Real estate is an interesting business. Even though you have professionals who take care of financial transactions and legal documents, you still need someone to connect with. When you're helping someone buy their home or sell their existing one, you need to have a good sense of your client - their likes, dislikes, mannerisms and demeanor. Likewise, people need to have a good sense of their real estate professional. Something as simple as a basic understanding of a person can be the difference between a smooth home buying/selling process, and an absolute nightmare. There's lots of Realtors out there, isn't there? It seems like every home you look at online has a different listing Realtor. Here's the thing, though. You have a CHOICE when it comes to Realtors. You don't have to automatically use that one listing Realtor just because their name is associated with the house. You can pick ANY Realtor to be YOUR professional guide in YOUR real estate transaction. 

An image of white questions marks on top of a yellow/gold background.

Last year, 88% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker (NAR Home Buyer Profile Report 2020). Having an agent help them find the right home was what buyers wanted most when choosing an agent - at 51%. How do you find a Realtor that will help you find the right home? You find one that you can connect with - one that will take the time to understand your preferences and your lifestyle needs. Finally of course, you find one that is professional and good at what they do. How do you figure that out? Ask questions! Here are 15 questions that you can ask your Realtor to see if they are right for you:

Text reads, "Can I see your license?"

Any accredited agent should be prepared to show you proof that they're licensed to sell in your area. This one seems obvious, but enough people have been prey to scammers who had a convincing "look". If they can't deliver or they try to dodge the question, move on because that's some shady behaviour. 

Text reads, "How long have you been a Realtor?"

This question is often perceived as more experience, better Realtor. While experience is a great teacher, it's not always the best indicator of how great the Realtor is. You should still ask, but think of this question as part one. The info they provide here will show you that, from experience, they know to anticipate/predict issues, negotiate effectively and have working relationships with other real estate professionals already. However, some Realtors who are fresh to the scene really know their stuff! Part two is question number 5 in this list.

Text reads, "Are you a full time agent?"

If your Realtor only works part-time, you know that they cannot devote as much time to the job, and to you. If you want an agent that really knows their stuff, and who can communicate with you in real time, it seems like a no-brainer to go with one who works full time. 

Text reads, "Can you break down the details of the marketing plan?"

If you're selling your home, you want a Realtor who can break down their marketing strategy to you piece by piece. With multiple avenues of advertising in today's day and age, agents should have a good plan in place to market on certain avenues effectively, in order to show your home to engaged audiences. If you hear them say, "your home will be shown online", ask them what they mean. Using the Socratic method, you force them to clarify what they really mean when they say "online". If "online" means your home is only listed on their website, you might want to think about finding a different Realtor if this one doesn't have an effective offline strategy. If "online" means search engine ads, retargeting ads, display ads, your home on different home search websites, social media ads, social media posts or any combination've got a Realtor who knows what they're doing. Keep in mind that offline marketing (presentations, home showings, billboards, signs, mail-outs, print materials) is an important part of marketing your home too. People come from all walks of life, and therefore can be found by different ways of advertising. Your Realtor will know the best combo of online and offline marketing to get your home in front of the most number of home buyers and the most engaged of home buyers. 

Text reads, "What is your list to sell ratio?"

This is also known as sale to list ratio. Basically what this is means is this: Last Listing Price of Home / Final Sale Price of That Same Home = List to Sell Ratio (expressed as percentage). As an example, let's say a home listed at $320,000 was reduced to $300,000, and then finally sold for $289,000. This means that:

$289,000 divided by $300,000 = 0.963 repeating.

Now, express this answer as a percentage:

0.963 x 100 = 96.3% 

If the percentage is less than 100%, you know that the house sold for less than the listing price. If the percentage is above 100%, you know that the house sold for more than the listing price. 

If you want to sell your home, this percentage will show you how effective your Realtor's negotiating skills are. The closer it is to 100%, you can infer that your Realtor is able to negotiate offers to be closer to your listing price. That is to say, lower offers will be negotiated to a fair offer of purchase. If a Realtor has percentages above 100%, you know that there was likely high buyer competition that drove the offers up. This is indicative of a Realtor who has marketed your house effectively. Be careful though. If you see consistent percentages above 100%, you know something is off. In a fairly priced market for buyers and sellers, the best you can do is 100%. A sellers' market is where you see above 100%, and all agents will have numbers above 100% to prove that. When you see that only one agent has consistent numbers above 100%, you know that they're purposely selling homes lower than fair market value - in order to have positive results and good-looking sales numbers. Some agents use this tactic as their strategy, unfortunately. Be aware of this, and choose your Realtor accordingly.

