5 questions to ask a Boston condo broker

Whether you are buying or selling a Boston Seaport condo, your real estate agent will be your partner through one of the most significant transactions of your life. Finding the right Boston condo agent should involve careful planning and research, but many of us just don’t know where to start. Here are 5 questions that will help you avoid the bad apples in your search for a Boston real estate agent.

1) How long have you been working as a real estate agent?

There is no required college degree or bar exam for real estate agents, and as a result, many of them learn on the job. Experienced Boston downtown condo brokers who have completed many successful sales can offer you an enormous amount of industry knowledge and key practical advice.

This does not mean that you should avoid new agents at all costs—just ask them a few more questions about their journey. Many of them have had great training and even specialized experience working for seasoned Realtors®. New agents can also often deliver high quality, personalized service as a result of having fewer clients.

Finding a Boston downtown condo agent who really knows their stuff can be the difference between a stressful downtown Boston condo buying/selling situation and a smooth one. Find an agent who really understands the different contracts you need and how to properly fill them out, the legal obligations you’ll run into, and the financial side of the business. If you’re selling a Boston downtown condo, you’ll also want to make sure your agent is in-the-know on the latest and most effective marketing tactics in the industry.

2) What percentage of your clients are buyers? How many are sellers?

Many agents specialize by working either with Boston condo buyers or with those who have Boston condo sellers. It’s good to look for an agent who has experience in the particular part of the process you are currently involved in, but an agent who does both can offer additional valuable input. Even if you are selling your Boston Seaport condo the agent’s experience in working with home buyers will help them get your property sold. Furthermore, if you are selling your home and immediately buying another, it can be nice to work with one agent through that entire process,

3) Which neighborhoods do you primarily work in? How many homes have you closed in my neighborhood?

Many Boston condo buying and selling markets contain micro markets driven by the features of individual neighborhoods. Understanding unique issues like, Beacon Hill historic district designations, new  Boston Seaport District, and even traffic patterns is essential. Finding an agent with experience in the areas where you live (or want to live) can give you a great advantage and help you make informed decisions.

But just because an agent knows your desired zip code does not mean they have been successfully helping buyers and sellers there. Look for an agent who has a proven record of completing deals in the areas you desire—not just one who aspires to.

4) What marketing tools will you use to help me?

As a seller, one of the most important reasons to hire a real estate agent is to gain access to their marketing expertise. Your agent should be able to tell you about the sales strategies that they use successfully, from traditional tactics like preparing your space for the best sales photographs possible, to new techniques like social media marketing. You may not think that you will need marketing tools as a buyer, but in a competitive market, your agent should have innovative ideas for finding deals, and may even need to help “sell” you, such as in situations with multiple offers.

5) What is your average list-to-sale ratio?

List-to-sale is a data point that measures whether homes are selling for more or less than the asking price in a certain market. Knowing this number can be an essential part of you and your agent’s marketing and negotiation processes.

To calculate list-to-sale, divide the final sale price by the property’s final list price. For example, a home that was listed for $200,000 and sold for $195,000 has a list-to-sale ratio of 97.5; in other words, it sold for 97.5% of the listing price. Homebuyers and homesellers will want to want to evaluate this metric differently:

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