Questions Sellers Should Ask Before Hiring An Agent

Once you decide to sell your home and hire a professional agent to market it for you, most sellers will interview a few agents before signing on the dotted line. That’s a good idea, but honestly, most sellers don’t have a clue on who is the RIGHT choice. Many sellers pick and agent based on a “connection” or similar personalities.

Unfortunately, just good personality matches are rarely enough these days. You need an agent who is more effective in getting results than someone you “have a good feeling about”. Remember, you are not hiring a friend; you are hiring someone to do a job.

Now, I also believe that the average agent’s listing presentation is very similar to every other agent’s presentation. And as a result, the seller really has little to judge by and they reduce their decision down to the two questions they want answered.


  1. Which agent will sell my house for the most money? (That leads to overpriced listing inventory that sits unsold because today’s buyer is looking for a “deal” and NOT overpaying.)
  2. Which agent will charge me the least to do it? (That results in getting an agent less likely to invest in improving their performance through education or technology or an agent with a limited budget to spend on the marketing of your home.)

Of course, I understand the logic to those questions (make more, spend less), but focusing on those questions alone is shortsighted and eventually costly. Here are four questions that most sellers don’t think of- questions that actually WILL give you a better indication of the relative strength of your agent.

  1. “What percentage of your listings EXPIRE?  How does your number compare to the average agent in our marketplace?”

    Expired listings are listings that didn’t sell during the time agreed to between the seller and the agent. If one agent has 95% of their listings sell without expiring and another has 25%, wouldn’t you want to know that? ASK!

  2. “What is your Average Days On Market?”

    If the average for homes selling in your market is listed “For Sale” for 180 days, and one agent is selling their listings in 90 days, wouldn’t you want to know what they do differently to get their results? Conversely, wouldn’t you want to avoid the person who is at 270 days?

  3. “What is your Average List Price to Sales Price Ratio?”

    There are many agents who take overpriced listings with the plan to bring the price down as seller frustration goes up. They know it won’t sell at the overpriced number, but they get to have months to get it priced correctly because you have signed a listing agreement. But, you want to sell your home, not drag out a process. Agents with big gaps between List Price and Sales Price are not doing any favors for their client. Uncover their game early and save yourself the heartache. Great agents price correctly Day 1 because they know that price is the best possible marketing strategy.

  4. “What percentage of your own listings do you sell?”

    Occasionally, agents battle on this point, because they feel that the methods they use to market your home to other agents (to bring their buyers to your home) are more important. 

If I were selling my home today, in my quest to find the best agent, I would be asking different questions- questions that prove effectiveness. You may be surprised to learn that some of the most “successful agents” in terms of “units sold” have a large percentage of listings that expire or a high number of days on market or a significant gap between list price or sales price or that after they list you home they are off looking for another listing and NOT for a buyer of your home.  In a twist of the old adage, “Seller, Beware”.

How Do We Rank???

1. In the last two years, we have listed and sold 20 homes. None of them expired.  So 100% of our homes sold.  

2. Average time on the market was 65 days.  The minimum amount of days on the market was 11 days and the highest was 335 days.  The 335 was a short sale.  This was an extremely long short sale. Since then, we utilize an attorney to assist with all our short sales.  The next short sale was only on the market for 102 days.  Without that short sale that lasted 335 days, our average amount of days on the market was 50.  According to REIN, the average days on the market for 2009 was 131 and in 2010 it was 137.  

3. Our average list price to sales price ratio is 97%.  

4. We rarely sell our own listings because it is very difficult to represent both the seller and the buyer.  How can we get the seller the most $$$ and the buyer the best deal??? 


 Working side by side with my mom, Pam Toth who has 28+ years experience.  


Suzi Toth Noyes

Pam Toth, ABR, CRS, GRI

William E. Wood and Associates

Licensed in VA




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