5 Important Questions To Ask A Prospective Listing Agent

If you decide to sell your home, you know how much hard work is ahead of you. Coordinating and making sure all of the necessary repairs and upgrades are being done so that you can get the best price on your investment is enough to keep you busy. But when it comes to the actual business of putting your home on the market and enticing potential home buyers to look at your property, it helps to have a professional on your side. That's why having a good listing agent in your corner throughout the process can be an invaluable asset.

But before you just go ahead and pick the first real estate agent you come across, it can help to ask them some important questions before trusting them with the sale of your home. A listing agent is your representative when dealing with home buyers and their real estate agents. They help to put your residence on the market, conduct viewings to the public, make certain you have all the significant information about your home available, and negotiate terms and prices with the buyer's agent, according to Rocket Mortgage. Because you place so much trust in the hands of your listing agent to represent your home in the best way possible, it's crucial that you know their history and that they are capable of handling the task ahead. Here are a few key questions to ask a prospective listing agent before you hire them to sell your property.

What is your experience being a real estate agent?

When looking for a listing agent to handle the sale of your home, you should treat it as though you are holding a job interview. Because that is exactly what it is. You are placing your trust in hiring this individual or team to be your representative when putting your property up for sale. That's why it's good to go with someone who has experience. Although there is nothing wrong with giving a keen green real estate agent their first chance — everyone has to start somewhere — you may feel more comfortable with an agent who has been in the industry for longer.

First and foremost, you should ask if they have their realtor's license. Although this may sound a little silly, you want to ensure they are accredited so as not to fall victim to any real estate scams. Also, look for how long they have been a listing agent. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median experience of realtors is around eight years. It also helps to know how many clients they are currently working with, whether it is their full-time job or not, whether they have experience selling the type of home you have, and whether they handle both sides of the real estate process. This can be helpful as they would be savvy about what homebuyers are searching for to best present your home in the market.

Have you sold homes in this area and how long did it take for them to sell?

Choosing a listing agent who is familiar with your neighborhood would be wise. That way, they can not only give the best pitch regarding the details of your home but also all of the finer points of the bonuses of the area in which you are selling. Because the location of a property is one of the most important features buyers look for when purchasing a home, according to The Washington Post, it's crucial to have an agent who is knowledgeable about the area and what people may find is a must-have as part of sweetening the sale of your home. In addition, knowing the intricacies of types of schools in the area, ease of transportation, shopping, as well as crime rate, and what, if any, future developments in the city can be vital in bringing in potential buyers.

As well as having the inside scoop of the area surrounding your house and the properties that have sold in the neighborhood, you should find out how long it has taken for your potential listing agent to sell those homes. On average, it could take up to 71 days to finalize the sale of a house, as per U.S. News, so if your agent's average selling time is way above that, then it may be a red flag as to their tactics and how they handle each listing.

What is the price range of the homes you sell?

Asking a potential listing agent about the price range of the homes they sell can be a way to find out if they are accustomed to building a marketing strategy around the type of home you have. For example, if you are selling a massive mansion for $45 million, you may want a listing agent that is used to that caliber of price and the work that goes into it. According to Forbes, selling tactics for these kinds of listings could take the form of price-per-click advertising to direct traffic to the property's listing or a detailed video tour of the home. In addition, they would know how to create a marketing plan for a specific type of clientele to get the best offer on your home.

On the flip side, if you want a $350 thousand home sold, you need an agent that can negotiate a different type of competitive market that may utilize a different marketing strategy. This could entail a simple listing on popular real estate sites or more localized advertising in neighborhood listings. Either way, finding out the price range of what your listing agent has worked with can help you to understand how they might approach the sale of your own home.

Do you have a list of professionals you work with?

The process of selling your home can be much more intricate than simply picking a price and placing a "For Sale" sign on your front lawn. It could take the efforts of a whole team to get the best results for your property, and it would be to your benefit if the potential listing agent had contacts in various fields to help you out. These professional contacts could include their recommendations for mortgage brokers, contractors, home inspectors, home appraisers, and interior designers to help stage your house for viewings, to name a few.

According to Entrepreneur, an agent with a long list of trusted and reputable contacts who understands the importance of networking within the real estate field can be an invaluable asset to them and yourself. These relationships can help them create a trustworthy team around them and save you the time and effort to find and vet these types of services yourself. This can potentially cut weeks off of the time it takes to sell your home and will surround you with industry professionals who hopefully have a great track record of helping homeowners to sell their property. Knowing that your listing agent has a good rapport with other professionals can also be a testament to their experience and how well they work with others in the community.

Do you have any references I can contact?

Like any other service or business, it can be very beneficial if you ask for or search for reviews and references. From the real estate agent's point of view, it helps them to show that past clients were impressed with their service and that they would be recommended to anyone else who is looking to sell their home. In fact, according to Rev Estate School, industry professionals not only strive toward providing excellent services for their clientele, but they utilize those happy customers to further spread the word and expand their contact list through testimonials and positive reviews.

To get the inside scoop on your potential listing agent's past performance, you can simply ask them for references they might have at the ready or search their website for client reviews. Otherwise, this is where proper internet use can work in your favor. If you are unsure whether the testimonials on their own professional site have been curated to shine them in a positive light, then you can search for their name and see if anything else pops up. If they are an experienced agent with no references, this could be a major warning sign that you should move on to the next candidate.