You have invested a lot of money into your condo to make it very unique and chances are that no other condo can be compared to yours. A unique residence requires unique marketing, but with over 10,000 local real estate agents to choose from, how will you know which one is the most qualified to meet your needs? To assist you in the interview process, we have developed a list of the "10 questions that you must ask before hiring an agent to help sell your condo."
1. "Can you send me a list of your Luxury Sales History?"
This is probably the most important question you can ask. Most agents will say that they don't keep a list and that they have sold "many luxury residences". The truth is that most of them have sold 1 or less. It is critical that you hire an agent who has a strong sales history in the luxury market so that you know they are competent and capable of selling your residence.
2. "Will you Build a Seperate Website just for my Condo?"
You residence is very unique and it shouldn't just be thrown into a website with all the other residences for sale which are clearly not comparable to yours. Unless you have a website exclusively dedicated to your condo, how else will your agent be able to showcase it to the few unique group of buyers around the world that may be interested in your residence?
3. "How Will you Reach International Buyers and Brokers?"
Being successful in the luxury market requires agents to invest time into networking with other luxury agents around the world and promoting your property internationally. Since 37% of luxury home buyers are foreigners and choose their agent by referral then that means there is high probability that the buyer will be referred to your agent or find your home on international sites. At minimum, your agent should advertise your Condo in the Wall Street Journal and www.WorldProperties.com to reach buyers, and place your Condo in the international MLS system (www.ProxioPro.com) and be part of worldwide referral networks to reach the brokers. Roman does this and much more.
4. “Do You have any Luxury Designations or Certifications?
A lot of agents will just say that those fancy initials after the competing agent’s name mean nothing and that it has no bearing on their ability to sell your condo. Don’t be fooled because nothing is further from the truth. By investing in their education about luxury home marketing, an agent will stay informed on a continuous basis about global financial markets, new technologies, exchange rates, corporate relocations, sports trades, and many more valuable economic factors that determine where buyers come from and where the advertising needs to be placed.
5. “Do you have live specialists to answer the phone 7 days per week for showings?”
The luxury buyer is typically very busy & schedules change and showings on short notice are often required. If the agent you choose is just a one person operation, then what happens if you need something or a buyer wants to see your place immediately but your agent is too busy on an appointment? A phone called not answered means someone else’s condo shown & sold. A good agent will invest into having live specialists available to answer each call 7 days per week in order to make sure that your condo is shown 100% of the time, and have a team of professionals available to show it. You should be able to go online anytime & see the showings & feedback from the other agents showing it.
6. “Do you have a 24 hour hotline so that buyers from all over the world can get information?”
37% of buyers in Miami are foreigners, which means a large number are calling from different time zones. By having a 24 hour toll free hotline, your agent will dramatically increase the number of inquiries received on your Condo. Since prospects don’t have to actually speak with the agent directly, they can call 24 hours a day and listen to the recorded message and get the most up to date information and pricing. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes: if it is 10am your time and you are looking at condo in a time zone that is 6 hours earlier, are you going to call the agent directly? Or would you rather call the 24 hour toll free hotline and listen to all the information without being pressured?
7. "What kind of Performance Guarantee do you have? Can I fire you if you don’t perform?"
72% of Home sellers surveyed said they would not choose the same agent again to sell their home.
The number one reason was “as soon as my property was listed for sale, I never heard from my agent again. Don’t become a statistic by letting this happen to you. Make sure that your agent has a performance guarantee and if they don’t do what they said they will do, then you must have a way of firing them without being penalized.”
8. "What kind of customized marketing will you do?"
Finding a buyer that will appreciate your unique residence is not easy. Your agent should have both a good general marketing plan that will capture general buyers, but they also should have something unique that will attract a buyer with the same needs, wants and desires that attracted you to your residence also. For example, if your Condo was professionally designed by a renowned architect, then your agent should promote your residence at special events that the architect is involved in. There are dozens of unique ways to promote your condo and your agent should be an expert identifying them.
9. "How Will Your Company’s Luxury Department Benefit Me?"
Small boutique firms attempt to offer “personal service”, but the truth is that they rarely are able to reach across geographical lines to attract a worldwide audience. By choosing a well known brand with a luxury department, you will maximize your chances that a luxury buyer will be found faster. Find out exactly what the Luxury Department offers as far as additional marketing benefits, and make sure that the agent is actually a member of the Luxury Department.
10. "How often will you keep me updated and can you send an actual example of how the update will look from some of your existing Condos that you are marketing?"
This is where a lot of agents stumble and promise the world but deliver very little. Make sure you get a preview of the agents most recent weekly or monthly marketing updates that they are sending to their existing sellers. This way you will know exactly what to expect and you will know that the agent is actually doing what they are promising.
Actually, you should not have to ask the agent any of these questions. All the information above should appear on their website so that it is easy for your to review and you can decide if they are qualified or not. Finally, don't forget to "google" the agent, especially if privacy and discretion are major concerns.