Now more than ever before when it comes time to list your property for sale, selecting the best agent and right company for the job requires careful consideration and knowing what questions to ask.
Not long ago, as recently as the end of 2019, finding a real estate agent usually meant asking a friend for a referral and then maybe Googling that agent for more information. Maybe then you would look at a few other agent profiles online and make a few phone calls to see which agents you felt like you had a good rapport with. While that still is a good place to start there are many more things to consider in this new virtual home selling world. Have the agents on your short list made the switch to the virtual listing and selling world? Have they been trained to use the latest technology? Here are some more specific questions to ask:
- Has the agent embraced the new virtual listing technologies and learned how to use them effectively? Meeting with sellers and buyers in person does not happen as often these days and having an agent who knows how to use apps like Zoom, FaceTime and Google Meet is absolutely an essential requirement for any agent who will be listing you property. If you are out of town or if you are not comfortable having multiple listing agents in your home for interviews, consider asking agents to do a virtual listing appointment. See how they handle the technology while building rapport with your listing agent. Many buyers may not live in the area where the listed property is located or maybe they just aren’t comfortable with in-person showings. Will your agent be able to effectively show your property to buyers using live virtual technology? What about e-Signatures? Can your agent negotiate a contract and expedite signatures from all parties electronically?
- Hiring the Company may also be just as important as the agent. Does the listing agent’s brokerage provide virtual listing tools to its agents and training on how to best utilize the technology? Many companies talk about having the latest technology, but not all companies offer their technology to all their agents and train them on how to use it. When interviewing an agent to list your home ask if their company has regular training available on the latest technologies. Are the broker and support staff available to help the agent with technology if necessary? Technology is important, but training and support are critical to making sure the tools are effectively utilized. Your agent should be happy and excited to provide you with details on their broker’s training and support, as well as how their company can list, market and sell your property with current examples of their virtual marketing programs.
- What does the new listing marketing package look like? Photos have always been a key factor in any listing marketing package, but today’s marketing has to go to another level. No more amateur photos…professional, high resolution photos are a must to show off all of your properties best features and to stand out when being viewed on a desktop or on a mobile device. When interviewing agents, ask them to show you some of their company listings and look carefully at the photos. Are the images of professional quality and available for buyers to view in high resolution? What other media types will they be providing? Is video part of their marketing package? If appropriate, will they be capturing aerial photos with a drone? Showing off a fabulous beach or golf course location from above is important for many properties. What about 3D Virtual “Walk Through” tours? This technology offered by companies like Matterport has come a long way in recent years and allows buyers to virtually walk themselves through the property on their schedule and spending time on the features that interest them. Alternatively, will your agent record themselves doing an actual property tour from the agent point of view and offer the recording on-demand for buyers to see? Offering a complete array of the latest photo and video options will attract more buyers and help you to sell your home faster, and for the best price.
- Will your agent provide quality “unbranded” materials to other brokers? One of the most powerful tools a listing agent has is cooperating with the brokerage community. Frequently listings are sold by another “cooperating brokerage” who will share in the commission. In order for other agents to cooperate, they need an easy way to share your materials with their customers, and most agents prefer that those materials not include the listing broker’s branding. If the agent is going to provide the quality marketing materials described above, will they also provide these materials unbranded for other agents to share?
Today’s listing agent should be trained to master a new set of property listing skills and marketing programs including:
- Communicating virtually with customers to review contracts and discuss negotiations
- Offering a digital signing service to allow critical business to get done from almost anywhere, even on a mobile device
- Having the technology and experience to put together a marketing plan that includes the latest technology utilizing professional quality photos and video.
- Sharing unbranded materials with other agents who may have buyers for your property
And remember, when you are hiring a listing agent you are also hiring the brokerage. Choose a company who offers training and has experience with the latest technology as well as knowledge of the local area. When you find that person who you have a good rapport with and can offer you the experience and skill set of working in today’s real estate market then you have found your agent!
Also Read: We Have The Technology