Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Overcoming REALTOR Phobia--12 Tips for Interviewing a Real Estate Agent

I’ll admit it. From time to time I have had trust issues when I first meet a salesperson. Perhaps I have been burned one too many times when an overzealous salesman makes a promise and doesn't deliver.  Maybe it is because I have read too many “scripts” in my own sales career that I am have become cynical to the process. Of course there are good products and sometimes the sales pitch is as genuine as is the person delivering it. But it's tiresome weeding out the good from the bad.  I don’t think I am alone feeling this way. As a REALTOR® I have discovered home buyers and sellers can be afraid of real estate salespeople.
Several years ago my teenagers were into reading the melodramatic and very snarky books, A Series of Unfortunate Events.  One of the characters, Aunt Josephine was deathly afraid of nearly everything in her house but she was particularly terrified of the huge picture window with a panoramic view of a cliff, rocks and lake below. Petrified as she was, Aunt Josephine couldn’t bring herself to sell her home as she feared REALTORS® even more.

I found this funny but also very eye-opening. If someone could actually write a humorous novel about a person with “real estate agent phobia”, there probably is more than one person who feels this way. And this could be a clue as to why so many home buyers and sellers trying to go it alone when moving.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Not all REALTORS® work the same way. Being conscious of what potential clients might feel, I try to be open, honest and treat everyone as I would like to be treated. I don’t sell houses; I assist people in the process of finding a home or a buyer for their home. 

Trust is a huge obstacle for many people when choosing someone to work with on a home purchase or sale. The best way to decide whether or not you can work with someone is to spend some time talking with them.  INTERVIEW potential agents prior to signing a contract for buyer or seller representation. If in the interview, you don’t develop a good rapport or "click" with this particular person, move on to the next. The home buying/selling process takes time and it is a more pleasant experience if you like and trust the person you have representing your interests.  But don’t avoid signing a contract and try to go it alone without any representation. Your best protection against a hard-sell sale pitch is having a REALTOR® working with you every through every step of the transaction.  Home buyers are especially vulnerable but once you commit to working with a single trusted agent, the process of buying a home is truly simplified.

12 Questions Interview for a Potential REALTOR®

1.     How long have you been selling residential real estate?

2.      Is this your full-time job? Do you have another part-time job or business in addition to real estate sales?

3.      Do you represent buyers or sellers exclusively or will the transaction be a dual agency?

4.      Tell me more about how you work and your business philosophy.

5.     Can you help recommend service providers who can help with financing, inspections, repairs, etc.?

6.     How will you communicate with me? Via text, email, phone or a combination? How frequently can I call you? Do you answer your own phone?

7.     Will I work with you directly or an assistant/team member?

8.     Can I speak with some of the home buyers (or sellers) you worked with most recently?

Additional questions to ask when selling a home: 

9.     How many homes did you sell last year?

10.    On average, how many days does it take you to sell an average home?

11.    How did the final sales prices compare to the initial asking prices of the homes you sold most recently?

12.   How do you plan to market my home? 

Copyright 2014