A broker is a professional like any other. They are working for you, representing your interests to sell your house. It makes sense to interview a few brokers to ensure you feel comfortable with them as a person and confident in their abilities to represent you.
This post is Tip #2 in our Top 10 Tips to Sell Your House for Maximum Sales Price.
This article is intended for people interested in Selling Real Estate, these are questions to ask a Broker to help you SELL a house. If you are interested in Buying a house, read our article: 6 Interview Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Broker when Buying.
Use these 6 questions to find the best real broker by interviewing a few before hiring them to represent your interests.
Sometimes people aren't really sure, they are asking themselves "should I sell my house?" When interviewing your real estate broker, you may also explore various options of selling your house, holding it as a long term rental, or waiting a few months to best time the market.
Most brokers are happy to sit down with you to answer basic questions about themselves, their professional skills and market knowledge. Below are a few questions to ask a real estate broker before you sign an agreement to work with them:
1. How many years of experience do you have in this industry?
You want to get a gauge of how confident your broker is in their abilities to serve you as a buyer. Less than 2 years experience is not necessarily a bad thing, this means they are still working to build their business will be working very hard on your file, but you will want to ask a follow up question about what sort of support they receive from their Managing Broker.
It would be wise to schedule a call and/or interview with their Managing Broker as well.
2. What is your experience in my community?
You want to know how confident your broker is in your specific area. Brokers that focus on specific areas are more equipped to quickly analyze offers and competitively position your house for sale on the market. They should be familiar with local market statistics, such as average sales price, volume sold and average rent costs. This intimate understanding of the local real estate market gives your broker a competitive edge that simply cannot be duplicated by someone focusing on the entire Puget Sound.
Further, a locally focused broker will have a well maintained database of speculative buyers in the area, people they can call if the right property comes up. Additionally, they will be well connected with other brokers, inspectors, closing reps, mortgage brokers, insurance brokers, all the members of the team you will need, locally operating and personally known.
They should be familiar with the local schools, park, shopping center, growth plans any recent and/or scheduled infrastructure upgrades. This knowledge helps them write the best copy & advertise strategically. Example: If you property is near a local dog park, your listing broker should be aware of that fact + suggest advertising the property with flyers in local pet store.
If they can confidently detail solid information about your community, you may have found a well equipped real estate broker to represent your interests. This tells you they take their professional development and career seriously.
3. What services will you provide for me as my broker?
Make sure you are both on the same page as to what type services will be provided, frequency/type of communication, and hours of availability. Again, you are looking for a broker who can confidently speak to their skill set and ability to serve you best.
Many brokers work independently and their time is divided between all their clients. The benefit is you have one contact person throughout the process; the downside is sometimes they are pressed for time with another client.
Other real estate brokers work on a team, where each team member is responsible for various aspects of the transaction. The benefit here is you get a specialist in each step, but are dealing with a variety of people personalities (and schedules).
Fresh Look Real Estate Team works as a hybrid model; Each broker works independently with their clients, so you have main contact person throughout the transaction, while each broker supports each other, in case of last minute client needs. All Fresh Look Real Estate brokers are supported by a back office that ensures accuracy in paperwork and smooth transactions.
4. What paperwork is involved now and throughout the transaction?
Listen intently as the broker goes through the paperwork involved. They can provide you examples of blank contracts, so you can read them thoroughly before ever needing to sign them. If they can confidently explain what paperwork is needed and their implications, you may have found a well equipped real estate broker to represent your interests.
The broker will likely at this point present you with a listing agreement.
This agreement defines how the broker is paid and commits you to them for a period of time. By agreeing to work with the broker for a certain amount of time, you are providing them with confidence that you will stick with them through the good times the difficult times. This protects both you and the broker allows him or her diligently on your file without fear that you will leave for another broker.
Basically, you have “hired” the broker, usually for 6 months at a time, to represent you are providing them with ample time to complete the transaction.
2 follow up Questions after the Agreement is Presented
5. Can you please explain how you are paid?
Most brokers are paid on commission, meaning they only receive payment once the house closes. Others use a fee for service or a team model. Understand how your broker is paid to fully understand their motivation.
Watch how the broker explains how they are paid, if they are nervous explaining this to you, they will be nervous negotiating offers received on your house for sale.
6. What is my contracted timeframe for using you as my broker?
Typically, Listing Agreements are set for 6 month period, but this is not set in stone. You can request a shorter timeline or longer timeline, depending on property and market conditions. Just understand how long you are committed to the person and what your recourse is if you decide to “fire” your broker.
In general, you are looking for a broker who is knowledgeable about the area you are looking to sell, who is confident in their ability to complete necessary paperwork accurately, and can confidently negotiate a transaction on your behalf.
Finally, you will be working with this person for an extended amount of time, so you must feel comfortable asking questions and speaking with them . You must trust that their professional skill set is sufficient and trust their personal character is one of hard work and integrity.
Download all 10 tips to follow along; We provide these 10 tips to all our clients preparing to sell their house.