Finding the right real estate agent – a good agent – is critical when you’re selling your house.
A good realtor can not only help you sell your house faster and at a better price, but can make the whole home-selling process less stressful.
To see exactly how we do this, click here to access our free guide.
Finding the right agent before selling your house means asking the right questions.
So check out these 5 Important Questions to Ask Your Agent before selling your house in Lake Forest Park, WA.
1. How Long Have You Been In Real Estate?
When selling your house in Lake Forest Park, you need to know that your agent has a positive track record showing her success. So a good place to start in the interview process with a prospective agent is with this question.
Experienced agents will have a better idea of what is happening in the market and how to handle any problems that come up. Ideally, you want an agent who has done more than 10 transactions in the past 12 months. Fewer than 10 should be a red flag because it typically means one of two things: 1) that the agent isn’t very successful or 2) that the agent is working only part-time.
Not only do I beat that criteria, I have been in real estate since 2002 when I first started real estate investing. Since then, my husband and I have bought over 20 rental houses, and have served as a general partner in real estate syndications representing over 200 apartment units, 950 acres of raw land, and two shopping centers. I worked for several years as a real estate trainer and coach, helping other folks get started with real estate investing, as well.
It’s very likely that an agent who has completed few transactions is out of touch with what’s going on in the local market. So you should look for an agent who has completed more deals, at least 10 in the past year, according to industry pros. The industry average is 4 sales per year, so make sure you ask around before hiring your “friend who’s an agent.”
2. What Neighborhoods Do You Specialize In?
Another important question to ask your agent when selling your house in Lake Forest Park, WA concerns the neighborhoods she specializes in. An intimate knowledge of the local market is one of the most important things an agent has to offer.
Some of the benefits of using a true neighborhood expert include . . .
- Knowledge of recent transactions in the area
- Insight into why certain homes sold quickly or slowly
- What is desirable about the neighborhood
- Ability to properly price your home in line with market value
Here, I will insert that I have been living in the Lake Forest Park, WA area since I was a kid… back when my neighborhood was still “unincorporated King County.” Although I did go to North Carolina for college, you will give me credit that I returned, with my IT-Loving-Husband in tow, ready for more LFP fun!
Although we couldn’t afford to buy a home in Lake Forest Park right out of college (we settled for a townhouse in Lynnwood, WA for 10 years…) we eventually made it back to Lake Forest Park and live very near my parents who still occupy my childhood home!
Finding an agent with knowledge of and plenty of experience selling in your neighborhood and local market is critical. To discover more about this, you can contact a Lake Forest Park, WA agent at (206) 578-3438.
3. What Will Your Marketing Strategy Be For My House?
As described in excruciating detail in our “A Plus Home Sales Guide” mentioned above, even with plenty of experience and neighborhood knowledge, an agent who doesn’t or can’t implement an aggressive, effective marketing strategy won’t do you much good in selling your house.
Selling your house calls for effective marketing, so be sure to find out about a prospective agent’s marketing strategy for your property.
- Home Prep: We are committed to helping you prepare your home for sale – to the level you are comfortable. We can even help you remodel or get contractors lined up, and you can defer payments til after you sell.
- We Stage For You: We believe in staging a home, and if your home is vacant, we will pay for professional staging of the primary rooms. If you are still living in your home, we will advise you on how to empty it, while leaving the best pieces in place, because how we live in a home is not how we stage it for selling.
- Professional Photography and Videography: With more and more people starting their home search online (93% according to the National Association of Realtors), how your home looks on the internet is extremely important.
Case Study: One of my buyers snatched up a good deal on a listing that didn’t show well. The realtor was the ex-wife of the seller… he was selling his condo to move in with his girlfriend… Hmm. The pictures of the condo looked like they had been taken at dusk with a cell phone camera – too dark and not appealing. The home was not selling, and we negotiated a great deal in a hot market where most homes were getting multiple offers.
I have been involved in many transactions where the buyer has purchased the home without ever setting foot inside – just after seeing it through photo and video tours.
As this “remote purchasing” trend becomes more common, it’s imperative we give buyers a clear idea of what to expect when selling your house. Let’s make it easy for them to click that “Buy” button… (if only such a thing existed on the MLS!)
- Paid Advertising – As part of our marketing plan, we don’t just “set it and forget it” after we put your home on the NWMLS and are officially selling your house. No! Our work is only beginning.
We pay to get your property out to the MASSES. Look for Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, YouTube Ads, Linked In, Google Maps, Personal Webpages, and more. Your house’s listing will be syndicated to over 100 websites.
