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3 great questions to ask when interviewing real estate agents to sell your home

By Chris Watson
One of our roles as real estate agents is to help educate prospective vendors on how they should sell their home. Most of the public only transact a handful of properties in their lifetimes and there are so many difference of opinions. It seems that when a prospective vendor asks their friends or family for some advice often they come away more confused than when they started. Should they have an auction or not? Is print media still relevant? Are properties worth what they are worth or can sellers influence prices in a positive way? Are all real estate agents the same?
I’d argue that not all real estate agents are the same and as I highlight with prospective vendors – if all agents were the same then why would the majority of the public interview numerous agents?
Below are 3 great questions I’ve been asked over more than a decade in real estate to help vendors distinguish the good from the not so good…
1. Can I speak with some of your previous clients you’ve sold for?
In this day and age peer reviews help consumers choose quality products time and time again. I don’t go to restaurants without reading google reviews or trip advisor before making a booking. There are ample review sites for real estate agents, however many are paid review sites meaning that the agents who pay for their service promote positive reviews – not negative reviews. I’ve never seen a negative review (isn’t that strange?). These sites unfortunately don’t give an accurate account of how an agent has performed and the only true way to get a feel is to call and speak to previous clients.
If an agent is forthcoming with previous vendor’s details then it’s a sign that they are confident in their reputation and don’t need to pay a site to cover up their cracks.
2. Explain to me in detail what you will be doing with the buyers of our home.
Marketing isn’t enough to sell real estate- not in the Ringwood area (nor any area for that matter). Agent’s influence prices by their follow up and skills in being able to negotiate. How many times will the buyers be called about my home? Explain the process around what happens when someone wants to make an offer on my home? How long does it take for enquiries on my home to be replied to?
If you’re unsure then take the agent for a test drive. Enquire on one of their listings and see how long it takes for a reply – you’d be amazed at how long some agents take to reply. Go through an open home and see when you get a text message and follow up – again you’ll be amazed at how long some agents take.
We regularly mystery shop our agents and our competitors so I know the answers. I’m proud to say our response times are much much less than some others.
3. If I auction my home how many agents will be at the auction and what will they be doing?
Go out this weekend and attend some auctions to see how agents operate. Are there real estate agents present to work the crowd? Are the agents there but not talking to anyone and writing on their note pads? The auction is the final negotiation and the most important part of a sale. Buyers can be helped along to increase the sale price by tens of thousands of dollars which could mean so much to vendors on their next phase of their lives.
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