You Need To Know The Answers To These Questions Before You Agree To Work With Any Agent


     Not all real estate agents are the same! If you decide to seek the help of an agent when selling or buying an apartment project or commercial-investment property, you need some good information before you make any move. Selecting the right agent is a most critical issue, one that can cost or save you thousands of dollars.

     There are very specific questions you should be asking to insure that you get the best representation for your needs. Many agents would prefer that you don't even ask these questions because the knowledge you will gain from their honest answers will give you a very good idea of what outcome you can expect from using this agent and, let's face it, in real estate as in life not all things are created equal.

     Hiring a real estate agent is just like any hiring process with you on the boss's side of the desk. It is critical that you make the right decision about who will handle what is probably the single-larget financial investment you will ever make. Whether you decide to sell or buy an apartment project or commercial-investment property on your own or hire a professional to handle it for you, there are certain key fact that can literally cost or save you thousands of dollars.

     1) "What is your company's sales record?"
It may seem like everywhere you look many commercial real estate agents are boasting about being Number One for this or that or quote you the number of properties that they have sold. If you are like many apartment/commercial property owners, you probably have become immune to much of this information. After all, what should you care how many properties one sold over another. The only thing you really care is whether they can sell your apartment project or commercial-investment property for the most amount of money.

Because you want your project sold fast and for top dollar, you should be asking the agents you interview how many properties they have sold. I'm sure you will agree that success in real estate is selling apartment projects or commercial-investment property. If one agent is selling a lot of projects where another is selling only a hand full, ask yourself why this might be. What things are these two agen ts doing differently?

The number of apartment projects or commercial-investment properties an agent sells will give you an indication of how serious they are about their real estate career. Is this a hobby for them or a serious business into which they put all their time and e xpertise into. You may be surprised to know that most agents sell fewer than 5 apartment projects or commercial-investment properties a year. This volume makes it difficult for them to do a full impact marketing on your apartment project or commercial-investment p roperty because they can't raise the money it takes to afford the advertising and special programs to give your project a high profile. Also, at this low level they probably can't afford to hire an assistant, meaning they are running around trying to do a ll the parts of their job themselves, undoubtedly short-changing a lot of their clients.

     2) "Where do you rank within your company?"
Within a company every agent will have the same resources and opportunities. How well they thrive on this level playing field will give you further indication of how successfully they will sell your apartment property.

     3) "How many full-time assistants do you have?"
"Do you have a listing coordinator?, a customer service manager?, a marketing coordinator?" Most agents work all by themselves or pair up with another single agent, making it very difficult for them to provide you with a consistent, superior level of service. The job of real estate has many, many varied parts to it. Just as you wouldn't expect a doctor or a lawyer to answer phones or type letters, your real estate agent shouldn't be spending his or her time on simple but time-consuming tasks that could be delegated.

If this agent does not have assistance to cover the areas mentioned, you should ask yourself how much time does he or she really have to spend to get your apartment project or commercial-investment property sold?

     4) "What are your marketing plans for my apartment project or commercial-investment property?"
How much money does this agent spend in advertising the apartment project or commercial-investment properties he or she lists versus the other agents you are interviewing? In what media, newspaper, newsletters, magazines, etc. does this agent advertise? W hat does he or she know about the effectiveness of one medium over the other?

     5) "What apartment project or commercial-investment property(s) have you sold in my area recently?"
Agents should bring you a complete listing of both their own and other comparable apartment project or commercial-i nvestment property sales in your area.

     6) "Does your broker control the advertising you do?"
If your agent is not in control of their own advertising, then your apartment/commercial-investment project will be competing with advertising space, not only with this agent's other listings, but also with the listings of every other agent in the brokerage.

     7) "On average, when your listings sell, how close to the asking price is the selling price?"
The information is available from the local real estate board. Is this agent's performance higher or lower than the board average? The performance on this measurement will help you predict how high a selling price you will get for your apartment project or commercial-investment property.

     8) "How many buyers are you currently working with?"
Obviously, the more buyers your agent is working with, the better the chances of selling your apartment project or commercial-investment property quickly. It will also impact the price, because an agent with many qualified buyers can set up an "auction-li ke" atmosphere where many buyers bid on your apartment project or commercial-investment property or commercial-investment property at the same time.

Ask to see a list and ask them to describe the system they have for working with these buyers.

     9) "Why should I list my apartment project or commercial-investment property or commercial-investment property with you?"
It is a much tougher real estate market than it use to be. What unique marketing plans and programs does this agent have in place to make sure your apartment project or commercial-investment property stands out favorably versus other competing projects? W hat things does this agent offer you that others don't to help you sell your apartment project or commercial-investment property with the least amount of hassle and for the most amount of money.

     10) "Do you have a reference list of clients I could contact?"
Ask to see this list and proceed to spot-check some of the names.

     11) "Do you specialize in apartment projects or commercial-investment properties?"
Make sure you ask to see if the agent does specialize in the marketing of your kind of property. It does you no good to have an agent that is having Open Houses on Sunday and trying to sell a condo on Tuesday, showing houses on Wednesday, etc., all the wh ile trying to market your apartment project or commercial-investment property. This lack of knowledge and commitment to your apartment project or commercial-investment property will cost you time and money in the sale of your property.

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Copyright 2006 Darin Garman, CCIM, All Rights Reserved.
Apartment and Commercial Investment Property Specialist