When the time comes to sell your home, a real estate agent can help you navigate the complexities of the process. How do you find an agent willing to work for you? Ask friends and family for recommendations and be sure to interview more than one person. Before signing on the dotted line, here are a few important real estate agent questions to ask.

What is Your Commission Percentage?

Real estate agents earn a commission for assisting you with the sale of your home. Commission is the percentage of the selling price an agent receives when the sale closes, or goes to settlement. Both the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent charge a commission. Sellers need to allocate a portion of their sales proceeds toward paying the real estate agent, so remember to include this amount in your bottom-line calculation.

What is Your Marketing Strategy?

Although real estate agents easily juggle multiple listings at once, they still must make you feel comfortable that your house will be given the marketing time and attention it deserves. If you are selling your home, ask the potential real estate agent questions about how he/she plans to market your house. If you would like your home advertised in newspapers or local magazines, inquire about the costs of doing so and who will be covering the expense. Also, ask about Internet advertisements, and which websites will feature your property. Open houses are another marketing strategy your real estate agent may want to try.

Are You Familiar with my Neighborhood?

The neighborhoods in and around downtown Philadelphia are a much different market than the suburbs of Bucks County. Even the city varies greatly between neighborhoods. For this reason, you should engage an agent who is familiar with your neighborhood and has listed other houses in the area. Local reputation is important in real estate, and the name recognition of your real estate agent is a positive factor. Asking for referrals is also helpful. Call former clients and discuss their experiences with a particular real estate agent.

How Did You Come Up with the Proposed Sales Price?

Sometimes homeowners prefer to list their houses for a higher amount than a real estate agent suggests. Remember, the real estate agent wants to sell your house as quickly as possible, at a fair price. If you are not in a rush to sell, and are willing to wait for a higher price, discuss this with your agent. If you are still far apart on price, let your real estate agent explain his pricing approach and rationale. Often, they are familiar with recent home-buying activity in your neighborhood and will point you toward comparable sales data. And, keep in mind, you must also be able to support your final sale price with an independent appraisal.

What is the Best Way to Reach You?

Communication is key in a seller/agent relationship. The process of selling a house can be a stressful, especially for sellers under a tight timeframe. By establishing a good working relationship with an agent, you are helping to ensure that the sale goes smoothly, and that the real estate agent earns that commission by helping you sell at a fair price.