Whether youâ€™re considering selling your home, buying a home-or both- the real estate agent assisting you will play a pivotal role in your real estate transaction. From helping you find the home thatâ€™s best for you and your family, to negotiating the purchase and sales agreement, having a knowledgeable real estate agent on your side makes a world of difference. After all, chances are your home is your largest asset and investment so trusting it to an experienced agent is of the utmost importance. So how do you know you are choosing the real estate agent thatâ€™s the best fit for you? To evaluate whether a real estate agent is right for you, begin by asking them these Top 10 Questions:
1. How long have you been in the real estate industry?
â€œItâ€™s important to find out how long the broker has been in the industry because some brokers have only recently become licensed,â€ explained Sven Andersen, Team Leader of Andersen Group Realty who has more than 15 years of real estate industry experience. â€œNewly licensed agents may not have the marketing, negotiating and closing expertise that more experienced agents possess. A home is one of your biggest purchases, so itâ€™s important to choose an agent who is well-versed in the process.â€
2. How many homes do you sell each year?
â€œThe average agent sells four homes a year,â€ Andersen noted. â€œYou wouldnâ€™t trust a doctor to operate on you who performs only four procedures a year, so why would you trust someone who only sells a few homes each year?â€ Andersen pointed out. â€œWe sell an average of 70 homes a year,â€ he said of himself and his team. â€œIn 2014 we sold 76 homes, one home every 4.9 days, for $59 million in sales,â€ he added. â€œItâ€™s important that you have an expert working for you and that they are a specialist in your geographic area.â€
3. What is your current approach to helping a seller get their home sold?
For sellers, itâ€™s absolutely crucial that any listing agent you hire understands the importance of pricing your home correctly for the market. â€œProperly pricing a property is 80 percent of marketing a home,â€ Andersen explained. â€œItâ€™s important that you choose a listing agent who is very experienced in the area, because someone from outside the area may overprice your home causing it to languish on the market,â€ he added.â€ If you hire someone from outside the area, and they donâ€™t understand the pricing structure in your town, it ultimately could cost you thousands of dollars, not to mention time.â€
In addition to properly pricing your home for the market, Andersen also suggests choosing a listing agent who offers, â€œStaging services, professional photography and video services as well as a complete marketing plan that encompasses social media.â€
4. What is your sales-price-to-list-price ratio?
â€œThis is an important question to ask a listing agent,â€ Andersen noted. â€œItâ€™s a telltale sign of their ability to sell,â€ he said. â€œNinety-four percent is an ideal ratio between the list price and the ultimate sales price of a home. If, on average, the homes an agent lists sell for 94 percent of the original list price that is a good ratio.â€
â€œMake sure the agent is properly pricing a house initially to get it sold for the most amount of money as quickly as possible. The longer a home is on the market the lower the ratio between the list price and the sales price.â€
5. What are the average Days on the Market (DOM) of your listings?
â€œThe number of days from the date a home is listed, to the day it goes under contract should be as low as possible,â€ Andersen noted. â€œDays on the Market (DOM) are not your friend in the real estate business,â€ he added. â€œFor example, would you pay more for a house thatâ€™s been on the market for four days or four months?â€
â€œThe longer a home is on the market, the lower the sales price will be,â€ he said. Andersen added. â€œA house that is overpriced will remain on the market longer,â€ he said. â€œSo the chances of a seller receiving the asking price decreases the longer a home is on the market,â€
6. What marketing do you perform?
â€œAsk the agent for a complete marketing plan that outlines what they will do in terms of marketing your home and how they will market it,â€ suggests Andersen. â€œAn experienced agent has more knowledge and experience in terms of how to market your home and is well-versed in the marketing strategies to get it sold for the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time.â€
â€œAsking how they rank in their industry is also very revealing,â€ he said. â€œFor example, Andersen Group Realty was the number one RE/MAX Team in New England (2013), the number one RE/MAX Team in Massachusetts (2014), and we are number four for sales volume in all of Massachusetts.â€
7. What is the structure of your organization and why does it matter to me?
Whether you are selling a home or buying a home, the manner in which the real estate company you select operates and the services they offer is very important for buyers and sellers to understand. â€œWhen you hire Andersen Group Realty you have a team of six people working on your behalf,â€ Andersen said. â€œIn addition to me as the team leader, we also have a listing coordinator, closing coordinator and three of the top buyersâ€™ agents in the area,â€ he noted. â€œWe donâ€™t charge more, yet we deliver concierge level services, including professional photography, staging, organizing and marketing, because our staff levels are superior to other agents.â€
8. Where is your primary market concentration?
â€œIt is very important that the agent you hire understands your market, town and area,â€ Andersen said. â€For sellers, itâ€™s crucial that the agent understands how to price homes in the area, and for buyers, itâ€™s important that the agent has their finger on the pulse of the area so they are abreast of what homes are coming on the market,â€ he added. â€œAn agent who is well-versed in the areaâ€™s nuances is an asset to homebuyers and sellers.â€
9. What services does the agent provide in his/her fee?
â€œParticularly when listing a home, be sure to find out what services the agent provides as part of their fee as well as any fees they charge for additional services, above the closing costs to get your home listed,â€ Andersen noted. â€œFor example, do they charge additional fees for professional photography, and staging?â€ If you will incur additional fees, be sure to ask about them upfront so you will be aware of any additional expenses.
10. How much of your business is referral-based?
â€œSeventy-two percent of our business is referred to us through other agents, as well as past clients and customers,â€ Andersen said. â€œWe do a comprehensive job delivering a high level of service for our clients, and as a result many of them refer their friends and relatives to us,â€ he added. â€œReal estate is a word-of-mouth business, so you want to choose a company or agent who receives a high number of referrals.â€
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