In our previous column I addressed the question of what to ask when hiring an Arlington, VA real estate agent. In that column I focussed on things to ask a buyer’s agent before hiring one to help with your home search. In the second part of that series I will address what to focus on when hiring a listing agent in Arlington, VA. Just like a good buyer’s agent can make the difference in getting you the home you want and saving you thousands, a good listing agent can make the difference in whether or not your home sells and for how much money.
- Do you work full time or part time as a real estate agent?
This question is important when hiring a buyer’s agent and is just as important when hiring a listing agent. Make sure you are not hiring someone who sells real estate on the side. You want a full time professional working for you.
- How many homes have you sold in my neighborhood, in Arlington and in general over the last 6 months, 12 months and 2 years?
Find out the agent’s recent and longer term track record in both your neighborhood and in Arlington in general. You do not want to hire an agent that has not had experience in selling homes in Arlington recently.
- What is your average days on market and what is the average percent of list price that you sell your homes?
Likewise, you do not want to hire an “experienced” real estate agent or someone that has had a lot of sales, but does not have a great track record. Ask prospective agents what their average days on market is and how it compares with the market average. You also want to ask them what their average sold price to list price percentage is for the homes they sell. Agents who have a lower sold price to list price average then the market, tend to overprice homes in order to get sellers to list with them. Then after the homes sit on the market they get the sellers to drop the price. You want some one with a track record of giving good price recommendations up front and then selling homes quickly at or near that price. Be sure you ask the agent to compare their stats to the market average for Arlington. In a great real estate market, such as Arlington’s, it is easy for an agent’s stats to look good so it is crucial to compare them to the overall market average.
- How many potential buyers do you have for this home?
A good sign of how much buyer traffic an agent is likely going to be able to generate is how many potential buyers they may be working with already that are interested in your home. If prior to listing your home, in their normal course of business, an agent has already generated potential buyers for your home, it is more likely they will do a better job of that after listing your home.
- Are you part of a team or do you work alone?
A solo agent is limited by their time. If you choose someone that does not have any assistants or team members you definitely want to make sure you know how many other sellers and buyers they are working with at the time. Also, be sure to find out what their plan is for showing your home, answering calls for your home and helping with the contract to close process (home inspections, appraisals, closing documents) when they are meeting with other clients, out of the office or on vacation or a days off. When you work with a well run team ask who your primary point of contact will be as well as that person’s back ups.
- What is your overall marketing plan?
Ask potential listings agents how they will market your home. Will they put your home on sites such as Zillow, realtor.com and Trulia? Do they have premier relationships with any of the major consumer sites. Do they have their own great local site? What type of photography and video tours will they use? What type of social media will they use? Will they send direct mail and e-newsletters? How many Open Houses will they do and what will they do to drive traffic to the Opens.
There are more questions to ask, but these few are ones you definitely want to get answered before hiring a real estate agent in Arlington, VA or anywhere for that matter. If you are thinking about interviewing a listing agent to sell your VA, DC or MD home call Dan today at 571-969-7653 or email [email protected]