Before you hire your next real estate agent to sell your home, asking the right questions is critical. The real estate market is constantly changing, even faster since the coronavirus outbreak. So if you are going to get top dollar for your home, you need a professional who is ready to tackle these tough questions to ask a Realtor and provide some quality answers.
An agent should be able to answer these 15 questions if they have a winning strategy to sell your home amid and after COVID-19. Because as the market continues to rebound, there is a whole new set of rules at play.
1. What is your plan for hosting virtual open houses?
Your agent needs to have a good grasp of digital marketing, especially since coronavirus has forced buyers to do the majority of their home search online. And virtual open houses are one of the biggest changes to the home sale process since COVID hit. In-person open houses currently cannot be held, so savvy agents have been hosting virtual open houses via Zoom, Facebook, and Instagram Live to allow large groups of interested buyers to view your home at once with minimal interruption to you and your life.
2. How will you publicize virtual open houses for my property?
Given the full planning, strategy, and execution of an in-person open house, a good virtual open house should have all of the same elements including a theme and giveaway to attract maximum participation, full marketing collateral, social media shares, eBlast, and more.
3. What kind of website and social media exposure will you provide?
Social media and online exposure are crucial to marketing your home in today’s market with so many buyers preferring to stay online for the bulk of their home search. Your agent should be active on social media and ready to roll out social shares for your property as soon as it goes live. And with the proper marketing, videos, and other marketing materials some homebuyers have been purchasing sight unseen amid COVID-19.
4. How many sites will my listing be syndicated to?
The answer from your listing real estate agent should include hundreds of syndication sites. When an agent places your listing on the MLS, it automatically gets syndicated to a couple of different online channels. But your property deserves an extended reach – and it’s possible to get just that if you work with an agent who has a robust network of syndication sites and a plan.
5. Do you have a comprehensive, step-by-step marketing plan for selling my property?
This should be a simple question – of course your agent should have a plan! Personally, our marketing plan at First Team begins with setting the perfect price for your home using intelligent pricing and your neighborhood’s home trend values and then moves onto exhausting all marketing exposure opportunities including matching your home up with thousands of active buyers we’re already working with at our company. With over 2,400 local agents across in Southern California, we know a lot of active house hunters!
6. Can you show me examples of the photography and marketing you provide?
Professional photography builds buyer emotion, minimizes your days on market, and maximizes your home’s price. Our preferred vendor for high-quality photography at First Team is PreviewFirst. They produce beautiful photography AND videos to get buyers emotionally interested and invested in your home. Speaking of which…
7. Will you market my home through video so that buyers can tour it virtually?
In the wake of the coronavirus, photography isn’t enough. You need to allow all buyers, no matter their comfort level, the ability to view your home. That’s why creating a video to showcase your property in the best light possible is key. Check out some videos from our PreviewFirst partners here, including 3D tours as well.
8. What specific tactical steps will you take to ensure that I am pricing my home correctly?
It’s important that you are methodical and data-driven when it comes to pricing your home. And your agent should be the one with a strategy for how to do just that. Research comparable homes in your neighborhood that have sold with a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis), current market trends, and analyze each element to find the right price. At First Team, we use our Market Trends℠ tool to analyze your neighborhood’s home trend values to make sure we price your home properly so that it immediately gets the buyer’s attention it needs. Your price is a huge part of your home’s first impression!
9. Many agents are hard to reach. What is your availability and response time to answer a question or request?
If you like to text, make sure your agent does too. If you want a weekly check-in over the phone, let it be known. Remember, when it comes to selling your home, YOU should be the one calling the shots. Make sure your agent knows how you prefer to communicate and set expectations for response time. Even the busiest real estate agents should be able to commit to no more than a 24-hour turnaround time for texts, calls, and emails. Today’s market is changing even faster than usual, so you and your agent need to be perfectly in sync on quick decisions – especially during negotiations!
10. What should I do to get my house ready?
When hiring a Realtor to sell your home, preparations are a crucial topic to discuss. What budget-friendly updates will help attract more buyers? How can staging help your home sell for more money? Your agent may even suggest bigger remodeling projects that can help your home capture significantly more money based on other homes with similar amenities and updates in the neighborhood. Be open to ideas, make sure you choose preparations to fit your budget and translate into ROI, and consider taking advantage of programs like our First Impressions Concierge. Though our First Impressions Concierge, we pay upfront for the updates your home needs to sell for top dollar, and you don’t pay a dime until your home sale closes.
11. What happens if the appraisal comes in low?
This question has a lot of possible answers, and it’s important that your agent can speak about them all so that your home sale doesn’t hit a fatal snag. To decrease the odds of a low appraisal, an agent can play an active role by meeting appraisers at your home and sharing comparables and information about the home that the appraiser might not have. If a low appraisal still comes in, you can ask the buyer to make up the difference in cash, put together a second mortgage to cover the difference, lower your price and negotiate concessions in other aspects of the transaction like closing costs, and more. It’s important to know that you have options.
12. How will new mortgage rules affect me?
A true real estate expert has knowledge about every aspect of the transaction – including mortgage rules. There is a very good chance that the buyer of your home will need to secure a mortgage, and issues with that mortgage process can slow down your home sale. So make sure the real estate agent you choose to sell your home has strategies for overcoming these challenges in a sale, with a trusted lender to provide additional advice and insight. And if you will be selling your home and purchasing another, you will need help with your own new mortgage as well!
13. What will be your ongoing consultation role through completion of the sale – “until the check clears?”
A great real estate agent isn’t just there to help with one home sale, they are a guide and advisor for your financial future. Finding an agent who is a real estate planner, helping map out your goals and tying it to a strategy for success is what you deserve, and what you should be looking for in an agent. Remember, you’re building a lifelong relationship with an expert you can turn to whenever you need advice. And if you haven’t found that, then you haven’t found the right agent yet.
14. What happens if we get two or more offers at a time?
In today’s market with extremely limited inventory, it is very possible you will receive multiple offers on your home if you price it properly. So make sure you have an agreed-upon plan for how to review offers together. Set up a video call, review the fine points together, and make sure your agent knows what is most important to you. For some it’s the highest possible offer, for others it’s a quick sale, and for others, it’s finding a buyer who will love and cherish your home as much as you did. Whatever your top priorities, review them with your agent BEFORE the offers start rolling in.
15. What can you tell me about your past customers regarding the results and reputation of your services?
Check their references! Treat this process just as you would any job interview so that you find the right person. Always approach online reviews with a grain of salt, but don’t forget to read them – and review them thoroughly.
These questions to ask a Realtor when selling your home amid and after COVID-19 are all geared toward assessing their preparedness. Because without proper planning and strategy, you can’t succeed in any market.