Arlington, VA

Ask Adam: Choosing a Realtor

Editor’s Note: This periodic sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.

A reader asks: How should I go about choosing a Realtor to sell my house?

I’ve made my living off of referrals so obviously I am biased towards the recommendations of people you know, like and trust. But, let’s just say you don’t know anyone who can provide a good referral.

You could go old school and write down the names you are seeing most frequently on for sale signs near you home. Preferably, you would also get some feedback from the homeowner about their experience working with the Realtor.

Try Googling your neighborhood to see if there are some Realtors writing about your particular neighborhood. It’s a good way to preview their market expertise.

You may want to look at online reviews on Yelp, Google Places or Angie’s List. I think that Yelp would be my top choice. Yelp is developing into good source for finding Realtors based on reviews. It also allows you to search based on location to help filter out realtors who don’t specialize in Arlington.

Okay, so you have a few names, now what?

Recently I received an email from a homeowner I had never met before. He introduced himself and the home he and his wife were planning to sell. He then requested my response to the following questions.

  1. Do you work full-time or part-time as a real estate agent?
  2. How many homes have you sold in my neighborhood?
  3. How many other sellers are you representing now?
  4. Will you handle all aspects of my transaction or will you delegate some tasks to a sales associate or administrative assistant?
  5. What are your fees and are they negotiable?
  6. At what price do you think my home can sell given the current market?
  7. Can you give me a comparative market analysis (CMA) of recent sales in the area and homes currently on the market?
  8. What does your marketing package contain in addition to a comparative market analysis?
  9. Can I list the house with you for 60 to 90 days?
  10. Is your license in good standing?
  11. How many years of education and experience do you have?
  12. Are you also a broker and/or a Realtor?
  13. Can you provide me with the names and phone numbers of past clients who have agreed to be references?

I like this RFP approach. Before you invest any time meeting with a Realtor, you can get some of your basic questions answered. It’s a great way to narrow down the pool of Realtors you are considering.

I should point out that I am now working with the person who sent me the questionnaire inserted above and he let me know that he based the questionnaire off of an article he found on homegain.com.

Like the seller in my example, you will want to customize the questions you ask to fit your requirements. You should also have a general idea of the answers you hope to receive.

Once you have received answers from the Realtors you have queried, you should select the top two or three to meet with in person. Ask them to show you examples of the marketing they are currently providing to clients. Have them walk you through their pricing analysis and recommendations. You’ll also want to discuss commission and come to an agreement that you are all comfortable with. Be sure to ask if there are any additional fees that they or their brokerage will be charging you (i.e. admin fees). I think it is also important to review a “net sheet” to understand exactly what your proceeds will be after closing costs.

I hope this helps you find a Realtor you will want to work with and recommend for years to come.

Please keep the questions coming: [email protected]

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