|1. Are you
a full-time professional Realtor®? How long have
you worked full time in real estate? What professional
designations do you have?
Knowing whether or not
your Realtor® practices real estate on a full-time
basis can give you a piece of the puzzle in foreseeing
scheduling conflicts and, overall, his or her commitment
to your transaction. As with any profession, the number
of years a person has been in the business does not
necessarily reflect the level of service you can expect,
but it is a good starting point for your discussion. The
same issue can apply to professional designations.
2. Do you have a
personal assistant, team, or staff to handle different
parts of the sales transaction? What are their names and
how will each of them help me in my transaction? How do
I communicate with them?
It is not uncommon for
high real estate sales producers to hire people to work
for them or with them. They typically work on a referral
basis, and, as their businesses grow, they must be able
to deliver the same or higher quality service to more
You may want to be clear
about who on the team will take part in your
transaction, and what role each person will play. You
may even want to meet the other team members before you
decide to work with the team overall. If you needed help
with a certain part of your home sale, who should you
talk to and how would you communicate? If you have a
question about fees on your closing statement, who would
handle that? Who will show up to your closing? These are
just a few of the many important considerations in
working with a team.
3. Do you and/or your
company each have a website that will provide me with
useful information for research, services, and how you
work with buyers? Can I have those Web addresses now?
Many homebuyers prefer
to search online for homes and home buying information.
There are certain privacy and comfort levels that you
might appreciate in starting a preliminary search this
way, and often it is just a matter of convenience,
having 24-hour access to information. By searching the
Realtor®'s and the company's Web sites, you will get a
clear picture of how much work you would be able to
accomplish online, and whether or not that suits your
4. How will you keep
in contact with me during the buying process, and how
It's a good idea for you
to set your expectations reasonably in accordance with
how your Realtor® conducts business. You may be looking
for an agent to call, fax, or email you every days to
tell you about prospective buyers who have seen your
home. On the other hand, your Realtor® may have access
to systems that will notify you automatically each time
a new visitor tours your home (which could happen
several times a day or several times a week). Asking
this extra question can help you to reconcile your needs
with your Realtor®'s systems, which makes for a far
more satisfying relationship.
5. Can you explain
one thing that you do that other agents don't do that
ensures I'm getting top dollar for my property? What is
your average market time versus other agents' average
Marketing skills are
learned, and sometimes a real estate professional's
unique method of research and delivery make the
difference between whether or not a property sells
quickly. For example, an agent might research the
demographics of your neighborhood and present to you a
target market list for direct marketing purposes.
6. Will you give me
names of past clients who will give references for you?
Interviewing a Realtor®
to help you buy a home can be very similar to
interviewing someone to work in your office. Contacting
a Realtor®'s references can be a reliable way for you
to understand how he or she works, and whether or not
this style is compatible with your own.
7. Do you have a
performance guarantee? If I am not satisfied with your
performance, can I terminate our listing agreement?
especially in the heavily regulated world of real
estate, it can be increasingly difficult for a Realtor®
to offer a performance guarantee. Sometimes you may find
a Realtor® who is willing to guarantee that if you are
dissatisfied in any way with their service they will
terminate your listing agreement. If your Realtor® does
not have a performance guarantee available in writing,
it is not an indication that he or she is not committed
to perform. Realtors® at Keller Williams Realty
understand the importance of win-win business
relationships, and that the Realtor® does not benefit
if the client does not also benefit.
will you get paid? How are your fees structured? May I
have that in writing?
This is an issue that
can also be related to agency. In many areas, the seller
still customarily pays all Realtor® commissions through
the listing broker. Sometimes, Realtors® will have
other small fees, such as administrative or special
service fees, that are charged to clients, regardless of
whether they are buying or selling. Be aware of the big
picture before you sign any agreements. Ask for an
estimate of costs from any agent you contemplate
would you develop pricing and marketing strategies for
our home? Will you commit to the marketing strategy in
Pricing a home correctly
is the single most important factor in determining if a
home sells quickly, or at all. Although location and
condition also effect the selling process, price is a
primary factor. Access to all current property
information is essential, and sometimes a pre-appraisal
will help. Ask your agent where he or she obtained the
information to create the market analysis, and whether
your agent included For Sale By Owner homes, foreclosed
homes, and bank-owned sales in that list.
will you do and what will you not do to sell my home?
Who determines where and when my home is marketed/
promoted? Who pays for your advertising?
||Ask your real
estate agent to present to you a clear marketing and
advertising budget, and how those dollars will be spent.
Ask if there are other forms of advertisement/ marketing
media that are also available but not mentioned in the
budget/plan, and who pays for those. Request samples of
the various media that your agent proposes (such as
Internet Web sites, print magazines, and local