Selecting the Right Agent

It is important for you to have a great agent in your corner as you make the decision to sell. We can help you save money with our resources and connections and we can help you get your home READY to sell. The right agent will make you more than they cost! I have compiled a list of great "interview questions" for you to ask your potential agent. These questions are a good starting place to get to know them and will inform you about their professional expertise.

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Q. Are you a full time agent? How many clients are you currently working with? How many clients have you serviced this year?

An active, full-time agent is more likely to be up-to-date on the market and the law. An active, full-time agent is more likely to be up-to-date on the market and the law. They also have the experience of pervious transactions and have probably been though some highly unlikely scenarios. They will have a plan in place and will know what to do if things do not go according to plan!

Q. Have you worked with buyers and sellers in my target area or city?

You want an agent who is familiar with the current market in the area you are searching. For large cities, you may want to find an agent working the in specific neighborhood. In Arkansas, most agents work a variety of neighborhoods and cities, but they should have some knowledge and expertise in your area.

Q. When clients are unhappy with your service, what has gone wrong?

Every agent has had a bad experience with a client. This question will help you to understand who they are and how they operate. Look for an honest answer here.

Q. Has a client ever filed a complaint against you?

Hard question to ask, but you need to know. We are talking about one of your largest investments here! If you don't feel comfortable asking, check with the commission.

Q. What is y our fee?

Some agents don't have any additional charges. Some agents charge up front fees & some charge an additional percent or two and charge it back to the seller. In central Arkansas, the listing broker typically splits the commission with the buyers agent. Most great buyers agents do not look at the commission offered to the agent when showing homes. Our primary goal is serving YOU and finding the right home for you, however, if a seller chooses, they may incentivize more showings by offering a larger commission on the buying side.
Be leery of agents who discount their fees, especially quickly. Also, agents that charge up front fees or flat fees. If they will cut their own take home, how do you think they will handle negotiating YOUR net form the sell of your home? When you look at the numbers, discount brokerages cost you more than they save on selling and buying a home.

Q. What services are provided?

This is where you find out everything they do to work for you in the process of finding, negotiating, and purchasing your home.

Q. When am I committed to working with you?

Don't start touring homes until you know who you are working with and they know what you are looking for.

Q. Have you handled short-sales and foreclosures?

Distressed properties can be great deals, but the paperwork is complicated, and your liability is greater. The best agents have experience closing deals with banks.

Q. Who else will be working with me?

An agent is often supported by a team. But the person you hire should do most of the work.

Q. Am I obligated to work with the lender, inspector, or other service providers you recommend?

Due to a ruling called "RESPA" a "yes" here is a big red flag. While many great agents have a list of highly professional vendors in the area who they or their clients have worked with and who have done a great job, you should never feel pressured to use the recommendation of an agent.

Q. How quickly can you get me into a home? How quickly could it sell and close?

Great homes in great locations, in great condition, priced well, and marketed well in any market move fast. On the sale side, ask about the agent's average days on market. On the buy side, ask how your agent goes about the process of setting up showings and how quickly you would be able to see a favorite home. This could be the difference in you moving or not!

Q. Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transactions? Dual agency?

This one is a little complicated. Less experienced agents have a hard time managing a dual agency transaction and will sometimes elect not to do it at all. The agent is attempting to act in the best interest of all parties and it can create some headache for them. Many commentators on this topic only look at one factor: "the deal". They ask the question, "How can an agent working to get the sellers the highest possible price also work to get the buyers the lowest possible price?" That is a great question, but it is the wrong question. The simple answer is that the agent sticks to the numbers with a comparative market analysis and then asks the buyer "How much would you like to pay?" then asks the seller, "Would you sell it for ____ ?"
What can cost more than the price of the home are TERMS. Often, in a dual agency transaction, both parties receive favorable terms because the agent is familiar with the situation of both parties. The transaction is usually smooth with less uncertainty saves money and headache for the buyer and seller.
An important distinction: In Arkansas, the listed property is represented by the listing broker, not just the agent. Any agent who refuses dual agency agrees not to let their buyer see any of the properties listed by their broker. This could eliminate hundreds of potential homes for you.
It is best to select an agent with experience carefully managing dual agency transactions and has the knowledge, expertise, and professionalism to appropriately handle both sides of a transaction. How is it in the best interest of my buyer to withhold a property that is a perfect fit that I have listed to avoid dual agency? I would argue that I am then NOT acting in the best interest of either party!

Q. What sets you apart from other agents?

Look for real expertise here, not just excitement and likability. Look for an agent with a proven track record, great testimonials from happy customers, a good professional reputation, deep knowledge of the market, and willing (with the "know how") to meet any special needs or requirements that you might have in your home search.

Q. Can I cancel the contract if I am unhappy with your service?

Know your agent's policy regarding cancelation of the representation and listing agreements! Some agents change a fee if you try to cancel. This could be a major problem if you lose contact with the agent, if you wind up having a personal conflict with them, or if they just do a bad job. What is their policy regarding cancelation? 

Q. Can I cancel the contract if I am unhappy with your service?

Communication is KEY! Make sure your agent has the appropriate avenues of communication open and has a plan for how to communicate through the process. What does do they call sellers? Can they pull analytics and data from the various places they post your property? If not, how will you know if they are doing their job and you have a price or condition issue? How will they update buyers? 

Let us know if you would like to schedule a call to speak with one of our amazing agents about their answers to these key questions.

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