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5 questions to ask your listing agent

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When it comes to selling your house, there's no shortage of to-dos. From de-cluttering to staging, selling a home can be stressful. That's why it's so important to build a support system full of professionals who are ready to help you navigate the process. One of those people is your realtor.

Finding the right realtor to market and sell your house is arguably one of the most important steps in the home-selling process. You want to partner with someone who knows the market, understands your needs and works well with your personality. Treat your first meeting with any listing agent like an interview and ask these 5 essential questions before making your decision.

1. How well do you know my location?

Does the agent know other properties that are for sale near you? Is the agent familiar with the city/neighborhood you're selling in? How well does he or she understand the selling activity in your community and the average time on the market?

2. What is your availability?

Does the realtor have time to take on the task of selling your home? Does he or she work part-time or full-time? Getting your real estate license is one thing, but it's a different job entirely if you're a full-time agent. You want to work with someone who has time to field calls, prepare for showings, hold open houses and answer your questions (because you may have many) as they arise. How quickly can the realtor respond to requests for showings?

3. How do you determine listing price?

Asking this question will give you a good idea of the realtor's local market knowledge. Your listing price should be in range with other comparable homes in the area. A good realtor should always consider location, house condition, market trends and your desired asking price when setting the listing price. There is strategy involved in determining your selling price in relation to other homes on the market nearby. You want your home to stand out both visually and by price point, while also maximizing your opportunity. This is a balancing act that an experienced realtor is accustom to.

4. What is your process?

How is the realtor going to promote the sale of your home? Taking professional photos of your home, using smart social media tactics, staging and hosting open houses are all key components that can make the sale happen more quickly. Be sure the agent you choose is in-touch with these methods and ready to get creative when it comes to marketing your home. Don't be afraid to ask more detailed questions about the resources that your agent has immediate access to. What support can the agent glean from his or her brokerage company? How credible is that company? Here's your chance to make sure your listing is in the right hands.

5. Can you tell me about your recent home sales?

You need to ask a question that will shed light on the credibility and skill level of the realtor. How many homes did he or she sell last year? How long did those homes sit on the market for, on average? How satisfied are the agent's clients? If you're looking to sell your home quickly and for your asking price, you need to make sure you're working with someone who's qualified.