What questions to ask when hiring your sales agent

Choosing someone to sell your prized home is a decision that needs careful consideration. This is a transaction that will be in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars (for some lucky sellers), so finding a qualified, knowledgeable, and trustworthy sales agent is absolutely critical.

Here are a few questions you should be asking your agent before deciding if they are right for you.

How well do you know the area?

You’re going to choose an agent who sells properties in your area, that is a given. But how well do they really know the intricacies and data of your home’s suburb? Ask them about how much other properties sold for on the same street, whether you know the answer to this question or not. Yes, this sounds like a test, but that’s exactly what these questions are. This is basically a job interview. You want to know if the agent knows the ins and outs of the area and your street specifically, and if they do, you’re well on your way to finding the experienced and skillful agent of your dreams.

What price do you think you can get for my home?

While the actual approximate dollar figure is important to know, the answer to this question is in some sense irrelevant. You will have researched sold properties in the area and have a vague idea of what your home is worth. Rather, this question is for you to try to gauge a bit about the agent’s personality and strategy on how he/she will sell your home.

If they’re severely underquoting what you think your home is worth, maybe they don’t have the confidence in the property or their own abilities to get the right price. If they’re promising you the world and a price you know is totally unrealistic, maybe they’re a bit too cocky (which isn’t necessarily a bad quality to have as your agent and a personality that many will find appealing). Most sellers are looking for a nice balance of realism and confidence, an agent who will do their absolute best to get the right price for you, but who also lives in the real world and knows exactly what your home is worth and how to go about getting that price for you.

What properties have you recently sold in the area?

This is a pretty cut and dry question. If the answer is many, that is obviously a huge positive. Agents that do a lot of business in the area you are selling have a large database of contacts, whether it be former clients or buyers who have maybe missed out on properties they have sold and want to get in on the next one. Agents who haven’t sold many properties in your area will likely have less contacts/buyers to get interested in your residence.

What’s the best time to sell my home?

If your agent answers right now, that might very well be the right time. But there is also a chance that it isn’t, and your agent just wants your listing and a quick sale. If you get a measured and honest answer, with your prospective agent responding with something along the lines of “Maybe a few months from now in spring when the market will have picked up”, this seemingly frank and thoughtful answer could indicate that they have your best interests at heart and not theirs. It is very hard to know. I guess all you can do is trust your judgement.

How long will it take to sell my home?

The realistic answer to this question is pretty unknown. Homes can sell in 2 days, 2 weeks, or 2 months, depending on a variety of circumstances both predictable and unpredictable. The question is more probing to see how well your agent understands the current market and the specific trends in your area. I told you, this is a job interview!

What is your favourite movie?

Just kidding. But, also not really. Getting to know a bit more about your agent on a personal level, whether it be about their family or what football team they support, might strengthen your desire to want to hire them to sell your home. Or you might be someone who wants to know nothing about their personal life and prefers to keep everything strictly business. It is entirely up to you.

Other questions worth asking:

How much will the campaign cost me?

What’s the best strategy when it comes to selling my home (i.e. private sale, auction, etc…)?

What do I need to do to my house before putting it on the market?

What is your background and how long have you been in real estate?

What makes you different from other agents in the area?

All the above questions will give you some insight into the knowledge, skill, attitude, and trustworthiness of your prospective agent. From there, you can make your decision, cross your fingers, and hope you’ve chosen wisely. The proof will be in the pudding soon enough.