Choosing an Agent
THE IMPORTANCE OF CHOOSING AN AGENT
Choosing an agent to represent you is one of the most important decisions you will make. Choosing a smart agent can be the difference between success and failure. When you sign a Listing Contract or a Buyer Agency Contract the agent takes on the following obligations:
LOYALTY – The agent must act in the client’s best interest only. The agent must tell you anything known about the transaction regarding the relationships between agents and other parties, the existence of other potential buyers, the agent’s opinion of the property’s true market value, the effect on your position of the provisions of the sale contract.
OBEDIENCE – The agent must follow the client’s lawful instructions.
CONFIDENTIALITY – Any discussions, facts or information that should not be revealed to other parties are kept confidential such as the seller’s willingness to ac cept less than the asking price or motivation to sell or the buyer’s willingness to go higher.
FIDUCIARY CARE – Is more than getting the best price. It’s making certain the money goes where it’s supposed to. Verify that the earnest money is deposited. Verify the loans are paid off. Researching a professional price opinion of the property is paramount among the agent’s duties.
TO PROMOTE THE INTERESTS OF THE CLIENT – To use reasonable skill and care in marketing and promoting your property. To negotiate for your interests in the terms of any offer. To be your advocate in all matters related to your sale. To review inspections with you and advise you on reasonableness and negotiating strategy.
You can see why it pays to hire a smart, experienced skillful agent. Read more to learn what questions to ask when interviewing agents. Answers to these questions and some of your own will help you confidently select an agent you respect, like and trust.
Answers To These Questions...
AGENT INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How long have you been in the business as a full time agent?
2. What areas do you cover? Where do you specialize?
3. What homes have you sold that are like mine (or the one I’m looking for)?
4. What education or designations do you hold? What is your background?
5. Can you give me a written estimate of my net proceeds including all closing costs?
5A. Can you give me a written estimate of all my costs - down payment, inspections, closing costs and monthly payment?
6.Do you offer a pre-listing or pre-buying conference that walks me through the process from beginning to end?
7. Where do most of your clients come from? Referrals from past clients, relocation companies, corporations, open houses?
8. Do you have a budget of your own money that you will you spend on marketing and promoting my home? Who pays for professional photography and staging?
9. How will my home be marketed? Where?
10. Do you have systems and procedures in place to track all the details?
11. How do you keep in touch with me?
12. How do you update me on new listings and market changes that affect my sale or home search?
13. How do you give me feedback on showings?
14. Can you connect me with professional services I may need? Inspectors, staging com panies, lenders, contractors, appraisers, title representatives?
15. What do you bring personally to a transaction?
16. What is your fee?
SELLERS SHOULD BE ASKED THESE QUESTIONS:
1. Why are you moving? Are you happy about the move?
2. When do you want/have to move?
3. How long have you lived in your present home?
4 Why did you choose this home over the others you saw? What do you love?
5. What would you change?
6. What’s important to you in choosing an agent to represent you - experience, accurate price research, company, marketing, follow up, internet exposure, responsiveness…?
7. What major improvements have you made in your present home?
8. What are you doing (or plan to do) to get your home market ready?
9. Are you able to move without the sale of this home?
10. What is your loan balance?
11. Do you have a price in mind and how did you arrive at that price?
13. Are there any sales you are aware of that you want me to research?
14. What are your primary concerns in making this move, price,
quality of contract, time or convenience?
YOU SHOULD BE A PICKY ABOUT CHOOSING AN AGENT AS YOU ARE ABOUT BUYING A HOUSE
Buyers don’t pay commission so what difference does it make who I buy from?
The commission the seller pays is built into the sale price. So you do pay commission it’s just not a separate charge to you. Wow, I never thought about that. So you should get your money’s worth. An agent will be paid a commission when you buy. This is your chance to choose one who’s worth it
Get recommendations from friends, neighbors or co-workers. Maybe you’re related to an agent or have some other obligation. Whether you want to use those agents or not, tell them you will be scheduling an interview. Then do it. Use the interview questions in this section.
