When selling your New York home, there are plenty of good reasons why you should hire a seller’s agent to help. Selling a home takes time, knowledge of the market, and negotiating skills. It might seem tempting to eliminate the agent’s commission – 5% – 6% on average – but that cost can be well worth it. Not all agents have the know-how and people skills to get the job done. We recommend interviewing three agents and asking the essential questions for choosing a real estate agent below.
The housing market is continuously shifting, and it’s the agent’s job to stay informed about those changes every step of the way. A good agent is there to help you set the right price and get buyers through the door. They’ll have proven experience in similar marketing properties, contacts with other professionals, and the training to handle all negotiating and paperwork.
Here are eight vital questions you should ask a real estate agent when selling your home.
Not sure where to start?Not sure where to start?
Begin by searching online and reading agent reviews by previous clients. You’ll want someone who is qualified, ethical, and understands the business inside and out. Once you’ve found a few, call and see if you can arrange a meeting. Keep in mind that while you’re sizing them up, they’ll be doing the same for you. Suitable agents are just as selective in choosing their clients.
What are your qualifications?What are your qualifications?
At a minimum, your agent should have a state license and belong to a local real estate trade association, i.e., REBNY. It gives them access to the RLS similar to the multiple listing service, which does not exist at scale in New York City. This will give your home a higher chance of getting noticed. It’s even better if they’re a member of the National Association of Realtors, which requires extra training and adherence to a code of ethics.
How long have you been in the business?How long have you been in the business?
The majority of real estate knowledge is learned on the job, making the experience exceptional. That’s not to say that newly licensed agents aren’t valuable. Newer agents tend to have more time to devote to each transaction, and if they have access to experienced mentors, they’re worth taking seriously.
Still, experience counts a lot. The agent should have at least a few transactions under their belt – from listing to closing – and be familiar with the neighborhood.
How do you plan to market the listing?How do you plan to market the listing?
Without proper marketing, even the best property won’t sell. As the owner, it’s essential to know how the agent will be marketing your home to the highest number of buyers and what their sales philosophy is. Have them take you through an example of a previous sale to see how the marketing; was done. Professional listing photos and even virtual tours are of increasing importance in sales nowadays.
May I review any documents that I will be signing?May I review any documents that I will be signing?
Any professional agent worth their salt will make all documents available for review before asking you to sign. It’s well worth having your attorney look these documents over before hiring. As a seller, the most important documents to review are:
How much will it cost?How much will it cost?
Be upfront about knowing what all final costs will be, such as broker’s commission, closing fees, and anything else that can compare from one agent to another. In real estate, all prices are negotiable, so don’t let the first price put you off. The average commission charged is 4-6%, with top real estate agents usually less negotiable on their commissions.
What is it that separates you from the competition?What is it that separates you from the competition?
An agent with high confidence and experience won’t hesitate at this question. When selling, personal standards are everything, so find someone whose standards and business model match your own.
What should I do to get my house ready?What should I do to get my house ready?
A great agent should be able to make recommendations on how you can improve the marketability of your home. Ask about other professionals they can recommend, such as home stagers, attorneys, and home inspectors.
What sort of guarantees do you offer?What sort of guarantees do you offer?
If you sign an agreement with the agent but later find that you are not happy with things, will they allow you to cancel the deal? Knowing the company policy on cancelations will allow a better relationship as you’ll know exactly where things stand.