How to Choose a Listing Agent: 5 (Surprising) Questions to Ask

July 28, 2023

How to Choose a Listing Agent: 5 (Surprising) Questions to Ask

It's no secret that hiring the right listing agent can make or break your home selling experience. From orchestrating open houses to negotiating a fair price, your listing agent plays a pivotal role in securing the best possible deal for your property. But before you entrust them with one of your most significant financial transactions, it's essential to ensure they are the right fit for you and your needs.

What if I told you that the difference between a good and an outstanding agent isn't found in the standard questions like, "How many homes have you sold in my area?" or "What is your commission rate?" While these are undoubtedly important, there are other, less traditional queries that can offer you deeper insight into the agent's capability, dedication, and work ethic.

In this blog post, we'll delve into five surprising questions you should be asking your potential listing agent in an interview before hiring them. These might not be the questions you'd expect, but they could unlock crucial information about your prospective agent and better equip you to make an informed decision. So, buckle up and prepare for some enlightenment about the real estate world and your role in navigating it!

 

1. Can I see your Before & After portfolio?

Today's San Francisco Bay Area real estate market is sophisticated as all get out. Your pad has to be 100% Insta-worthy before the first eyeball hits it online. That usually means at a *minimum*: Paint, flooring, light fixtures, deep cleaning, window cleaning, and small repairs. You might also get huge ROI from upgrades to things like countertops and landscaping. Your listing agent needs a deep bench of vendors AND the experience to wrangle them all, or you risk leaving money on the table. See our Before and After Portfolio HERE 

 

2. What's your favorite thing about my neighborhood?

It's an improved twist on the classic, "How many sales do you have in the neighborhood?". So what if an agent has 30 sales within blocks but can't articulate why buyers will love the location? You're better off with a listing agent who works across a variety of neighborhoods but can wax poetic about that local bakery where the neighbors gather for gossip and the best chocolate croissants in town. 

 

3. What's your plan for open houses?

Realtor secret alert: Many listing agents have open houses hosted by woefully unprepared stand-ins. Yep, they just find a warm body and send them over on Sunday to "sell" your house. Yikes, right? As old-fashioned as they might seem, open houses are a critical part of any good real estate marketing plan. They should be held often, and hosted by someone that the listing agent has coached on all the details of your house. For example: The main points on the inspection report. Whether the upgrades were permitted. The two best things about the house that a buyer might accidentally overlook. The location of the closest public transit. You get the idea. When your open house host doesn't know the FAQs, you lose a ton of horsepower in your marketing engine. 

 

4. Where will my home be on social media?

This is a trick. Don't ask this. It literally doesn't matter. Unless you are LeBron and you are selling your Atherton estate, your buyer isn't coming through social media. Ok, there are exceptions. Architecturally unusual, very rare, or media-worthy places can benefit from smart social media marketing. (like this) But the vast majority of homes capture top dollar with a combo of smart pricing, excellent prep work, and marketing venues like direct email to buyers' agents and open houses (see above).

 

5. Do I want to work with this person for 3-6 months? 

You guessed it; this last one is a question to ask yourself. You'll be spending anywhere from dozens to hundreds of hours communicating with your agent. So do you trust them? Do you like them? Selling a home is often a personal and stressful experience. You're not interviewing for a best friend, but there are lots of experienced listing agents working in the San Francisco and Bay Area marketplace. You might as well choose someone you get along with! (But not that family friend that got their license last Tuesday, ok?)

 

In conclusion, hiring a listing agent is a significant step in the home-selling journey and one that requires careful consideration. The seemingly unconventional questions we've explored can reveal a wealth of information about a prospective agent's abilities and commitment to your sale. Don't shy away from asking these surprising but vital questions, as they can provide you with a more profound, holistic view of your potential agent's capabilities. Remember, the more you know about your listing agent, the more confidently you can navigate your home-selling process. Here's to a successful sale and a real estate experience that meets, and hopefully exceeds your expectations!

 

Brought to you by your top San Francisco real estate agents at Pacific Edge Real Estate Group.


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