Your agent is the central point of communication and information. You will find that your agent becomes all of the following: the voice of reason, confidant, negotiator, soft shoulder, drill sergeant and chief hand holder. Multitasking at its best.
Your agent will show you that he/she is prepared to deliver everything you need to accomplish the complex task of buying by researching price, market supply and demand, advising you on offer strategy and property condition, advocating for your offer, navigating the building, termite, environmental and municipal inspections, the appraisal, title search, survey issues, closing and possession.
BUYERS SHOULD BE ASKED THESE QUESTIONS:
1. Why are you moving?
2. When do you want or need to be in your new home? How long have you been looking?
3. What price range do you want to stay within?
4. Have you begun the pre-approval process with a lender? Which one? Do you have your certificate yet? Would you like me to help you begin the process?
5. What areas are you considering?
6. Tell me about the kind of home you want to buy. What is your wish list? Style, age, bedrooms & baths, lot size and features. What on this list is MOST and LEAST important?
7. Have you seen any homes you liked well enough to buy? What was your reason for not buying at that time?
8. How many homes have you seen? How did you see them?
9. Do you need to sell the home you live in now in order to buy your new one? Is it on the market now or ready for marketing? May I help you with a realistic evaluation of its probable sale price and your net proceeds?
10. Tell me about your present home. What would you change about it? When may I see it?
11. What are your other concerns in making this move?
WHY HIRE DONNA & GIL
The best interview question we were ever asked is, “What do you PERSONALLY bring to this job?” We had to think about that for a minute before answering. Hoping that we wouldn’t sound too arrogant we took a deep breath and said, “WE’RE SMART.” When they didn’t show us to the door we continued by saying:
- Every sale has challenges and we have the problem solving experience to overcome them.
- We were both the managing Broker of several offices which means that we solved problems that other agents couldn’t.
- We trained many agents working today which means we’ve earned their respect & that of many others. That goes a long way to making a sale actually close.
- We are financially secure enough that we don’t need to pressure you into an offer that is not good for you.
- We can afford to spend money on marketing your property.
- We’re extremely organized. This is a detail business. Things won’t fall through the cracks.
- After more than twenty years we remain passionate about helping people achieve their goals.
- We have all the best skills & tools to help you price, prepare, market, negotiate & close your sale.
- The majority of our business is referred by former clients, Relocation companies & other agents.
- We have obtained many of the educational designations the industry offers.
There are some techniques in this business and other sales fields that should make you think twice. Most agents are ethical and honest and will work in your best interest. Yet some, in the interest of getting a new listing signed up, will present information with rose colored glasses.
When you are working with what is likely the most money you will ever spend on a product or a service it is easy to be persuaded to go against your better judgment. Use common sense and do what is best for you.
Some things you might hear...
1. I’m the CHEAPEST.
When agents start by cutting their commission you need to wonder if that is all they have to sell. Just how desperate are they? If they give away their money up front, what will they do with yours? Is cost your only criteria when hiring any other professional - Attorney, Accountant, Dentist, Surgeon? Didn’t think so.
2. I already have your BUYER.
When agents really do have buyers for specific homes or neighborhoods, they contact those people before being called for an interview by the owners. We’ve been successful several times doing just that. Remember, they haven’t even seen your home.
3. I can get you a higher PRICE.
The one thing we do not control is price. The market and the eventual buyer determines the price your home will bring. We help you position and prepare your property to get the market to pay its’ very top dollar. If someone says they can sell it for more, make them prove it.
4. I’m the area EXPERT (so I can get you a higher PRICE).
It’s nice to be familiar with an area, but your competition comes from the whole market, not just your neighborhood. It’s a good place to start, but you must be aware of all the competition.
In short, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Don’t cheat yourself; hire the best agent for you.
That would be us.