4 Questions You Need to Ask Before Signing a Listing Contract

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Selling a home is an exciting milestone, but it can also be overwhelming at times. That’s why many home sellers choose to work with a real estate agent who can guide them through the process. If you’re on the hunt for an agent, remember that not all real estate agents are created equal. So how exactly can you find a top real estate agent? Here are some essential questions to ask when evaluating a prospective agent.

1. What do your past clients say about working with you?

Looking into an agent’s past real estate transactions can give you a good sense of what you can expect for your home sale. Start by searching online to see what others have to say about the agent you’re considering. Online reviews only tell part of the story, so be sure to also ask friends, family, and neighbors about what they’ve heard. You can also request client references directly from the agent as well.

If you get the chance to speak directly with a past client, ask them more detailed questions. How long did it take to sell their home? How proactive was the agent during the process? What was the original list price, and how much did the home end up selling for? This feedback can give you an idea of the agent’s customer service and negotiation skills.

2. What's going on in the market, and how will this impact my desired sale price?

A top agent will have the neighborhood knowledge you’ll need to navigate your home sale. For example, a local agent is usually up-to-date on the latest listings, so they can competitively price your home. A real estate professional who actively follows local market trends will also have the insight you’ll need to effectively negotiate offers.

You can get a feel for an agent’s local knowledge by asking about their sales volume in the neighborhood and if they’ve recently worked with clients with similar homes to yours. You should also ask them about neighborhood developments that might affect your home sale.

Tip: An agent who’s well-connected in your neighborhood may be able to share your listing with potential buyers before it hits the market, giving you a chance to sell your home quickly.

3. What are your qualifications?

Your house is likely the largest investment you’ve ever made, so you need to ensure your agent is qualified for this important job. Many states have an online real estate database where you can find an agent’s licensing status, brokerage information, and real estate education history.

Beyond licensing, a top performing real estate agent with experience that’s relevant to your home sale will likely be able to handle any potential road bumps with ease and confidence. Do they specialize in what you’re selling in terms of price range, location, etc.? If you have a unique situation, is the agent familiar with the additional steps you’ll need to take? All of this information can help you determine if you can trust this agent with your home sale.

4. How often should I expect to hear from you?

Ultimately, the best real estate agent will be the one who works best with you. After all, the home sale can sometimes be a challenge, so it’s essential to have an agent that you feel comfortable with and understands your needs. When you first interview a potential agent, take some time to ask them some questions about their working style. That list includes:

  • Communication style: How often do they communicate with clients? In what format (email, phone, etc.)?
  • Team support: Do they work independently? Or do they have a team of real estate professionals that will also work with you?
  • Educational resources: If you’re a first-time seller, are they willing to guide you through the process?
  • Turnaround time: How often will they update you on your home sale progress? If you receive an offer, how quickly will they respond?

While these questions can help you get a feel for whether or not you’ll work well with this agent, you should also pay attention to what the agent asks you. If they take the time to get to know you and your home selling goals, that’s a strong sign of excellent customer service in the future.

Bottom line

Selling a home will be one of the largest financial decisions you'll make. That's why it's essential to have a trusted partner by your side. Asking these questions will help you make sure you're choosing the right person for the job.

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