I’ve read some other Top 10 lists and frankly do not think they are tough enough on the most important issues. So here we go with…

The Steve Martin Smith
Top 10 List Of ‘Tough Questions’ To Ask
Before You Sign With A REALTOR

10. Why should I trust you to sell my most valuable possession?

The answer to this most important question will reveal itself through the other questions and your good instincts, as you spend time with each agent.

 9. What will you do to guide me in preparing my home for sale?

We are ‘supposed to be’ the experts in marketing homes for sale. Previous agent listings with photos of messy, unattractive homes are a red flag. You will not get top dollar for your home if the presentation is sloppy. If you are not an amazing home stager, do not assume that your listing agent is. Get proof.

8. Besides the same old “Comparative Market Analysis” (CMA) that all agents use, what will you do to help us price our house right the first time and why is that important?

Over 1,200 price reductions occurred in Venice during 2015. There are additional tools at our disposal that relatively few agents have considered or are willing to invest in. The idea that we can start high, with a plan to reduce if needed, has more drawbacks than virtue. You don’t want to sell the house on the block that has to keep lowering its price. It stays on the market too long and buyers start to wonder what’s wrong with it.

7. What personal financial investment will you make to help us get the maximum profit for our investment?

You need to determine if the agent in front of you is more concerned about their profit or yours. If we invest nothing to prepare and market your property, then our commission is pure profit no matter what it sells for. If all we do is put it on the MLS and stick a sign in your yard, then what do we have to lose if it doesn’t sell or sells for less than it’s worth? You want an agent with skin in the game.

6. Can you show me examples of how you will represent my home in print and on the internet?

Presentation is paramount. Settle for nothing less than EXCELLENCE.

5. Will we have open houses and what is their value?

It’s true that open houses do not sell property. Good Real Estate Agents sell property. The benefits of a regular open house program are simply part of the process. Along our sunny Gulf Coast, residents are always trying to get their northern relations to move down. An open house is a great way to turn locals into your extended sales force.

When hosted properly by the listing agent, the real time feedback of an open house can be invaluableHowever this does not work for homeowners who host their own open house, as people generally will say nothing negative to the home owner.

4. Will you personally be hosting my open house program?

If your open house host is not the listing agent they may lack motivation to sell your home, as they may not benefit from the sale. Granted, any safely ran open house is better than no open house, but why settle for second best? If your agent is not hosting open houses for you, they may be too far removed to provide the focus needed to maximize YOUR profit.

3. Can I see the work that your photographer has done for you in the past?

As ol’ pappy used to say “It only cost a little bit more to go first class”. The buyers willing to spend the most are often the buyers turned off by less than professional photos. Just because an agent uses a “professional” photographer, does not mean that they are excellent at their craft or have the right tools. Get details and proof before you sign.

2. How will you attract the right buyers to my home?

FACT: There are over 8000 licensed Real Estate Agents in the greater Venice Area. Serious, vetted buyers work with Real Estate Agents. If your property has great marketing, it should stand out to get the attention of every agent who has a serious, vetted potential buyer for your listing.

1. How are your negotiation strategies better than the next agent’s?

Unless you are an experienced negotiator, you better make certain that your listing agent is. Yes we are all looking for the win/win, right? but… wouldn’t you like some confidence that your portion of the win is maximizing your profit? If they are stumbling over the answer to THIS question you can end the interview.

Bonus Question: If you have more than 6 listings already, how is my most valuable possession going to get the personal attention it deserves from you?
The general public views this topic incredibly backwards.

  • Having more listings does not equate to maximizing YOUR profit – only the agent’s profit.
  • Having more listings does not equate to having more buyers – and if it did, your agent would have even less time to focus on your listing as they are busy driving buyers all over town.
  • If your agent is selling 10 houses at the same time, which customers are not getting the attention they need?

The Final Point:
Consider the amount of LISTING AGENT FOCUS
you would appreciate for the commission
your agent will receive.

It’s our privilege to be trusted with the sale of your home. 

Ask Tough Questions – Expect Great Answers

Steve Martin Smith and his wife/partner Katrina are Florida REALTORs serving Sarasota,
Charlotte and Manatee Counties.

Steve & Katrina can always be found at www.SteveMartinSmith.com