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Allison Ziefert: The Right Questions To Ask When Hiring A Realtor

With the spring real estate season upon us many people start to think about making a move and hiring a realtor. But what are the right questions to ask when interviewing an agent? Here are some great ones that will help you make sure that you choose the best agent to sell your home.

How long have you been in the business?

Agents tend to learn on the job. So generally, the more sales an agent has completed, the more they know. The length of time an agent has been in the business can mean the difference between knowing how to handle a difficult situation and not recognizing the signs of a potential problem before it develops into a crisis. Many agents continue to take courses and attend seminars throughout their careers to further their knowledge base. Many new agents have access to experienced mentors to guide them as they learn the ropes.

What is your average list price/sales price ratio?

Market conditions can have a definite impact on an agent’s list/sales price ratio, yet an experienced local agent should be able to deliver you great results in any market. Allison Ziefert Real Estate Group’s listings sell for 3.25% higher than market average. On a $600,000 home this will mean close to $20,000 more in your pocket! You should NOT hire a listing agent simply because they suggest a high listing price and low commission. Agents can’t tell you how much your home will sell for. The buyer will tell you if the price is right. An agent can suggest the list price that will attract a buyer.

How long will my house be on the market?

Your agent should know the average “days on market” in your locale and discuss with you how they quickly they think your home will sell. Keep in mind when homes sell quickly the seller is more likely to retain or exceed the asking price. My team’s listings are selling two weeks faster than the average home in this market, resulting in less hassle and higher selling prices for our clients.

How well do you know the area?

Your agent will be helping you set the listing price, so hiring an agent who is familiar with the area where your property is located can be an important consideration. The same can be true if you are looking to buy in a particular area. Agents who are familiar with an area can help guide you to your perfect home.

What is your marketing plan for the sale of my property?

As a seller you should know in writing exactly how the agent plans to market your property. Many agents use real estate websites, social media, email marketing, and open houses among other tactics. Agents with extensive marketing plans provide greater opportunities for exposure to the greatest number of potential buyers.

Can you provide references?

All agents will have references that you can call. You should check a minimum of three. You might not need references if the agent has tons of online reviews. If online reviews are available, read what people in your area are saying about that particular agent.

What separates you from your competition?

The characteristics and qualifications that you value most are what’s important here. Some agents will say they are trustworthy, available 24/7, great at social media marketing, assertive, or excellent negotiators. You need to determine what is most important to you. For example, on my team we have a direct connection with Brooklyn buyers through our association with Beyond Brooklyn. No other agent in our area has this to offer.

Can I review the documents I will need to sign ahead of time?

Good real estate agents will provide documents ahead of time for your review and will answer any questions you have about any of the forms. If you see a form or fee you do not understand, question it. That way you are entering the transaction fully informed.

How much do you charge?

All real estate fees are negotiable but you do get what you pay for. The commission fee is split between the selling and the buying agents, and the seller pays the real estate commission. An agent may offer you a lower commission but you should be aware of what you are NOT getting for that reduced rate from the listing agent as far as time spent and services provided. If an agent cannot negotiate their own commission with you how well will they negotiate for you? Focus on what the agent can do for you to result in a higher sale price, not the amount you will pay in commission.

Can you help me find other professionals for this transaction?

Agents will often supply you with a list of recommended vendors such as painters, home stagers, attorneys, and title companies. You should ask if the agent receives any compensation from any of the vendors.

Do you offer a guarantee?

You should know if you will be able to cancel your listing or buying agreement without penalties or obligations in the event you are unhappy with the service your agent is providing. If the agent will not agree to release you upon request from the agreement prior to its expiration, then you should hire another agent.

What else do I need to know?

You want to find an agent who will make you feel comfortable and secure with their knowledge and experience. They should be willing to listen, answer questions, and counsel you. And they should have a thorough understanding of what you want. There should be open conversation between you and the agent in order to facilitate a smooth transaction.

Choose the most qualified person for the job with whom you think you’ll work well. The ideal agent is the one who will be your teammate throughout the entire process, quickly and honestly answering your questions, addressing your concerns, and listening.

Of course we would be pleased to meet with you to discuss your real estate plans for 2019. Contact us for a candid and confidential consultation.

The Allison Ziefert Real Estate Group is a top producing real estate team based at Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct in Maplewood, NJ. We are local market experts, specializing in real estate and homes in Maplewood, South Orange, Millburn/Short Hills and West Orange, NJ and the surrounding towns. We are driven by earning great testimonials and referral business from happy clients. You can read our testimonials at

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