Before you choose your next Realtor, do your research! Here are the 15 questions you need to ask your next Realtor

How long have you been in the business? This is important to you as a seller because years in the business usually translates to experience. Why experience is so critical is because a Realtor holds many hats, the most important one is ‘problem solver.’ A thousand things can go wrong in the duration of a listing and escrow, you want someone on your side who knows how to tackle these hurdles and if they don’t know first hand, they know who to call!

How many homes did you sell last year to date? While someone may have been in the business a fair amount, that doesn’t always mean they are experienced. Actually selling homes is what creates the experience. What’s most important is that they have RECENT experience as the real estate market not only changes year to year, but quarter over quarter.

How many buyers did you represent? As a seller, it would be good to know that your listing agents have working knowledge of what buyers are looking for, what scares them, and how they are negotiating in the current market.

How many sellers did you represent? As a seller, you’d want to know your agents have experience not just in real estate, but representing listings as they take a whole different strategy and expertise.

What is your average days on market compared to the average median? You want an agent on your side that stands out above the rest, not just average. Selling homes quicker than the average listing means they know how to market effectively. Homes that sell quicker usually sell for the most money as they attract competition among buyers.

What is your average list price to sales price? This speaks to how well an agent is in tune with the market, the effectiveness of their marketing strategy and how well they can negotiate on your behalf. This could potentially be your bottom line – this is key!

How many of your listings have expired? Any agent can be hired to sell a listing, what matters is if the agent knows the market well enough to present the listing properly and strategize around the sale. When a listing expires that means the market rejected the home, current list price and the marketing strategy failed.

How many of your listings have canceled? There is a big difference between expired and canceled listings, a canceled listing means the agent and client decided to end their relationship prior to the agreed length of time. A good follow up to this question would be “why?”

How many properties have you sold like mine? Not every home sale is the same. Condos, townhomes, mobile homes and rural properties all require a different level of knowledge and skill set. Make sure the agent you hire has experience dealing with the potential key negotiation pieces, inspections, disclosures and vendors they need to successfully complete your sale for the highest price possible.

How many listings over the last year have had multiple offers? This speaks to an agents listing strategy and how effective it is. Multiple offers puts you as a seller in the best negotiating position, you want an agent that knows how to get that done.

How many of your listings required price reductions? As a seller you want to know the agent you have is educated on the market and the trends. While no one has a crystal ball on the market, it’s important to know if your agent has a history of numerous price reductions.

Do you represent buyers on your own listings? This is known as dual agency or “double ending”, which means a listing agent that represents both a buyer and seller on the same transaction. In this situation they must at the same time garner the seller the highest and best price, and the buyer the lowest and best price. These are two competing needs so it can be difficult to comprehend the end result being best met for both clients.

How do you handle multiple listings on the market at the same time? Most successful agents have multiple listings at a time, it’s inevitable and expected of a great agent. What’s important to know is how they can ensure your listing will get the needed exposure and attention to get your home sold for top dollar.

How will you keep in contact with me during the listing process, and how often? Real Estate is a never ending, ever evolving, education process. It is key to get periodic updates from your agent keeping you in the loop of your listing status as well as the market in your area.

Have you ever had any ethical violations filed against you? As a Realtor, we have a fiduciary obligation to our clients meaning we must put your financial needs above our own. You want someone in your corner that you know will do what is best for you and your goals while protecting you from liabilities.