Asian couple looking for real estate

What should I ask my real estate agent before selling?

Hiring an agent isn’t as easy as it seems. You want someone who is personable, knowledgeable and effective, but how do you go about finding that perfect balance?

The first step, meeting an agent, is easy. Simply search for listings in your ZIP code, and then contact agents who list homes similar to yours. Consider the agent’s listings to be a little like a job interview, with you. Take time to email and call about a potential listing to test the agent’s response time and service. After viewing listings, you’ll have a good idea of how well he or she describes homes, shows photos and markets properties. Keep notes and narrow your selection down to your top choices.

Next, it is time to interview the agent. This is where you will test his or her knowledge and expertise. It is also where experience can really pay off. An experienced agent will have deep insight into local real estate market statistics that can help you obtain top dollar for your property. Don’t be afraid to ask questions — professionals like to show their stuff. If they don’t have the data at their fingertips, they know how to get it. What to ask? Here are some examples:

1 What is the average listing prices for houses of this age, size and location?

2 What is the average selling price for homes of this age, size and location?

3 How long has the average home been listed before selling?

4 How many homes are currently on the market in this area?

5 How many homes were on the market one year ago? Two years ago? Three years ago?

6 What was the average selling price for homes of this age, size and location last month? Three and six months ago? A year ago? (Remember, there are seasonal fluctuations to consider.)

7 What is the percentage of owner-occupied versus rental homes in the area?

8 Are there any large neighborhoods or communities in development?

9 What is the average household income in the area? Age? Is the area growing, stagnating or decreasing?

10 What has been the rate of appreciation or depreciation in the local market for the past one to five years?

Thinking of selling? Find a local realty expert who can help or explore the local market with our real estate listings.