Saturday, 8 December 2012

REAL ESTATE: Top five things to ask a real estate agent

HOPKINTON — How do you pick a Realtor?

This isn’t always the easiest question to answer. After all, most people don’t sell their homes all that frequently, so it can be tough to know what to ask and how to pick from the slew of Realtors in your community. Real estate sites advise homeowners to ask potential Realtors questions, but the queries are often so basic (ex: how long they’ve been in business, how many transactions have you been involved with, etc.) it's hard to get a sense of who the agent really is, how much care they’ll give to your home listing, and how creative they are at home marketing. If I were looking for an agent, I'd want to delve a little deeper.

Here are the top five things I'd want to know:

What's your marketing strategy?

Does he or she have an overarching strategy for how to showcase your home? It’s important to know how the agent plans to make your home stand out in the crowd.

Who will you market my home to?

You’ll want to know how the agent is going to attract those buyers most apt to be interested and qualified to buy your home. For example, if you live in an executive neighborhood, how will the agent reach buyers who are relocating to the area? If the home would appeal more to Gen-xers, for example, how will the agent engage these tech savvy buyers?

What was your most challenging home sale?

Ask potential agents what was the toughest home listing they had and how they overcame those obstacles to sell the house.

How will you keep me informed throughout the process?

One of the biggest frustrations home sellers have is listing agents who don’t communicate regularly. Find out how the agent will share feedback about home showings, and how they plan to communicate with you through the process. Also, ask if the agent will be working with you directly or if they have an assistant or closing coordinator who’ll be managing certain aspects of the sale.

What things can I do to improve the value of my home?

Agents see potential buyers’ reactions to homes every day, so they’re in a good position to advise you on steps you can take to make your home more appealing. I’d also highly recommend talking with several of the agent’s previous clients to get a sense of his or her strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully this will help you find an agent who’s the right fit.

Have a real estate question? Contact real estate columnist Leslie Mann at or 508-904-4967 and she’d be glad to answer your questions. Follow her at

About the author:

Real estate blogger Leslie Mann is a real estate agent with Hallmark Sotheby’s International Realty in Hopkinton.

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