Sometimes, the key to success in selling real estate is being able to ask the right questions. Last week, we published a list of 10 Questions Real Estate Agents Should Ask Buyers, so today we’re following up with a list that agents should ask prospective property sellers. Although the questions may seem similar, there are a few that differentiate the buyers from the sellers, and should be asked and analysed accordingly in order for real estate agents to provide the best service and satisfaction to their clients.

#1 – Why do you want to sell?
This is the all-important question you have to ask straight off the bat. It will set the foundation and direction for the rest of your conversation with the prospective client, in addition to helping you gain valuable insight into their position, and help you tailor your services to their situation.

#2 – How much do you expect to sell your property for?
This is the opposite side of the coin from what you would ask a buyer, but undoubtedly the second most important question to ask. From their answer, you can gauge whether the client has a good grasp of the property market, and what are their expectations from the transaction and relationship.

#3 – Have you finished paying off the loan, still under mortgage, or involved in legal issues (regarding the property)?
This involves a fair bit of financial and legal know-how from you (the real estate agent), so be sure to have this clarified before you proceed further. If the property to be sold is already in the clear, that will make your job much easier and smoother, otherwise, if they still have outstanding mortgages in place, it is best to inquire whether they will require legal or financial consultation.

#4 – When do you need to sell?
This will give you an idea of the timeline you need to set for this particular client or piece of property, as well as gauge their expectations and readiness to vacate the building (if they are selling their current home) or eagerness to get rid of the property (if it is for investment purposes).

#5 – Do you already have another place to move to?
For clients who are planning to sell off their current house, the answer to this question is important for you to know. More often than not, families who are planning to move to a new location or upgrade to a bigger home need to sell off their current house in order to finance the purchase of a new ones. The property market can be unpredictable at times, and you client may find his or her home snapped up faster than their new home can be ready, which will leave them in limbo with nowhere to go if that happens.

#6 – What if the property doesn’t sell, or the value is lower than your asking price?
On the not-so-optimistic side, you will have to ask your client about their opinions and plans in the event that the property is not able to sell, or the price offered is lower than the property’s asking price. In this case, you have to prepare a backup plan, and also allow them to realize that the property market can be harsh at times.

#7 – Tell me about the property. (The more detailed, the better.)
It is essential that you know every aspect and detail of the property to be sold, as buyers will want to know about it before they decide to purchase. Ask the about the property’s specifications, key points of interest, advantages, disadvantages, history, nearby amenities, and anything else you can think of so that you have a clear impression.

#8 – Are you prepared to spend money to repair the house (make it presentable) or do you want to sell it as-is?
For old or lived-in houses, its current condition may not seem appealing or look presentable to buyers. If that is the case, you must ask the seller if they are prepared to invest to do repairs or renovations in order to make it more presentable for sale, or sell it as-is (and lower their selling expectations). This may be a difficult topic to discuss for some, so a little tact is called for during the conversation.

#9 – How did you hear about me? OR Who referred you to me?
This question is important as it will provide (positive) feedback from past acquaintances and clients. Referrals are often done through testimonials and word of mouth, so it is important to know where your leads are coming from, which can help you know your strengths and improve on your weaknesses.

#10 – What is your main reason for hiring a real estate agent?
Is it because your client has no experience in selling property, wants to be spared the hassle of personally handling the transaction, or simply looking for a faster, more effective method to sell their property? You can set your personal goals and provide the necessary services once you know what are their reasons for hiring a real estate agent to help them sell their property.

Bonus question
#11 – Have you worked (or currently working) with other agents?
Apart from gauging their experience with other property agents, it also tells you one thing: if they are currently working with another real estate agent, you might want to avoid jumping into the boat altogether, in order to avoid conflict or violating any laws.

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