I totally sympathize with sellers’ frustration and sense of powerlessness when it comes to putting their home on the market. Should you try to sell it yourself to save on commission? How do you know which agent to hire — and whether they’ll earn what they charge?
Perhaps making the process more scientific will help, so here are some questions to ask each of the agents you interview. My intention is that it will give you a little more confidence that the choice you end up making is in your best interest.
1. Do you agree to complete all of the MLS fields describing my house, and not just the mandatory fields?
2. Do you subscribe to “Showcase” service on realtor.com, and will you make full use of it for my home? (Browse realtor.com’s listings in your ZIP code to see how fully enhanced “Showcase” listings can really stand out.)
3. Will your MLS listing of my house be syndicated to consumer and broker websites? (Consumer sites include Trulia and Zillow, and broker sites include ReMax.com and GoldenRealEstate.com)
4. Will you also post my home on craigslist.org? How will it look, and how often will you refresh it?
5. May I have the address of one of your current listings so that I can see how it is marketed, both on realtor.com and elsewhere? (Google the address to see where it appears.)
6. Will you produce a virtual tour (a slideshow of still photos, some of them panoramic) of my home? If so, which vendor will you use? (If you click on “Tour” on realtor.com listings, you’ll see that their quality and effectiveness vary greatly. Golden Real Estate uses VisualTour.com.)
7. Will you produce a video tour of my home, and will it be a narrated video tour, not just a simulated video using photos with music?
8. Will you provide a free staging consultation to make sure my home shows its best?
9. How many of your listings sold in the last year, and how many of them expired or were withdrawn without selling? (If the numbers are super impressive, they may be exaggerated — ask for a printout!)
10. Will you do email blasts and/or distribute printed flyers telling other agents about my home?
11. Will you promote my home at the various weekly Realtor marketing sessions and/or will you hold a broker open house?
12. Will you hold regular open houses (assuming you agree to them)?
13. What is your commission, and will you reduce it if you sell my house yourself (in other words, if you don’t have to split your commission with the buyer’s agent)?
14. Will you reduce your commission further if I hire you to represent me in the purchase of my next home?
15. What service do you use for setting showings? (If they don’t use Centralized Showing, as most do, it won’t be as good as it could be.)
16. Will I get feedback from you on every showing you do, and will you or your showing service solicit feedback from other agents and tell me what they say?
17. Does your company, or do you, have a website on which your listings are promoted?
18. Do you advertise your cell number and answer when it rings?