Fifteen Questions to Ask
a Listing Broker

Fifteen Questions to ask a Listing Broker

Selling your home is a big deal! While it may be tempting to go with the first recommendation you get, when it comes to choosing a real estate professional, it pays to do your research. Your listing broker will be responsible for setting the sale price appropriately, marketing your home in various ways, speaking with potential buyers and ultimately, coordinating the sales process on your behalf. To make an informed choice, ask family, friends, and neighbors for personal recommendations, but also take the time to interview several of the best candidates before making a decision. Here are 15 questions you should ask potential real estate brokers.

 

  1. What is your experience and education? Though a new real estate broker can certainly be motivated and eager to please, a pro with years of experience will have the knowledge and skill to face unexpected challenges. Taking continuing education courses also shows a commitment to keeping up with changes.

  2. Is this your full-time job? Having another job shouldn’t necessarily cut a potential real estate broker out of the running, but you need to be aware if this is a part-time gig before committing. Someone who also works somewhere else may be harder to reach and could miss out on opportunities to show your house.

  3. Are you a member of the National Association of Realtors? Membership in this professional organization is what allows a real estate broker to use the title Realtor. Being a Realtor means that the person has agreed to follow the organization’s ethical guidelines and to keep up with continuing education.

  4. What’s the price range of most of the homes you have sold? You probably already have a ballpark figure in mind for your home’s price. Does the broker typically represent homes in that price range? If most of the homes the broker sells are in a far higher — or lower — price range, he or she may not be as familiar with how to market your home.

  5. How many homes did you sell last year? This will give you an idea of the volume of work a real estate broker is used to taking on. This number alone is not enough to base a decision on, but keep in mind that a very high number may mean the broker is not able to give each client as much personal attention, whereas a very low number could be a clue that homes are languishing on the market.

  6. Which neighborhoods do you primarily work in? If the broker typically works in areas far from your home, it may mean that he or she is not as familiar with the market in your area. If you live in an area where well and septic are a concern, it pays to have someone with that specific experience.

  7. How many homes have you sold in my neighborhood? Good word of mouth tends to spread within neighborhoods, so if your real estate broker has had a lot of home sales in your area, that’s probably a good sign. Familiarity with your neighborhood can only help your broker sell your home.

  8. On average, how close to the asking price is the final sale price on homes you have sold? This figure will give you a good picture of whether the broker tends to price homes well. If most of the homes the broker has represented have sold for far less than the asking price, that’s a sign they were priced too high. Realistic pricing results in home sales that are close to or at the asking price.

  9. How will you market my home? There is a lot more to marketing a house than putting up a for-sale sign on the lawn. In addition to MLS, how will the broker market and promote the home? A good marketing plan can be what makes the difference between a speedy sale and a home that languishes on the market.

  10. What are the negatives of my home? You are not looking for a rainbows and unicorns response here. A broker that is a good fit should be able to name several potential drawbacks to selling your home, from repairs to location and beyond. That said, you’ll be spending a good deal of time with your listing agent, so seek out someone with a realistic but tactful approach.

  11. Do you work on your own or as part of a team? If the broker you are interviewing heads up a large office, it may be that he or she will not be the one doing business with you the entire time. If that’s the case, you should know up front exactly how the broker will be involved, and you should be able to meet any other brokers who will be working with you.

  12. How many clients are you currently representing? There is no magic number to look for here; just use your common sense. If the number is very high or very low consider that a red flag; you are looking for someone with a thriving business who still has time to devote to your home sale.

  13. What type of support staff or resources do you have? This could include anything from home-search technology, to dedated marketing staff, from transaction management software, to immediate access to peer knowledge, or even an in-house real estate attorney. 

  14. How will you keep me informed about progress? Find out how frequently you can expect your broker to check in with you, and when he or she is available for you to call with questions or for updates.

  15. Can I see your references? Ideally, ask for the names and phone numbers of three of the most recent clients. You want to know whether people are happy with the real estate broker’s work now, not five or 10 years ago. When you talk to former clients, ask how easy it was to reach the broker when they had questions, and whether they felt well supported and advised throughout the process.

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