5 questions to ask before hiring a real estate agent

Here are 5 key questions you should be asking before you hire any real estate professional.

Note: If you are thinking of selling and would like a first or second opinion, we would love to help. Get in touch to book a free consultation where we can talk through the questions below and more.

Question 1. What's your backup plan if my home doesn't sell straight away?

Every seller expects their home to sell in its first few weeks on the market. While this does happen in many circumstances, some houses take a little longer to find their ideal new owner. It's important that you discuss this potential outcome at the very start of the process, so everyone is on the same page if the need arises for a plan-b.

Hire a realistic agent with a solid plan in place for all possible eventualities.

Question 2. What advertising options do you recommend?

The key here is that you want to be wary of hiring an agent who doesn't recommend advertising your home. They may have buyers on their books right now who would like to buy your property and that's important but imagine if they expose it to the open market AND those buyers on their database at the same time.

Wouldn't that increase your chances of securing a premium price?

Question 3. Are you trying to 'buy' my listing?

Some real estate agents are notorious for offering an above-market appraisal figure to essentially 'buy' your business. They promise a high, potentially unrealistic sale price to lock you in as a client. Only to risk disappointing you later on when they can't generate offers at the inflated appraisal price after weeks on the market.

By that stage, it feels too late to change your agent. So, you may end up selling for less than what you expected, leaving a sour taste in the mouth.

Don't fall for this trap. During the interview, ask:

"What recent sales are you comparing my home with to arrive at your appraisal range?"

Their estimate should be based on market facts. You want to see a healthy dose of optimism of course, but you also want to avoid hiring a salesperson who promises you the world and buys you an atlas.

Question 4. What features will some buyers dislike about my home?

This is a test to see if the real estate agent you’re interviewing is prepared to be honest with you.

Yes, it's important they are a cheerleader for your home and that they are focused on its positive features. But it's also important that they understand the shortcomings of your home so they can understand and potentially overcome buyer objections effectively.

Buyers will bring up those shortcomings when they visit. So, your agent better be ready.

It's also a test to see whether they'll have the courage to tell you when the campaign isn't going right. Will they be strong enough to tell you which aspects of your home are putting buyers off? It's important you hire a real estate agent who will give you accurate feedback so you can make informed decisions.

Question 5. What will you say when a buyer asks: 'How much do they want?'

Far too often, owners don't actually discuss 'price talk' with their agent during the interview process. Ask about it upfront, so you know exactly what is going to be said to potential buyers.

It's your home. You should know how its value is being portrayed.

Bonus Question: Tell me about your team

Your agent may be a solopreneur and that's ok. Many real estate agents are. But you need to know what happens if they get sick one day and can't do a viewing or present an offer.

Who steps in? Would it be their manager? Their colleague? Maybe their buyer's assistant?

Are you comfortable with that person? Do you want to meet them before signing up? You could end up relying on their communication skills in the middle of a negotiation.

When you hire a real estate agent, you are hiring their support team too.

Thanks for reading! Remember, if you are thinking of making a move, we would love the opportunity to meet with you and answer all your questions. Get in touch to book a free consultation.