Buying or selling a house will likely be the largest financial transaction of your life. And that means you’ll want the best realtor you can get – one who is a good fit and can get you the best deal possible. Finding the right realtor can be a long, time-consuming process involving getting recommendations, checking reviews, looking at references, and conducting interviews. Once you’ve pared down the possibilities of likely candidates, the interview process begins. The problem is, though, that many people just don’t know what questions they should ask during interviews. To help you out, we offer these top 4 questions to ask when interviewing a Salt Lake realtor.
1. How long have you been in the real estate business?
A brand-new [market_city] realtor can sometimes do a wonderful job for you, but most of the time, you’re better off using a realtor who has many years of experience. It’s not for nothing that this old industry saying exists: [T]here’s nothing wrong with a new agent that a little experience can’t fix.” The reason for this is that most good realtors get that way only after extensive training, long exposure to competent mentors, and years of experience in the trenches.
Keep in mind that “there’s no bar exam for real estate agents, and no school offers a degree in how to handle problems in a transaction. Agents learn on the job. The more sales an agent has completed, the more he knows.1It’seven possible that he’s taken courses and attended seminars, and it’s OK to ask about this, too.”
You can discover more about this by contacting a Salt Lake realtor at (801) 755-3865.
2. What is your average list-price-to-sale-price ratio?
Another very important question to ask when interviewing a Salt Lake realtor concerns her average list-price-to-sales price ratio. While this ratio depends on market conditions, it remains a good indicator of a realtor’s competence for both buyers and sellers.
“A good buyer’s agent should be able to negotiate a sales price that’s lower than the list price, at least if you take sizzling seller’s markets out of the equation. A competent listing agent should have a track record for negotiating sales prices that are very close to list prices.” A seller’s realtor should have a ratio close to 100%, and for a buyer, that ratio should be below 99%.
Sometimes, though, market value and asking price don’t have the close relationship you’d expect. And in these cases, the list-price-to-sale-price ratio isn’t as revealing as it should be. Again, to find out how things stand in the Salt Lake market, consult a Salt Lake realtor at (801) 755-3865.
3. What marketing plan will you devise for my specific needs?
Your Salt Lake realtor must be a good marketer capable of coming up with a tailor-made marketing plan and strategy to meet your specific needs. Here’s what you’ll want to find out . . .
“You’ll want to know how the agent plans to search for your new home if you’re a buyer, and how many homes she thinks you’re likely to see before you find the one you want. Will you be competing against other buyers? How does the agent handle multiple offers?”
“Asa seller, you’ll want to know exactly how the agent will market your home. Is a direct mail campaign appropriate? Where and how often does she advertise? What kind of photography does she offer? Does the market online? What steps will she take to prepare your home for sale? Ask if there’s anything about your home that might detract from its potential for sale. Perhaps, you could remedy and avert the problem.”
4. How well do you know this area and neighborhood?
This is a critical question to ask a potential Salt Lake realtor. If the realtor isn’t intimately familiar with the area you’re interested in – having plenty of knowledge of and experience in the area – all the other considerations don’t really matter much.
“Your agent should be well-acquainted with the areas you’re interested in, so search for someone who can rattle off key info about your desired neighborhood, including home prices, schools, safety, public transportation, and cultural amenities.”
Ideally, your realtor will live in (or have lived) the area – and better yet the specific neighborhood you’re interested in. That way she’ll know all about buyer tastes and trends and the hidden gems, and she will have a good handle on local economics and housing-market conditions.
A Final Question for Your Salt Lake Realtor
Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also recommend that you ask a potential Salt Lake realtor this question: What separates you from and makes you stand above the competition?
“A good agent won’t hesitate to answer this question and should be ready to fire off several reasons why he’s best suited for the job. Everyone has their standards, but most consumers say they’re looking for agents who say that they’re honest, trustworthy, assertive, and excellent negotiators.” In the final analysis, though, it all comes down to the qualifications and characteristics that you value.