In addition, we will send out mailers, make phone calls and advertise to our in-house email list.
- Open Houses – If you like (some sellers do, some don’t – but I always recommend it), we will host an Open House, as well.
Case Study: We recently had a client selling his house as the market was cooling. The house didn’t get any offers the first week on the market… so I hosted a 3rd Open House the second week on the market.
There we were able to “hook” two buyers… both of whom came in with low-ball offers on the “stale” listing… and we were able to work them against each other to come up with a full-price offer for our seller client.
- In-House Buyers & Agent Networking – Paid advertising, and cold prospecting are great, but sometimes it comes down to who you know. We have an in-house list of buyers and agents, and we will connect with those looking in YOUR neighborhood, so we can sell them on the idea of making an offer on your house.
Any prospective real estate agent you interview should be able to describe a clearly-defined marketing strategy specifically tailored for your property and the local market. The above plan represents a tremendous amount of work, but at the end of the day, it gets the job done!
And today an agent must be well-versed in all the effective online marketing strategies. It’s a good idea, then, to also ask an agent about successful marketing campaigns she has mounted in the past and what she specifically plans to do when selling your house. If you like, you can even get the marketing plan in writing.
4. How and How Often Will You Communicate With Me?
Clear and frequent communication with an agent is critical for sellers. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, lack of communication is the number one complaint clients have about their real estate agents.
Your agent should be willing to communicate by *your preferred method,* whether by phone, email, or text.
And you should be able to expect your agent to be available to communicate with you often. In fact, a good agent will communicate proactively, often providing daily updates and certainly responding quickly to your questions.
In our office, we have a weekly check-in scheduled on Monday to go over all activity your listing received over the prior week. We will review number of showings, feedback from agents and their clients, and discuss strategy, if any changes are needed.
By having a scheduled check-in time, clients feel comfortable knowing when they will hear from us and that their questions will be answered. Obviously if there is an emergency or we get an offer, both parties can connect at any time.
When asked about it, an agent may claim to be a good communicator, but you run a test to see if the claim is true. After your initial meeting/interview with an agent, send a follow-up text or email to see how quickly the agent responds. Also, the agent should respond personally and not delegate the response to someone else on the team.
However, respect your agent’s personal time. Most agents hope to have a little downtime every day with their family, and being constantly on-call can be draining. Evenings and weekends can be very busy as that is often when realtors are meeting with clients and viewing property. Your agent may take a day off during the week to compensate. Ask your realtor about her office hours.
Typically, I am in the office from 8:15 AM – 6:15PM, Monday-Friday, and available on weekends and evenings by appointment. My phone is muted after 9PM so I can wind down and get some sleep!
5. What Sets You Apart From Other Agents?
When selling your house, you definitely want to know you have a top-notch real estate agent, so ask prospective agents what sets them apart from other agents. A prospective agent should be able to make a great case for herself because that demonstrates sales ability.
Look for clear, convincing answers to this question and avoid agents who can provide only vague answers. However avoid someone who gives the sense that they are “shining you on” or “blowing smoke.” It’s easy to say things… but will they deliver?
My approach is to invest significantly in my clients’ education and in marketing their home.
I want each of my clients to be well-informed and highly-educated about the process so they can make their own best decisions. At the end of the day, I am an advisor, but the client is always the boss and decision-maker. Selling your house is both a financial and emotional decision, so I want you to feel comfortable and in control while selling your house.
I also understand the importance of presenting the home well to the market. It has to look its best and highlight its best features, as well as being priced right. While still being honest and truthful about any defects or shortcomings, we don’t lead with that information when we are trying to hook a client.
A prospective agent should be able to produce an answer to why their different, look for something like this: “I live in the neighborhood and understand the market thoroughly”; or “I will agree in writing to do the following things for your house sale, and if you’re not satisfied, you can get out of the contract at any time.”
The Easy Way to Find a Good Lake Forest Park, WA Real Estate Agent
The only drawback of using this method to find the right agent – that is, interviewing and asking the right questions – is that its labor- and time-intensive.
There is, though, an easier way. You can let your fingers do the walking and stumble upon a fun and informative site like this. 🙂
In my experience, many real estate agents have a “cookie cutter” template site that they get from their agency, and do not take the time to post articles to teach and inform you, and to answer your questions.
I would sure appreciate being on your “consideration set” as the realtor you choose (or interview!) using these questions. So when selling your house in Lake Forest Park, WA – or surrounding neighborhoods – is your goal, contact me today at (206) 578-3438.
Or click here for more information on selling your house.