4 Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent Before Signing a Contract

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Selling a home can be a stressful process. Not only do you need to deal with an influx of potential buyers, but if you’re selling and buying simultaneously, you’ll need to spend time searching for homes and applying for a mortgage.

Thankfully, though, you don’t have to go through the process alone. That’s what real estate agents are for. But if you’re going to hire one, it’s important to find the best person for the job. Here are four questions you must ask a real estate agent before signing a contract.

1. What fee do you charge?

Real estate agents don’t work for free, and they don’t tend to just charge a random fee. Rather, their fee is generally calculated as a percentage of your home’s sale price.

Usually, you’ll pay somewhere in the ballpark of 5% to 6% to use a real estate agent’s services. But there’s a big difference between 5% and 6%, so find out what fee you’re looking at and whether there’s any room to negotiate.

2. How much time do you get to sell my home?

The last thing you want is to get stuck with a real estate agent who doesn’t put a lot of effort into selling your home, thereby leaving it to sit on the market for months on end. Instead, ask your real estate agent what sort of time frame you have to commit to.

Your agent might insist on a minimum of three months to move your home off the market. That’s generally a reasonable period of time. But in today’s seller-centric market, you may not want to agree to a six-month contract.

3. What will you do to market and sell my home?

Real estate agents have different tools they can use to draw in prospective buyers and command a great price for your home. It’s important to learn more about the approach your real estate agent intends to take before hiring them.

Will your agent stage your home? Is your agent great at photography so they’re able to put together an appealing listing and virtual tour? And does your agent know the local market really well so as to price your home just right? Get all of this information before committing.

4. How easy are you to reach?

When you’re selling a home, you want the option to get in touch with your real estate agent easily, so ask about their schedule. It may be that your agent is commonly out in the evening showing homes, but is very available in the morning and afternoon. It’s important to know what to expect so you don’t end up frustrated.

At the same time, make sure your agent’s preferred communication method aligns with yours. If you’re the type who likes live phone calls, you may not enjoy working with a real estate agent who prefers to communicate by text message 95% of the time.

A real estate agent could help you sell your home quickly and at a price you wind up happy with. Just make sure to ask all the right questions before entering into that arrangement.

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