5 Questions Home Sellers Should Ask Potential Listing Agents

5 Questions Home Sellers Should Ask Potential Listing Agents

5 Questions Home Sellers Should Ask Potential Listing AgentsWhen it’s time to sell, homeowners are required to have a lot of trust. For most, a home is the biggest investment of their life, and they’re turning over the sale of that investment to a listing agent whom they probably don’t know all that well.

And not all listing agents are created equal. Each will probably have a presentation for the home sellers, pitching themselves as the one who is best-equipped to sell their home. But no matter how impressive the listing presentation is, home sellers can make sure a listing agent is a good fit for them by treating the presentation as kind of an interview. Instead of a one-way conversation, they should have some questions for the agent about his or her qualifications.

Here are five questions home sellers probably should ask potential listing agents:

What needs to be done to the home?

There really is no such thing as a perfect home. But a home’s condition, living space, and amenities can all affect the sale price and its time on the market, so home sellers should ask a potential listing agent what they need to do to the home to prepare it for sale. It might just be a coat of paint, or it could be something more substantial. If you come across a listing agent who doesn’t want to carefully walk through the home and give you advice, it might be time to look for another agent. Every home going up for sale needs something, and if an “expert” tells you otherwise, he or she might not have the expertise you’re looking for.

What is your marketing plan?

Most listing agents will be upfront about this and share with you all the ways they market a home. Almost every buyer starts a home search online, so home sellers should make sure that the agent has a solid online presence. This means asking for current online listings to examine and even asking about things such as website impressions and social media following sizes. “I sell $10 million dollars worth of homes each year” is a common marketing “hook” for listing agents, but that statistic doesn’t necessarily mean anything for your home. So sellers should feel free to ask HOW that’s accomplished.

Do you use professional photos?

Again, because of how important your home’s online image is, it’s necessary to put your home’s best foot forward. Professional photographs, taken by a photographer with experience in shooting homes, are almost a necessity. Great photos might not sell a home by themselves, but poor ones can definitely sabotage a home sale.

Do you have access to a buyer database?

Agents who specialize in listing homes might not have as much contact with buyers as someone who’s heavily involved with buyers. So while it’s not a deal-breaker if your listing agent hasn’t built a contact list of potential buyers, it doesn’t hurt to ask if someone else in their office has a database of qualified people already looking for a home like yours. A simple thing such as having the right contacts can often speed up the home-selling process. An agent with access to buyer contacts is a plus.

What promises won’t you make?

A listing agent who makes their presentation to you wants to get your home under contract. Sometimes, this involves making a lot of promises or assurances. Mostly, these assurances will be the same for every agent – the experienced ones all know what home sellers want to hear. But a good listing agent also tells you up front what you might not want to hear but need to hear. There are few better ways to make sure an agent is being upfront and honest with you than by asking them for the assurances or promises they can’t or won’t make.

Home sellers are entrusting the sale of the biggest investment of their lives to someone who’s often a stranger. Selling a home is a big job, and asking some questions of potential listing agents can help make sure someone qualified is getting that job.

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