15 Questions Sellers Should Ask

The Top 15 Questions a Seller Should Ask When Screening Realtors to Assist Them with Selling Their Home 

This Report is designed to assist you in making an informed decision when retaining a real estate professional that you can count on in accomplishing your goals. 

1.      Do you have support staff in place if you are unavailable?  A good real estate practitioner has employed systems either with fellow agents or assistants, or has a licensed team member who is available on relatively short notice to provide information to potential Buyers and other Agents.

2.      Can we cancel the Listing Agreement at anytime, if we are unhappy with the way things are going?  A good agent will keep to their word on what they agree to do.  If they are not performing, you should not be obligated to continue with the relationship. 

3.      Do you communicate with e-mail?  Yes, this question sounds silly but it is absolutely true.  Your Realtor should be equipped to communicate with you quickly and efficiently.  Imagine waking up in the middle of the night with a burning question that you just want an answer to.  With e-mail you have the opportunity to get it off your chest immediately and with a good realtor a response should be in your inbox in a timely manner. 

4.      How many transactions have you completed in the past few years?  Be cautions of real estate agents gloating about “10 years experience,” the average agent sells 4.5 homes per year (NAR, 2001), a good one sells over 24 homes per year.  In this example the good sold 10 years worth of property in just one year. 

5.      Can you provide me with the names and phone numbers of your past three clients? This is a biggy and yes, call them to see how the agent performed.  Steer clear from any agent that does not provide some names. 

6.      Can you provide closing cost estimates?  Your Realtor should be financially competent to give you some basic estimates of your closing costs BEFORE you even receive an offer on a property.  That way you will have no surprises at closing.

7.      What is your policy on returning phone calls?  This is the most common complaint from consumers.  A good agent will have a system in place to let callers know exactly when calls will be returned. 

8.      Can you explain how various types of financing may affect my proceeds?  Not all financing is the same.  Some loan programs require the Seller to pay some or a majority of the Buyer’s closing costs and this does affect your profit.  

9.      Do you work by yourself or do you have support staff?  The one-person real estate practice usually spends 70% – 80% of their time prospecting for new business (marketing), 10% – 20% of their time working with customers (operations), and jus a mere 5% – 10% handling their client’s affairs once in the escrow process.  Look for an agent that has a “Team” or “Group” concept where multiple tasks are delegated to a “specialist” (e.g., Shoe Specialist or Transaction Manager) and over seen by a “Team Leader” or “Director.” 

10.  Do you do this full-time or part-time?  If the agent is a “part-time” walk, no, run away as fast as you possibly can.  Generally speaking, 52 people are involved in a real estate transaction from cradle to grave.  You need an agent that can manage those relations and not be limited to nights or weekends. 

11.  How much of your time is dedicated to “prospecting” or “cold calling?”  The typical agent generally spends 70% – 80% of their business day cold calling to the general public to get a customer.  Keep that figure in mind while that same agent is expected to manage the 52 relationships once your home is in the escrow process.   

12.  What percent of your practice comes from referrals and endorsements from past customers? A “referable” agent is someone that is trustworthy and worth their weight in gold.  A great realtor generally receives at least 70% of their NEW customers by recommendations or endorsements from their current or past customers.

13.  Have you ever had a grievance or complaint lodged against you with your local or state real estate department? 

14.  Do you own a home yourself?  This may sound silly but is worth the question.  Think about it.   

15.  Goals and expectations?  Housing needs aside, you should outline your goals and expectations.  Your agent should then in turn put these goals and objectives into practice in serving you, keeping in mind what is best suited for you and your family.