Real estate agents field tons of questions because people hire them for their expertise. Sellers want knowledgeable brokers to market and sell their property, and buyers want confident agents negotiating the best deal. For client interviews, be prepared with persuasive answers to common questions, which will boost your confidence and impress buyers and sellers.
Go in ready to answer these questions:
1. How much can I get for my house?
Researching and advising on the listing price is one of the main reasons home sellers hire agents. Come to the listing presentation with information on homes in the area, the local real estate market, and recent sales prices of similar properties. Also, be prepared to offer suggestions for price-boosting improvements.
2. How will you market my property?
Explain the typical channels you use to advertise listings, play up internet marketing, and mention a few unique techniques you’ve used. Layout the process and tools involved such as the MLS, open houses, social media, and virtual tours.
3. Why should I hire you over other agents?
This is the core of your marketing campaign, so you should have the answer ready to go. Remember to brag about:
- Local knowledge and experience
- Years in business
- Specialties and types of transactions
- Number of transactions closed
- List-to-price ratio
- Days on the market
- Great deals you negotiated
- Industry awards
4. How much will it cost to sell my house?
Sellers will want to know the costs of selling their house. A rule of thumb is 8 to 9% of the selling price. Selling costs associated with the transaction may include title fees, escrow fees, state excise tax, county recording fee, and pro-rated property taxes. The seller may also need to invest in improvements and repairs to get the house in shape to sell.
5. What do I have to disclose about the house?
Many states require home sellers to disclose known information about the condition of the property and appliances and any defects. Some states require the completion and delivery of a property condition disclosure statement. Review state disclosure laws and impress upon the seller the consequences of being less than forthcoming.
6. What’s your fee?
When people shop for goods and services, they always want to know how much it’ll cost them. For anti-trust reasons, the best answer to this question is “it’s negotiable.” But your brokerage firm may have a commission usually charged to sellers and buyers, which is a percentage of the sales price. Be willing to budge a little on the fee if that’s what it takes to get the client.
7. How much house can I afford?
This will probably be one of the first questions buyers will have once they’ve decided they’re ready to buy a house. Agents often recommend getting pre-approved for a loan. The price range a buyer can afford will narrow the home search and eliminate unrealistic properties. This step also helps buyers stay realistic about how much house they can get, and it will make sellers take them seriously.
8. What’s a fair offer for this house?
Buyers rely on your knowledge and expertise in the local market when deciding on a good offer. Like with sellers, you’d look at recent comparable sales in area and consider how long houses sat on the market. You should walk into a buyer interview with a price range of similar houses in the neighborhood. Also, the reason the seller is selling and the days the house has been on the market can affect the selection of a fair offer.
9. Do I really need a home inspection?
This is an area buyers may try to save some money, especially if the state requires a seller’s disclosure form. But spending money on a home inspection beforehand can save more money later and avoid major condition problems. Remind buyers that the seller may not know everything about the property and that having the major systems checked out will reduce stress. Also, point out that they can negotiate with the seller to have certain repairs conducted before closing.
10. Can I back out of a transaction if I change my mind?
Remind buyers that they could lose their earnest money if they back out. This is a good time to educate them about contingencies:
- Inspection contingencies allow them to back out with their earnest money in the case of an unsatisfactory home inspection.
- Appraisal contingencies let them withdraw if the appraised value is significantly less than the selling price.
- Financing contingencies allow buyers to pull out if they fail to secure the financing they need.
If you have a few years of experience, you probably already have the answers to these questions memorized. Don’t just recite prepared answers; convey confidence in what you’re saying. Like the old saying goes: Show, don’t tell. Show that you’re well versed in real estate, knowledgeable about the local market, and comfortable using all the available tools, technologies, and negotiating strategies.