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Choose A REALTOR® To Sell Your Home

®Ready To Choose A REALTOR® To Sell Your Home?

It Helps To Know What Questions To Ask

Have you made a decision to sell your home and are ready to find a REALTOR®? That can be a very confusing time. Once you've let it be known that you're selling, it seems that REALTORS® come out of the woodwork. Suddenly every friend you've ever had who dabbles in real estate sales wants to speak to you. You'll likely be hit by numerous entreaties of various intensity. You get referrals almost every day from friends and acquaintances.

Choosing A Friend As Your Realtor May Not Be A Good IdeaWhy Choosing A Friend To Sell Your Home May Not Be Your Best Choice

It's very understandable that you want your REALTOR® to be a friend. You want to be able to trust the person selling your home and to feel comfortable expressing your needs and wants. You're going to have a level of comfort with a friend that you haven't yet established with an unknown agent.

But, using a friend for a real estate agent may be a big mistake. Their skill level may not meet your needs if they don't have the experience, expertise and connections of a full-time, life-long real estate career. If they're a part-time agent or don't have a lifetime of real estate experience, you may not get top dollar. They're unlikely to have the connections that make for a quick, smooth and profitable sales transaction.

Would you entrust brain surgery to a friend rather than a trained surgeon? It's a realistic comparison. The stakes for both are high, and the level of skill, training and experience is equally high. The results of both can be life altering. When it's brain surgery for yourself or your family, it's pretty obvious that you want to go with the most skilled and experienced candidate.

Ten Questions From NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® To Help You Choose An Agent

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) Is The Largest Professional Association of REALTORS®. 

REALTOR® is a designation that can only be used by real estate professionals who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. This means that they subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics promoted by NAR. Here are the questions NAR recommends that you ask every REALTOR® you interview to represent you in selling a home. 

1. How Many Years Have You Been In Residential Real Estate Sales? Is It Your Full-Time Job OR Is It a Part-Time Job For You?Sit down with a realtor with 900+ transactions under his belt

Why You Want To Ask This Question

Experience counts in complex industries. Using newbies or friends who are new agents might sound like a good idea, but it could cost you in the end. After all, don't you want to work with an agent who has already surmounted the steep learning curve of being a REALTOR®. Do you want a realtor who is only part-time, or do you want the expertise that comes with complete commitment to the full-time job of being a REALTOR®.

How James Answers This Question

I've been a full-time REALTOR® for 30+ years. This means I've survived and thrived on the many ups and downs of the market over those decades. You want a feeling of safety. Doesn't that come more from working with someone who has technical competence rather than just working with a friend. Consider the experience acquired when a REALTOR® has successfully completed 900+ transactions. Isn't that the kind of expertise you want on your side when you're dealing with one of the largest financial transactions of your life?

2. How Many Homes Have You And Your Brokerage Sold This Year and Last Year? Nice house you could buy

Why You Want To Ask This Question

You need to realize that not all realtors are created equal. Someone can be a full-time realtor and still only have a few sales a year. The majority of real estate agents in Santa Clara County sell only 1-2 homes a year. 60% of Santa Clara agents sell zero homes. This is an issue that you need to clarify with any agent you interview before selecting the REALTOR® to sell your home. It's also important to learn about the brokerage a REALTOR® works for. A small brokerage likely doesn't have any "marketing muscle" behind it. You want to know what kind of marketing is provided by the brokerage an agent works for. 

How James Answers This Question

Here's the fastest way to know how many homes I've sold recently. Go to the home page of this site. Scroll down to the Featured Listing section. Click on View All. There, you'll see my latest sold properties. I have a proven track record. My annual average sales ranges from 20-56 closed transactions a year. You can actually plot out the numbers of sales on a graph. I certainly track them. Keller Williams also provides proven systems and "big gorilla" marketing muscle. There are 150+ agents in this office who will be working on selling your property, bringing their buyers. Keller Williams is the #1 real estate brokerage in the Bay Area by gross volume of sales. In the last 4-5 years, only one of my listings did not sell...and that was because the clients changed their minds about selling before the property went onto the market.

Mature Asian Woman homeowner3. What Other Real-Estate-Related Designations or Certifications Do You Hold?

Why You Want To Ask This Question

To maintain licensing, real estate professionals must take additional specialized training every year. The "lay person" doesn't always understand the significance of these designations and certifications. What you need to know is that designations and certifications define the special skills that an agent has acquired to help you with your specific real estate needs. They indicate the level of commitment an agent has to staying on top of knowledge in their chosen career. 

Ask agents that you interview if they hold a CRS® designation. This stands for Certified Residential Specialist and is the highest credential awarded to residential sales agents, managers and brokers.

How James Answers This Question

I am a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS®), along with an alphabet soup of other designations. Click this link if you want to see the full list. I'm committed to learning and growing my knowledge. When you've known me a while, you'll see that I'm consistently enrolling in numerous trainings that increase my ability to serve your needs. This is something that is hard wired into me. I want to stay on top of current best practices and ways to ensure that my clients receive the best that the industry has to offer.

4. Do You Know How Many Days Your Homes Are On The Market Before They Are Sold? How Does Your Days-On-Market Compare to Other Agents?

Why You Want To Ask This Question

You want to work with a REALTOR® who has already calculated this information about their performance. That indicates a REALTOR® who is driven by achievement. Days On Market is one of those statistics that can be a double-edged sword. The number can be easily distorted by things like the client's need to sell at a future date for their own needs, or an agent wanting to keep their Days On Market in an impressive range so they don't serve the client's best needs.

