Five Questions To Ask Your Potential Seller's Agent

Written by Posted On Thursday, 31 October 2013 09:59

Real estate professionals are used to being asked questions by buyers and sellers, but not all questions are created equal. In this column, we take a look at five of the most important questions to ask before you decide to work with a particular agent.

Is this your full-time career?

This isn't to say that the only good agents are full-time in the industry. Instead, it's to help you understand the agent's time commitment to their real estate work. This will help you determine if your schedules will work well together. Real estate is not an eight-to-five kind of job. So, if your agent is working another job that requires his presence during a specific time frame, this could pose inconveniences for you. However, if the agent has ample support staff and the ability to be very responsive, there might not be an issue. More than likely this latter situation is offered by an agent who is full-time in the real estate industry.

How many sales have you closed in my neighborhood?

An agent with a solid understanding of your neighborhood is critical to helping you sell your home faster and for more money. Today, though, with the Internet playing a vital role in real estate, agents can have a broader reach. They don't always have to be selling in your neighborhood to be good at selling your home. There are agents with great marketing skills who are working well in other neighborhoods... maybe they haven't sold in yours yet. Don't cast them aside. Hear what they have to say and see if it's a fit for your target buyers.

How do you handle something that goes wrong in a transaction?

This is a very broad question but a good agent will have a thoughtful and truthful answer. This is a customer-relation-based industry and knowing how complaints, errors, and issues that come up are handled is worth exploring. It provides opportunity for greater discussion and understanding about the business and the expected service you will receive.

What is your fee?

Typically sellers' agents take a 3% commission. Sometimes this is negotiable. You should have this discussion before you sign with the agent. Understand, though, that real estate is not a passive job. Successful agents work hard to earn their commissions and working for a reduced commission could mean some of the marketing services offered to a full-paying client aren't available to you. Also, explore the topic of house price reductions.

How will you market my home?

This is another question that will bring you many different answers ranging from fluff to really meaningful information. While marketing strategies require more time and research to develop, skilled agents will be able to tell you what works in your neighborhood and what doesn't. They should talk to you about many marketing techniques including: social media, the Internet, video, open houses, and more. They may have developed their own special strategies that help to increase foot-traffic to your home. Since the Web plays such a big role in showcasing for-sale home pictures, the challenge can be getting those same potential buyers to actually set foot in your home.

Asking questions up front, aiming for clear and specific understanding, will create a greater chance of a sale and a harmonious business relationship.

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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website:

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

Contact Phoebe at (858) 259-3646 or [email protected]. Visit for more information.

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