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Interviewing Listing Agents? Important Questions to Ask Before You Hire

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According to recent statistics published by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), there are approximately two million licensed, active real estate professionals currently working in the United States. With this many agents to choose from, it isn’t surprising that homeowners often find it difficult to select the best one to help them sell their home.

But the selling process doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, by interviewing active agents in their area and asking good questions, home sellers can quickly determine which one is likely to be the best one to help them reach their real estate goals.

Does the Agent Work Full-Time?

Agents who sell real estate as a part-time job may not be readily available to either the seller or prospective buyers, resulting in the potential for reduced marketing, longer market times, and fewer showings. While they may have suitable skills for the job, they may have time constraints that limit their effectiveness. 

How Many Homes has the Agent Sold?

Hiring a successful agent increases the chances that your home will be marketed well and sold within the average market time for the area. While the number of homes sold by successful agents will be different for each market area, sellers should choose an agent whose past year’s sales show them to have listed and sold a significant number for their particular area. When interviewing agents, ask to see historical data from the multiple listing system (MLS) detailing the past year of listing and sold data for each agent.

When looking at the information provided, make sure to note additional information such as: days on market (DOM), listing vs sold price, and the ratio of listings that may have expired without selling. This will help sellers determine which agents have the most effective marketing strategies and the best overall track record of sales.

What Education and Training Does the Agent Have?

While real estate broker and agent licensing requirements require basic continuing education, including any changes in Fair Housing Laws, agents who voluntarily seek out additional education may be more focused and prepared to help their clients succeed in selling their homes. An example of this type of beneficial additional education might include education in working with niche clients, such as sellers who are retiring, sellers who are relocating, or sellers who are selling investment properties, among others.  

How do They Communicate?

Communication is one of the most important parts of a successful real estate transaction, so it is important to select an agent who understands this importance and works hard to make themselves available to their clients. Ask each agent which types of messaging they utilize (phone, text, or email) and how long clients typically have to wait for a response. In addition, ask how they handle messages during evening hours or on weekends when their office is closed. Agents who provide the best possible communication will be better able to help support their sellers and deal with any issues that may arise during the marketing and sale of their home.

Can the Agent Help Advise Preparations Before Listing?

Preparing the selling process is a key part of getting the home sold and sellers who have access to the advice of an experienced, successful listing agent during this stage often find their homes sell faster and for more money. When interviewing prospective listing agents, ask them to describe how they typically assist their seller clients in preparing the home for market.

What Type of Marketing Should the Seller Expect?

Another excellent question when interviewing prospective listing agents is to ask about the agent’s marketing plan for their home. In addition to basic multiple listing service exposure and signage, sellers should look for agents who utilize professional web site exposure, network with other agents, and professional photography, staging and other marketing techniques to successfully market their listings both locally and globally.

The best listing agents are the ones that work to remain knowledgeable and informed about their local real estate market, make time to be responsive to their clients, and market their listings aggressively to maximize exposure and buyer interest. By taking time to interview several successful agents in your area and asking the right questions, sellers will be able to more easily find the real estate professional they feel will be best one to help them succeed in selling their home.

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