top tips for interviewing a real estate agent who specializes in probate
The following set of tried-and-true questions will help you grill your potential probate real estate agent.
Why should I hire you as my probate realtor?
Start off with this ice breaker. It might make for a light moment at the beginning of the interview, but naturally, you want a probate agent who is a great communicator, someone who can negotiate without a hitch. After all, communication is paramount in every step of the process, from court appearance and marketing to qualifying buyers and closing deals.
Have you sold real estate trust or probate property?
Next up, is to know if the realtor has indeed sold properties through trust or probate. Of course, one would expect the answer to be a resounding “yes,” but you need to dig in deeper. Have you appeared in court on behalf of an estate before? Do you deal exclusively in trust and probate sales, and if not, how much of your business is dedicated to it?
Explain to me how a probate sale differs from a traditional real estate transaction?
Right from the outset, trust and probate real estate call for special listing contracts and disclosures as well as a unique marketing technique. Besides, you need to pay attention to certain probate law because some trust real estate may need court confirmation. That’s why it’s crucial that your potential candidate be conversant with probate court protocols and have an excellent working relation with probate officials like administrators, court personnel, probate paralegals, and probate lawyers.
How long have you been in probate business?
When it comes to real estate in general, experience is king. Of course, you have just gone through a stressful situation, and probably want to make a quick and hassle-free sale. That’s why you need a probate realtor who knows the ins and outs of the business like the back of her hand. Your choice of agent should be familiar with a myriad of disclosures and court confirmations associated with a probate sale. And that isn’t all; she or he should have top-notch negotiating and marketing skills in order to lure in potential customers and move your estate off the market fast and for top dollar.
May I take a look at your testimonials or references?
Just like a contractor, doctor or attorney, a probate real estate agent should have an extensive list of references and should be willing to avail it upon request. Don’t limit your references to just clients; ask for contacts of court administrators, personnel, probate attorneys, and probate paralegals that can vouch for the agent. Don’t hesitate to call or email some of the references to ascertain their existence and ask pertinent questions.
What strategies do you use to market your probate and trust properties?
Again, probate estate sales are different from traditional sales. An ideal agent, therefore, should be armed with sure-fire marketing tactics to help you close the deal faster and at a fair price. The agent should be able to provide you with a sample of strategies he or she has used to market similar trust or probate real estate. Don’t forget to inquire how the said marketing tactics will work for your case.
What makes you different from other probate and trust real estate agents in the area?
Don’t get me wrong; there are many capable probate realtors out there – but you want the very best to handle your case. The last thing you want is an agent who will complicate an already stressful situation. Look for a confident agent who can describe her or his expertise, services, and unique skills. An agent who cannot tell you why he or she stands out in a sea competition is a big no-no. Look for someone with impressive negotiation skills and confidence to handle the task ahead.
May I have samples of disclosure forms or documents that I would have to fill out?
Here’s the thing: agents worth their salts should be privy to updated disclosure forms and agreement documentation for probate real estate transactions. Of course, they should be able to avail you with current copies and walk you through the whole process in layman terms. The explanation should be clear and exhaustive. After all, the agent will be summoned several times along the way to enlighten the attorneys, trustees, accountants, court admins, clients, and executors about the paperwork and process.
Congratulations! With the handy questions, you can zero in on a probate realtor who can make the whole process effortlessly easy.