As prices slowly start to rise and inventory begins to shrink in many areas, you may finally be ready to put your home on the market. However, selling your home in today’s gradually recovering market is still tricky business and requires the expertise of a professional real estate agent.
Take your time when selecting the right agent to work with. You’re about to embark on a major endeavor so having the right chemistry—and the right level of trust—are essential. Here are four important questions to ask a prospective agent that will help you determine if he or she is the right person to list your home with:
- How long have you been a real estate agent? The number of years an agent has been in the business is important information for you to know—and there are pros and cons to every level of experience, so don’t rush to judgment. For example, if an agent has only been practicing for a couple of years, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Agents who started in real estate after the bubble burst only know how to operate within current market conditions and won’t waste time on outdated strategies that worked during the housing boom, but that won’t work now. Measure their success by the home’s they’ve sold so far and how they overcame the particular challenges of those sellers. Conversely, if you’re prospective agent is a real estate veteran, be sure to ask how he or she has adapted their approach for the market downturn. While their years of experience are invaluable to you, make sure they’ve changed accordingly with the times.
- What will you specifically do to market my home? In today’s technology-based environment, don’t settle for a general response, such as “online marketing” and “virtual tours.” Ask prospective agents which specific listing syndication sites your home will appear on, how many photos/videos of your home will be included, how social media will be utilized, and what sort of mobile platforms are available. Ask for examples of other homes the agent is currently listing so you can get a good idea of how your home will be marketed.
- What will it take to make your home stand apart? Savvy agents will offer specific details on what simple—or potentially significant—improvements need to be made to help your home compete on the market. Ask what features/qualities were common among recently sold homes. For example, if home offices were a popular selling point, quickly redecorating a spare bedroom into office space could make a big difference to prospective buyers.
- How will you determine the best possible price for my home? Pricing is a complicated and critical issue in today’s market and before you ask an agent this question, decide how quickly you want/need to sell your home. With a slightly lower listing price, your home could sell very quickly. With a slightly higher price, be prepared to wait. Ask your agent what the average listing time is for homes in your area. Ask which homes sold quickly and why. Ask what investments you may be able to make in your home that would result in a higher selling price. Ask what the current housing supply in your market is so you can get an idea of how in-demand your home may or may not be. All of these factors are crucial to determining the best listing price for your particular circumstances.