6 Questions You Should Ask Your Shoreline Real Estate Agent Before Signing a Contract

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, chances are you’ll want to work with a real estate agent—and there’s no shortage of ways to find one! Perhaps you know a family friend, have a newly licensed college buddy, or spotted a face on the side of a bus. Regardless of how you connected, though, the selection process for your broker or salesperson shouldn’t end there. 

Deciding to work with a real estate agent shouldn’t be a snap decision. Before you sign on the dotted line, here are 6 questions you should ask your Shoreline real estate agent.

What Neighborhoods Do You Typically Work in?

Many larger markets contain micro-markets that typically run in the same boundaries as neighborhoods. In many cities, these neighborhoods each have their own unique personalities and character.

Specializing in a few neighborhoods is common for agents in larger markets and allows them to really get to know the properties, amenities, and surrounding areas in these neighborhoods. A Shoreline real estate agent who is familiar with the neighborhood and the housing market there will better be able to tell whether a home is fairly priced, if certain features will play well with potential buyers, and give insight into the ups and downs of buying in that neighborhood.

If you’re really intent on living in a specific neighborhood, finding a Shoreline real estate agent who has experience buying and selling homes in that area will be essential.

What Marketing Tools Will You Use to Help Me?

This is where high street agents should demonstrate their years of experience and local knowledge, to inform their plan for marketing your home. Ask them what’s most effective when selling houses like yours. When you’re selling a home, getting the word out to anyone who may be looking to buy is crucial to getting on people’s radar.

You no longer can trust that potential buyers will find your home simply by driving past and seeing a “For Sale” sign; instead, your property needs to be easily seen online and posted in places that your potential buyers will frequent.

The Shoreline real estate agent you choose to work with should have a whole host of marketing tools at their disposal. From tips and tricks – and even outside help – for getting your home in top shape to preparing it for listing to blasting out notices of your open houses to the right markets, you want an agent who comes into your relationship armed and ready to get the word out that your property’s for sale and to generate as much interest as possible.

How Quickly Can You Help Me View a Home I Want to See?

While you are likely to know more about your property and can answer questions directed to you, your estate agent is a professional and they should be more than happy to conduct viewings on your behalf if required.  Timing is everything when it comes to buying your dream home. And, in a hot market, an overscheduled real estate agent who can’t accompany you to view a property for sale could mean you miss out on that house.

The more flexible your Shoreline real estate agent’s schedule, the faster you’re likely to get in to see those properties that you know will be snapped up quickly.

If you are talking with a real estate agent that hems and haws before giving you a rough answer or who knows for sure they won’t be able to get you to a showing for several days after you make a request, it may be better to seek out someone else. You don’t want to work with an agent who is so busy with all their other clients that they can’t make time to do the job you’re hiring them to do.

And, if you’re a seller working with a seller’s agent, be sure to inquire about how much notice they typically give clients before requesting a showing. It’s okay to have your house ready and available to show on short notice sometimes, but if your agent will expect you to always drop everything and leave your house, it may not be a good fit for you.

How Often Can I Expect Updates?

We hear too often of a home sellers’ relationship with their estate agent breaking down. So make sure there is mutual respect from the beginning and be clear about your priorities and how you want to communicate going forward. Communication is key when it comes to working with a real estate agent, regardless of whether you’re a buyer or a seller. But sometimes too much communication can be overwhelming.

Check with your agent to see how often you can expect to hear from them. Will they send you an email every couple of days with properties they’ve found that you may be interested in? Do they plan to text you every few hours to update you on the number of times your online listing has been viewed?

You want to find someone who strikes a balance between not communicating enough and over-communicating, keeping you in the loop about the process without overwhelming you.

Additionally, find out how your Shoreline real agent typically plans to communicate with you. If you’re someone who ignores text messages and that’s the only way your chosen agent communicates – and they won’t adjust to sending you emails or making phone calls to accommodate you – you may want to look elsewhere.

What Percentage of Your Clients Are Buyers? How Many Are Sellers?

Many agents specialize in working with only buyers or only sellers. This is great for you because that means an agent has spent a lot of time and experience deeply learning how to either help people sell their homes or how to find the right fit for them.

In this case, find an agent who tells you that the majority of their work is in the type of real estate you’re looking for help with. You want to work with a buyer’s agent if you’re buying a home and a seller’s agent if you’re selling.

Now, if you elect to work with one agent for both selling your current home and buying a new one, you want to find someone whose experience is a balance between helping buyers and sellers. Many agents, especially in smaller markets, handle both home sales and helping buyers.

What’s Your Average List-to-Sale Ratio?

List-to-sale measures whether homes are selling for more or less than the asking price in a market and can be an indicator of whether or not your home is reasonably priced.

To calculate the list-to-sale ratio, you will divide the final sales price by the property’s final list price. For example, a home that was listed for $200,000 and sold for $190,000 has a list-to-sale ratio of 95. In other words, its final sale price was 95 percent of the final list price.

As a buyer, you can evaluate this metric to understand how good your prospective Shoreline real estate agent is at helping clients negotiate the purchase price below the asking price. You want a buyer’s agent’s list-to-sale ratio to be as far below 100 percent as possible.

If you’re a seller, however, you want your agent’s list-to-sale ratio to be as close to 100 percent as possible. This means that your agent is careful about accurately pricing the homes they list and that they’re able to sell those homes for as close to the full asking price as they can.

Find Your Shoreline Real Estate Agent

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, contact us today to find your right Shoreline real estate agent.

Emily Cressey

Emily Cressey is a real estate broker residing in Lake Forest Park, WA who services the Greater Seattle area including Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Lynnwood, Kenmore, Bothell and Edmonds, WA.

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