Five Questions to Ask a Portland Listing Agent – Before Signing
Putting your home on the market is a big decision, one that reverberates through your life and relationships. When the time comes to sell, however, the most important thing is the kind of relationship you have with your Portland real estate agent. After all, they’re earning their commission on your home, and you’re passing along your most valuable – and complicated – asset. Communication is essential!
Get started early, make a list of desirable traits you want your real estate agent to have, and let him or her know what your expectations are as well. Most importantly, get the answers to the following questions:
1. Is he or she a REALTOR®? The title of REALTOR® is reserved for members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). A real estate license doesn’t necessarily make the agent a member of the NAR – he or she must go through additional training and pay a fee to be part of the Association. The benefits for you, the seller, are knowing that the REALTOR® you choose has the legal protection of the nation’s largest trade organization, adheres to the NAR Code of Ethics, and participates in continuing education to meet the REALTOR® standards. (We’ll go back to referring to REALTORs® as real estate agents, now that you know the difference!)
2. What kind of experience does the real estate agent have in the Portland real estate market? Your cousin might have had a good experience with an agent in Beaverton, but if you want to sell a home in Northeast Portland and that agent doesn’t have any experience there, you might want to keep looking. Just as important, does the real estate agent in question sell many homes in your price range? Look for someone who can prove their sales record, either online or through designations.
3. How will the agent market your home? Online is more important than you think – 92% – 96% of buyers look for homes that way (depending on the report you read). Before you call, check out your potential real estate agent’s website – is it user-friendly? Do they use Zillow, Trulia, and other home-search tools to advertise? Do they spend money to advertise your home online, as in featuring the home so it shows up before other similar properties? When you interview your agent, find out how many online views they get on each home they sell. They should be able to tell you their average views per listing per area, and hopefully even – per day. Online views sell. This typically needs to be in combination with professional photos (the listing agent should pay for that) and either staging recommendations and or experienced consultation.
4. How does their commission compare? Real estate agent commissions are not set, all real estate commissions are negotiable! Check out my reasonable real estate commissions rate to learn how I can save you money.
5. How does the agent communicate? Everyone has their own preference for how and how often they want to be contacted by their real estate agent, so be sure to discuss it before you list your home with anyone! Your agent should be able to be flexible, giving you just the information you need or all of the fun details of offers, counter-offers, and market updates. Ask them what their communication policy is. I have a once a week (phone call or personal visit) minimum communication policy.
Don’t settle for less than the best when it comes to selling your home: A great listing package, clear and consistent communication, and the experience to sell your Portland home for what it’s worth. See my full listing package here.January 17, 2015