Text reads, "Where do you rank among your competition?"  

You want to ask this for the answer, and you'll want to also pay attention to how they choose to answer. For example, if they answer with pride, pay attention to how much. A successful Realtor does indeed have reason to be proud of their hard work, but a boastful Realtor may not be a good match for you. This is for you to decide. In addition, a new Realtor that ranks lower among their competition simply because they're new, may not be a bad choice for you. If they're determined and show great skill from the start, this will be reflected in how they answer. If that connects with you, you decide on how to proceed.

Text reads, "Have you sold houses in this price range?"

The price range of a home most definitely alters the way a home is marketed, and the way homes are perceived. It also alters the way agents look at them, too. Agents that frequently sell higher priced homes may not even give the time of day to sellers who have a home in a lower price range. On the opposite side, agents that sell smaller properties may be overwhelmed when it comes to marketing larger properties. Luckily in Yorkton, our city size allows us to have lots of experience in selling homes of all shapes, sizes and values. This is great for both buyers and sellers, because they come to us from all walks of life and all class structures! Everyone needs a home, and we apply our gold standard to everyone who comes to us for assistance.

Text reads, "Have you sold houses in this neighbourhood?"

Very similar to the question above, it's important to ask if your agent has sold homes in your neighbourhood before. A mature area of town have homes that are priced differently from homes in a developing part of town. Continuing with this example, buyers look for different sorts of things within mature neighbourhoods. Realtors helping buyers need to be aware and knowledgeable about all of those aspects in order to properly help. Realtors helping sellers will guide them on how to market the home to appeal to buyers looking for those specific aspects. If the home exists in a developing part of town, the same logic applies to buyers' agents and sellers' agents there.

Text reads, "Will I be working with you directly, or a team?"

If you contact a Realtor with the understanding that you'll be meeting and dealing with them only, it can be off-putting to be handed to an assistant at one point, or taken care of by different team members. It's good to ask this question right away so that you're clear on who you will primarily be with, and if any support staff or team members take care of certain parts of the process with you. A great team behind any Realtor is great to have in your corner, but it's always nice to be aware of when that support will be dealing with you. 

Text reads, "Do you have [x, y, z] in your network?"

An outstanding Realtor will have people and businesses to recommend to you. Part of understanding your needs is understanding who else can help you with your moving process, home sale, home buy, etc. These recommendations can include: mortgage brokers, inspectors, appraisers, lawyers, contractors, movers and financial advisers. 

Text reads, "Do you have references I can call?"

Realtors call these referrals, and yes, they should be able to provide a list of satisfied homeowners. Since you're the one choosing the professional, think of yourself as an employer choosing an employee to hire. You want to get a hold of their references to verify the work and work ethic listed on their resume.

Text reads, "How do your Realtor fees work?"

Also known as commission. As a seller, it's always a good idea to have a thorough understanding of how all financial aspects will transpire, before signing or entering any agreement. A professional real estate agent will be able to walk you through how their fees work in an objective manner, and allow you to ask questions if you aren't sure on anything. Generally speaking, the average combined real estate agent commission is 2% to 8% of the total selling price, which is then split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents. The cost structure in Saskatchewan is typically set up as 6% for the first $100,000 of transaction value, 4% of the next $100,000 and 2% of the remaining balance. The SREC (Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission) states that, "commissions are not set or fixed by any regulation. You can negotiate compensation."

Text reads, "Can you explain each step of the process?"

Regardless of if you are a buyer or seller, your Realtor should be able to sit down with you and explain each step of the process you are going to go through. It's their job to know this, and to explain it to you. 

Text reads, "Can I see the documents I will have to sign?"

This answer better be yes! All good Realtors will make the appropriate real estate forms available to preview before you're required to sign them. This transparency shows the upfront and honest nature of your Realtor.

Text reads, "Why should I hire you over your competition?"

This last question is a bonus question, really. It's another question where you want to pay close attention to how they answer. Since all Realtors can sell any home, and any person can hire any Realtor, agents are always working on this question. They work to improve themselves and improve their services, so that you will hire them over their competition. For some agents, they may talk about certain services that they utilize (like virtual tours, drone videos, etc) that add an extra wow factor to your listing. Other agents may talk about how they negotiate, and what types of techniques they use. Their manner of speech, humour, intelligence and personality are all going to be mixed in with their answer, so paying attention to all of these things will help you finally get a good sense of your real estate professional.

Posted by Admin Staff on


Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.