How many Days On Market (DOM) is your listing averageHow James Answers This Question

Days On Market is also based on what the client wants and their specific time needs. Some clients need additional time to prep for sale after signing an agency agreement. Other clients need an extended close. These needs affect the Days On Market statistics. What's most important is that the agent is able to articulate what's going on in the market and works with the clients to make sure those circumstances benefit them. The real question here is will the Days On Market information help you achieve your specific real estate goals and objectives. Compare the answers you get about this from different agents and decide for yourself what is significant.

5. What’s the Average Variation Between Your Initial Listing and Final Sales Price?

Why You Want To Ask This Question

This is one indication of a REALTOR®’s pricing and negotiating skills. What you're looking for here is any kind of trend line for the final sales price to be higher than the original listing price. When you find that, you've likely located an agent who knows how to price right to maximize both traffic and proceeds. It also shows the possibility that you've identified a strong negotiator. Some agents are gifted at creating a situation with multiple offers and maximizing your proceeds.

How James Answers This Question

Let me be very explicit here. The average agent in Santa Clara County concludes transactions with the Final Sales Price averaging 94% to 97% of the Inital Listing Price. This figure varies depending on market conditions such as Seller's Market, inventory supply, and desirability of property. I've calculated my average and I can say with certainty that my average is a Final Sales Price that is 106.4% of the Initial Listing Price. Multiply that additional 6.4% times hundreds of thousands in the price of your property and surely you will conclude that my insisting on a full commission is clear indication of my confidence in the results I produce. 

Work with a realtor who has skills and systems6. What Is Your Approach To Selling A Home? What Specific Marketing Systems Will You Use to Sell My Home?

Why You Want To Ask This Question

You want your chosen agent to have a clear, well-thought-out plan for marketing your home. Look for a REALTOR® with an aggressive and innovative strategy. Find an agent who understands how to market property online and can provide you a clear demonstration of that. You do not want to work with an agent who is going to list your home, put up a sign and list your property on the MLS...then sit and wait for something to happen.

How James Answers This Question

I have a very aggressive and proven marketing system. It's been designed to bring you fast results and top dollar. I'm constantly improving the system to stay on top of the ever-changing real estate market. My 18-Point Promises clearly lay out what you can expect me to do to market your home.

As a summary though, you can expect me to spend several hours every morning calling to find buyers for you. I use professional photography and a professional writer to present your home as attractively as possible. We get your property on the MLS ASAP and start open houses as soon as you are ready. Once the photos and MLS information are complete, our syndication system pushes out your listing to 900 real estate websites.

The best part though is that you get weekly email reports telling you how many Internet views your property is getting. In addition, I'm keeping you in the loop about  the activity on your property.

7. Will You Represent Me Exclusively As My Real Estate Agent? Do You Also Choose To Represent The Buyer?Military homeowner and family

Why You Want To Ask This Question

Typically, in California it's legal for a REALTOR® to represent both parties in a transaction. However, you will want to fully understand the ramifications of such representation. Be sure your REALTOR® clearly explains his or her philosophy on dual agency relationships and their beliefs about obligations to their clients. 

How James Answers This Question

Approximately 10% of my deals are dual agency. What you need to know is that, with dual agency, I cannot disclose your confidential information to the other party. I must represent the best interests of both parties. To explain how this works, I can show comps and trends and general information such as that. However, I cannot disclose to the other party any of your private circumstances (such as you desperately must sell quickly or the lowest price you would accept for your home). Ethically, I must— and do—represent the best interests of both sides. If you have concerns, we will discuss them.

It's  important to realize that there are certain benefits to the seller of dual agency. You're likely to have a completely committed agent who will make sure that the deal closes. Eliminating the variable of a second agent can make the close a lot more predictable and efficient. What's most important for you to know is that, in dual agency, I am always working to make the best deal for you.

8. Do You Know Service Providers You Can Recommend To Help Me Obtain a Mortgage, Inspect The Home, Make Repairs and Other Real Estate Related Services?

Why You Want To Ask This Question

You want to work with a REALTOR® who's been in the business long enough to have relationships with multiple providers. It's important for you to inquire whether or not they have a special relationship with any of the providers. You also want to see breadth and depth of knowledge about providers. You'll be relying on your agent to guide you in finding the best providers.

How James Answers This Question

I've got 30 years' worth of vendors in my address book. Many of them I have recommended repeatedly, and always check with clients on the service they have received from my referral. You can trust that I do not recommend anyone who hasn't provided superior results to my clients nor do I benefit financially from my recommendations. You'll be happy with the service providers I recommend or they know that I'll never refer another client to them.

9. How Will You Keep Me Informed About My Transaction As It Progresses?Relax in your own home

Why You Want To Ask This Question

This is likely to be an indicator of how your relationship with the agent will work. You want to see that they have a well-thought-out plan for communicating information to you. You also want to receive such information in your preferred format not theirs.

How James Answers This Question

Here's what you can count on from me. You will receive written reports by email that provide you the stats on how many views your property is receiving on various real estate websites. In addition, you will hear from me promptly to report on each and every open house. I will be in touch with you to let you know of all activities happening on your listing, and call you to discuss the progress we've made on my 18-Point Promises to you. You will not be wondering what is going on. You will know.

10. Will You Please Provide The Contact Information Of Your Three Most Recent Seller Clients.

Why You Want To Ask This Question

You want to see how the agent responds to this question. Do they readily have this information available? Were they prepared for you to ask this question? Is it easy for them to provide names? You'll want to ask former clients if they would use the agent again in the future.

Choose a realtor who will make you a winner when you sell your houseHow James Answers This Question

Great, I can easily provide you with 5 or 10 of my recent clients! You can also go to my Testimonial page on this website to discover for yourself right now exactly what my clients say about working with me. I'm proud of the testimonials I get and delighted to share them with potential sellers.

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