Selling your Beacon Hill condo might be one of the more important financial decisions you might make in your lifetime. A knowledgeable Beacon Hill broker can make the experience stress free and enjoyable (or as enjoyable as possible) and financially rewarding. But how do you select an agency, how do you know if they are a good fit?
Questions to ask a Realtor during an interview:
Okay, so maybe you didn’t expect this to be the first question. But honestly I think it should be. Especially in this COVID-19 era. Let’s say you went through the interview process and the real estate agent told you everything you wanted to hear – but later you found out they actually don’t do what they promised or they are not nearly as successful as they led themselves on to be. Your Beacon Hill condo for sale is not selling either because the agent’s plan didn’t work, they failed to implement their plan, or they gave the wrong advice to being with. Suddenly you find yourself reading that listing contract that you had browsed quickly over, looking for the cancellation policy.
Let’s be upfront. Many real estate agents like to avoid talking about the real estate commission. They think if they can get on your side and develop a friendly relationship, then they can write in 6% commission without an argument. It’s all nice and good to be friendly, but this is a service industry. The Realtor is at your home to serve you, represent your interests, and sell your home for the best possible price – all for a commission. No reason to beat around the bush.
The second part of question #2 is very important. If the commission never varies for any reason that means the real estate agent has incentive to make the most amount of money off you as possible. For example, in our area the majority rate offered (the rate offered more than any other rate) to buyer’s agents is 2.5% of the sales price. A 6% listing agent would get 3.5% and a buyer’s agent 2.5% to make the total six percent. However, let’s say a buyer reaches out to the seller’s agent and asks them to write up an offer for them (dual representation). Suddenly that seller’s agent could be making 6% – all for themselves. This would be true as well if say one of your family members decided they wanted to make an offer on your house and didn’t have their own buyer’s agent. It also happens (at times) that buyers self represent, we’ve seen lawyers do this, as well as investors, and former ex – real estate agents. Many Realtors contracts have them receiving the full amount of commission be it 6%, 5%, 4% – whatever it might be – regardless of any set of circumstances – when there is no buyer’s agent to pay. (Please note all real estate commissions are negotiable in this country.)
- Who will take the photos?
- Let’s hope it is not the Realtor or one of their friends! Might as well get the name of the company they are going to use. Professional photography sells homes and research proves it. Keep in mind, there are typically two levels of professional photography in the industry now – regular and luxury / commercial. Regular professional photos typically cost the Realtor $150 – $300 and luxury or commercial can cost a lot more, even thousands. For the vast majority of homes, regular professional photography is more than enough.
- Will there be a 3D tour? What kind?
- 3D tours are no longer optional, in my opinion. The post COVID19 world demands it. There are many home buyers looking to tour the home virtually first – before ever seeing it in person. We often get over a hundred buyer 3D virtual tours in a listing – a day. Don’t let the real estate agent tell you there will be a “virtual tour” – some nonsense of pictures slides to awful music. No, what real 3D tour will they provide? Will you be able to access the 3D tour from every major site (Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, etc.)? Too many Realtors provide videos or 3D tours but only put them on select sites, failing to make them available to the vast majority of home buyers. You’ll notice I didn’t ask if the Realtor will provide a video. Videos are nice, but they don’t give the buyer control online. 3D tours are the most effective option in showing the flow or layout of the home and give the buyer total control. 3D tours are the new standard for home sales.
- What MLS system(s) will you put my home on?
- Most Realtors will put your home on one local MLS (multiple listing service) system that will syndicate your listing to Zillow, Redfin, Realtor.com, and thousands of other real estate sites. The local MLS is also what is prominently used by the buyers agents in your area who likely pay a membership fee to use the MLS and are trained to use it to help their buying clients find their next home. The MLS is very important. So important we pay extra to put all of our homes for sale in Oregon and Washington on more than one MLS. This helps us reach all or virtually all the licensed agents in each state that might have a buyer for your home. It meets the agent on the platform they use and prefer.
- Will you pay extra on any of the top sites (Zillow, Realtor.com, etc.) to feature my home above other listings?
- Most likely the real estate agent’s answer will be no. The most common answer is your home will be on all the major and minor real estate websites (because they are putting your home in one MLS). Most Realtors will not talk about the option they have to pay extra to major portals like Zillow (Zillow has about a 36% market share of all home buyer traffic online) because they don’t want to do it. We pay extra to Zillow, Realtor.com, Homes.com, and more for our homes to be seen higher and more often online. This causes our client’s homes to sell faster and for more – period.
- Will you have open houses? If so, how many? If not, why not?
- Open houses sell homes about 3-4% of the time nationally. It is not as big a home selling factor as many in the public would believe, but it still has some effect. Typically the higher the price tag the less likely the seller and the Realtor will want to hold an open house – and for good reason. Higher end buyers expect to make an appointment anyway and open houses are a liability. Realtors have no control over who comes in during an open house – it is open to the general public. Typically in all other circumstances Realtors know exactly who is coming and when and why.
- Will you host a brokers open? Is so, when? If not, why not?
- Brokers opens are effective, but only in certain areas and not others. In some neighborhoods there is a tradition of agents touring homes (typically on a set day and time of the week) and if that tradition exists in your neighborhood – it can bring a lot of agents through. But if Broker’s tours are not common in your area, your selling Realtor can invite all the agents he or she wants, but typically almost no one or no one will show. It is based on the existence or non-existence of local tradition.
- Is now a good market season to sell or should I wait?
- Most real estate agents are trained to answer that question in a way that encourages you to sell your home right now, regardless of market conditions. A good Realtor will let you know when the best time of year to sell is and when the worst time of year to sell is. We write reports on this annually and since 2003, it follows nearly the exact pattern every year. Certain months are always best, certain months are always worst. Homes sell every month of the year, but if you are free to choose, some are always better than others.
Our office is located in the heart of Beacon Hill at 137 Charles Street. View Beacon Hill condos for sale with photos and recent sales data for the last 30 days. View exclusive listings before they appear on Zillow!