How to interview and select a realtor

As of June of this year, there are a total of 3,829 licensed realtors in good standing within our local Board of realtors at SRCAR (Southwest Riverside County Association of realtors). Please note that not all of these realtors (licensed real estate agents) are created equal. Finding the right one for you when selling your home can make all the difference between a quick sale and languishing way too long on the market unsold.

Take your time and hire the right one for you. It does not have to be a friend or relative. Remember this is a huge financial endeavor that you’ll be entrusting someone with that may very well have a significant impact on your financial future – for years to come. Consider these “Top 10 Questions” when picking the right person to help you and your family sell your Temecula or Murrieta home.

Are you a full time realtor or part time?

Juggling between real estate and another career can be difficult. Which career has the priority? Ask for the name of the part-time real estate agent’s supervisor and phone number. Are they available throughout the day or only during specific times?

How Many Homes have YOU Sold in My Neighborhood in the last Year? Two Years? Five Years?

In a perfect world, you’re prospective agent will have sold homes on your street and in your neighborhood. Ask for a report that would include how many homes the agent sold, the original list price to sold price ratio, the days on market (DOM) and the Cumulative Days on Market (CDOM). How do these numbers compare to the entire local market, during the same time period.

Are you currently representing any other Sellers? How Many? Where are Your Listings?

Some think an agent without any other clients will be able to give 100 percent focus to the sale of their home while others believe that a busy agent is a focused agent. The call is yours.

Do you have an Assistant? Transaction Coordinator? Other Staff? What aspects of the transaction will you personally handle and what will be delegated?

How involved is your agent? There are some that do nothing more than sign up new clients with a powerful listing presentation and then their team handles all other aspects of the transaction. Having a team and delegating may not be the ideal fit for you. If the sale of your home is a team effort, ask who who the teammates are. What does your prospective agent actually know about the whole process? Does their scope of services include marketing and advertising? How do they negotiate sale price and other contract points such as inspections, title issues and closing procedures.

What price would you like to list my home at? How long do you expect it to take to sell? Why?

It’s important for your agent to understand the market and know what’s for sale and what it’s selling for. If your prospective agent refers to a “Zestimate” or other online valuation thank them for their time as you close the door on them.

When did you receive your Real Estate License? What designations do you have? What level of formal education do you have?

A real estate license must be renewed, in California, every four years after completing 45 hours of continuing education. Anyone who has renewed their license at least once shows a certain amount of commitment to the industry. Agents who have taken additional classes above and beyond what the law specifies and who have earned designations in relevant specialties show commitment to their careers. The same can be said about formal education. Is your prospective real estate agent a high school dropout or do they have a relevant degree? Dedication to education usually is an indicator of competence.

Why are you the best choice to be my realtor?

This is where the prospective realtor should have an answer ready to roll on a moment’s notice.

Please explain my closing costs. What will they be?

Closing costs can vary from transaction to transaction but there are some consistencies. Some are based on a percentage of the transaction, the percentage of the loan, or a flat fee. This is the phase to look for hidden or garbage fees that can be negotiated away.

What is your website? Blog? Do you operate any other websites?

Take the time to look at your prospective real estate agents website and blog. Read what they have to say and see if you agree with their opinions, regarding real estate. Do they let too much of their personal belief system merge into their professional business? You sure don’t want an agent driving away a prospective buyer because of some radical viewpoint that others do not agree with – whether you do or not.

You’ll also have a first-hand chance to examine their marketing machine. Does the agent have any lead capture or squeeze pages? Are there any anonymous websites?

There is much to be learned about anyone these days, especially someone who is actively marketing on the internet. Do your due-diligence.

What else do I need to know about you, your company, the market, and real estate in general?

This is the chance the prospective agent can fill in the blanks. You want to avoid any surprises down the road. As the agent answers questions, look for the next question. What is the agent not saying? Don’t be afraid to dig deeper.

Ask these questions and more. There is no rule on how many agents you should interview – it could be the first you speak with, or the third, or the tenth. Your agent may be your nephew or your next door neighbor. Again, there is no rule and you have no obligation to anyone to allow them access to your most personal financial information and entrust them with your largest asset just because your kids play softball together. Dig deep and be hard on your prospects until you are satisfied beyond any reasonable doubt that this agent is right for you.

Call us today and get the information you need to make the right decision. The info is free, call now! (951) 296-8887.

Questions regarding available inventory and/or other real estate matters please contact me, [email protected] Mike Mason, Broker/Owner of MASON Real Estate Cal. BRE: 01483044, Board of Director of your Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors® (SRCAR), Traveling State Director, California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.).

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