top producing agent can.

  • Are there penalties for cancelling a contract?

In most contracts, there are penalties for cancelling a contract early.  An important question to ask during an interview, is if the Realtor will enforce the penalty.  A top producing agent should have confidence in themselves to get your home sold, therefore a penalty for an early termination would be a non-issue!

Realtors are a dime a dozen.  This does not mean they are all Realtors you want selling your home!  It’s extremely important that you interview prospective Realtors before selecting them to sell your home.  By asking the above questions, you have a greater probability of selecting a top producing Realtor!

Other Resources For Hiring a Great Realtor

Are you thinking of selling your home in Rochester, NY?  If so, we’d love the opportunity to interview for the job!  We would be happy to explain why we can get your Rochester, NY home sold for the most amount of money in the shortest period of time!

About the authors:  The above article “How to Interview a Realtor When Selling Your Home” was provided by the Keith Hiscock Sold Team (Keith & Kyle Hiscock).  With over 30 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.

We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.

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