10 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

Selling your home can be daunting, which is why it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a real estate agent. Because you’ll be putting your confidence in this person, you should interview more than one candidate.

“For most of us, selling a home is one of the biggest financial actions of our lives,” says Greg Jaeger, president of USAA Residential Real Estate Services. “It makes sense to ask some questions of the person who’ll lead us through it.”

Here are 10 questions to help you get started:

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The agent should be a full-time, knowledgeable, well-established professional.

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Transactions handled by an unlicensed agent aren’t valid, so the answer needs to be yes.

 

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Call the references. One of the best indicators for how well an agent will serve you is his or her track record.

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Someone with expertise in the kind of home you’re selling can be important. Some agents focus on condominiums but know less about single-family homes. Others may focus on certain price ranges, historic properties or rural locations.

 

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There are two numbers to check, according to Jaeger. “First, look at the average list-to-sale ratio, which divides the selling price by the most recent asking price. Beware of a number too far from 100%. Second, how long an agent’s listings stay on the market can show efficiency — or lack of it.”

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Conscientious agents will have a comprehensive plan that could include an online listing, professional photography, a virtual tour and an open house.

 

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Make sure your agent communicates in a method you use, whether it’s phone, text or email. Also get a sense for responsiveness; a lag time of a few hours can mean a lost sale.

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What you’ll pay is an important consideration, so don’t be afraid to bring it up. Consider differences in what agents will do, too, since a lower price might indicate fewer services.

 

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A “yes” answer isn’t necessarily a red flag, but the agent should explain the protocol for working things out.

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Real estate agents aren’t loan experts, but they most likely have experience with lenders. A good agent will be able to point you in the right direction for finding one that fits your needs.

Remember, when you use USAA’s Real Estate Rewards Network to find an agent, you get $350–$6,000 back in your pocket!

 

USAA Real Estate Rewards Network is offered by USAA Residential Real Estate Services, Inc., a licensed real estate broker and subsidiary of USAA Federal Savings Bank. Program may be unavailable for employer-sponsored relocations. Not available for transactions in Iowa or outside the United States. This is not a solicitation if you are already represented by a real estate broker.

Reward offer limited in some states. Reward amount is based on sale price of home sold or purchased and cannot exceed $6,000 per transaction. To receive the maximum amount offered of $6,000, the sale price of the home sold or purchased must be $1 million or more. In 2015, the average member closing in the program received $1,150. Real estate agent fees still apply. The reward is not available in Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi or Oklahoma. In Kansas and Tennessee, a gift card will be issued that is accepted at specific retailers. State regulations in Kansas limit the dollar amounts and the type of incentive. In Oregon, a commission reduction may be available at closing. In New Jersey, a commission credit may be available at closing. Please check with the program coordinator for details. You must be enrolled in the program and be represented at closing by an approved agent with a participating real estate firm in order to qualify for the reward. Reward not available to sellers in a short sale transaction. In certain states, buyers may need seller cooperation in order to participate in the reward program. Availability restrictions apply.

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