Author Topic: Interviewing realtors  (Read 2904 times)

Workinghard

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Interviewing realtors
« on: August 07, 2014, 09:19:37 AM »
I will be checking with a limited service broker and/or flat fee MLS. I did find this one in my area and I assume it's somewhat standard. The fee is $499 +.75% commission with a minimum of $1500. It looks like they check pre-qualifications, negotiate offers, do contracts, title coordination, etc. http://www.getmoreoffers.com

Right now I'm leaning toward going with a flat fee MLS and if we don't sell then going with a full-service realtor. We are not in a rush to sell and are looking at two different windows of time--next spring before we go on a month's vacation or the fall/spring following that.

However, I do have some interviews set up with realtors next week. I want to get some CMA's and their thoughts on making our house more marketable. I was wondering what kind of questions I should be asking them? Thoughts, suggestions on the whole process?

Workinghard

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Re: Interviewing realtors
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2014, 09:44:27 AM »
Actually I have been looking up questions to ask realtors. I guess what I need is more personal, hands-on experience and suggestions. Thanks!

pksr

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Re: Interviewing realtors
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2014, 10:24:46 AM »
Ask them how much they will discount their traditional commission (just their portion - you want to keep the buyer's agent fully motivated) because you are very close to going the flat fee route. They'll probably balk and turn it back into a question to you (you could always counter with 0.0% as a start), but keep the limbo contest going from agent to agent. Getting listings is critical to most agents, so it's definitely negotiable.

I would also probe their tech savvy with open ended questions. Some are great, use every possible resource, and are very good keeping you up to date via email / text / etc. Some are not.

Be careful in how you ask what they'd list it for, and only consider their answer as a small data point. They're going to be reading you like a book to see if you want it high or realistic. They'll likely opt for the former knowing you're interviewing other agents, so ask them to point out the best comps on the CMA as backup and check out those houses (at least what you can see from the curb and zillow, which may still have history) yourself.

But to bury the lead, you may not need a broker / listing service at all. Set a "make me move" price on zillow and start talking that your house is going to be on the market so everyone knows. Not using a broker has its own perils, but you can use the standard forms and hire an attorney (who'll actually give you real legal advice - brokers can't / won't) if you actually find a buyer who has a similar concept of the house's value and is willing to split the transaction cost savings.

Workinghard

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Re: Interviewing realtors
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2014, 01:57:28 PM »
Thanks pksr.  From what I've read, it sounds like the buyer's agent does the most work although with the advent of the Internet that has somewhat diminished.

I hear ya about the listing price. Any idea how many comps they should come up with? Is that something in writing they give me? Interesting how each realtor wants to be the last appointment. I told them I'm not listing or signing papers just interviewing. I have four interviews on two different days. I probably should have eliminated the one. What I don't like is that they're all from the same company.

"Bury the lead" ? I'm not up on the jargon. If I go the DIY route, or at least try, I assume I need a real estate attorney? I wouldn't even know where to begin as far as contracts, titles, appraisals, etc.

Another Reader

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Re: Interviewing realtors
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2014, 08:20:19 AM »
The agents are looking for a job.  Interview them like you would any other job candidate.  Ask them how many properties they have listed and sold each year for each of the last three years. Ask if they will be the person you will work with, or will they hand you off to a team member.  Ask them to describe a couple of difficult negotiations and what they did to get the deal done. Ask if their brokerage uses consumer-oriented public websites to post listings such as Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com.  Anyone that does not these days is protecting The Real Estate Family and may not have your best interests at the top of their list.   

A professional agent that wants the listing should arrive armed with a complete competitive market analysis and a marketing plan.  Review that thoroughly and compare it to the other CMA's to make sure it is not biased high or low.  Get references and CALL them.

Interview agents from different companies, unless there is just one company in your area that does all the deals.

FSBO is a complicated process.  It rarely works in a slow market. You need to learn a lot in a short period of time to do this successfully.  You will probably have to pay a buyer's agent anyway.  You may be better off negotiating the commission down than doing it yourself.  Any agent that is not willing to negotiate on commission or says there is a standard rate would not make my final list of candidates.


GoCubsGo

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Re: Interviewing realtors
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2014, 09:25:04 AM »
As a Realtor, I would echo the last post and definitely plan on paying a buyers agent commission (especially in the flat MLS situation).  Many buyers do work with and feel more comfortable working with a Realtor so plan on getting calls from buyers agents if you go the FSBO route.  In my area, Zillow estimates are wildly inaccurate (on the low side) and I would never recommend a seller using those values as a listing price basis.  My listing presentations track the price variances of Zillow vs. actual close prices to highlight the point.

Definitely get some pricing opinions from local Realtors as it doesn't cost you anything and any good agent will have no problem meeting with you.  I talk to potential FSBO or flat MLS sellers all the time and in the right market it can be a great strategy.  I give my presentation the same way to a FSBO seller as I would a non FSBO seller.  I have gotten listings months down the road after they have tried the FSBO route and were impressed with my marketing strategy.  A good Realtor will give you a comprehensive overview of your market and drill down on recent pricing and time on the market trends (low inventory in my market is causing a spike in prices which isn't necessarily shown in 5 month old comps).  I always leave a complete data packet which includes all the market reports as well as individual comps with adjustments made for different features.  Also, ask about what time of year is more advantageous in your market  as the last 2 EARLY springs (Feb-Mar) were the hottest times for sellers.

Workinghard

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Re: Interviewing realtors
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2014, 03:11:10 PM »
Thanks Another Reader and GoCubsGo. I start meeting with realtors tomorrow. Unfortunately,  they're all from the same company which is a little awkward. I understand Oct-Mar is peak in our area. I'm tentatively thinking of going flat fee broker in the spring and full service realtor next fall if we don't sell. I typed up questions to ask each realtor with their name and contact info at the time. Based on phone conversations, two have been more or less eliminated before even meeting with them.

Workinghard

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Re: Interviewing realtors
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2014, 02:59:08 PM »
Met first realtor today. He wasn't expecting to be interviewed but thought it was great. He'd list our house at 300k but expects around 266k for it. Another one in our neighborhood  was listed for 299k and he's waiting to see what it sold for.