Selecting an agent with whom to list your property can arguably be one of the biggest business decisions you ever make. With so many factors at play throughout the entire process of listing and selling a home or land, there are some questions you should always be prepared to ask before you pick an agent to entrust with your property, time and financial well-being.

Though there is likely an infinite amount of questions you could come up with for a potential realtor, we’ve thought up a few whose answers can be key in your decision making.

1. How long have you been in the real estate business?

An agent having been in the business a long time doesn’t automatically mean they’re the best, but being able to stay afloat in this type of business for years usually indicates that someone has been successful. With commission-based careers like real estate, these agents don’t make money if they aren’t willing to do the work. They are answering phones after hours, showing properties at night and on weekends, finishing contracts and making sure all documents are present regardless of what other tasks may be calling. If you see a longstanding commitment to their job and the industry in an agent, it is highly likely you’ll see the same commitment to the sale of your property should you choose to list with them.

2. Are you a full-time or part-time agent?

You might assume that if someone is in real estate then it’s their full-time job, but in many circumstances, that isn’t the case. Oftentimes, especially starting out, agents have other jobs that offer regular pay checks that will keep them afloat until they start making commissions. While there is certainly nothing wrong with this, it may create conflict regarding availability. An agent who is working at his other job will not be able to answer calls and emails, meet with clients or show properties during certain blocks of time during the week. Listing and selling a property is often a venture that is full of surprises, many of which require a meeting, a signature or a phone call that no one had planned on. When such things arise, you need an agent who is easy to get up with and who will be able to prioritize your issues on the spot.

3. Ask them about their presence on the web and social media.

These days the vast majority of home searches begin on the internet whether it be on Google, on specific home finding sites like Zillow, or on social media. If you want your property to be seen, you need to make sure the agent you choose to list it has a strong web presence. Does the agent have just a small personal page about them or are they affiliated with a company with a larger website? Are they part of the MLS? Do their listings get syndicated out to Trulia, Zillow, etc.? Do they regularly post their listings on Facebook? Not only do these media put your property on many different platforms for potential buyers to see but they make it available for people simply doing Google searches for homes in a specific area. If you’ve got a great canal front house in Atlantic Beach for sale and someone searches using those terms, your home is likely to pop up in their search results if it has been properly advertised online.

4. Do you do virtual tours of your properties?

While virtual tours are a fairly new thing in our market, they are increasingly becoming the must-have of digital advertising. A virtual tour allows someone to feel as if they’ve walked through the home, gotten a feel for the layout, the setup of the bedrooms, great room, hallways, etc. The virtual tour could convince someone they do want to see a home that they otherwise thought didn’t fit their needs. It can also help someone who is moving from out of state make the decision to schedule a time to view it in person. Though written ads are still very much a part of real estate advertising, being able to watch a video and truly experience the house, land, neighborhood and water features from the comfort of wherever they are at the time is a convenience today’s buyer not only appreciates but will notice when the option is unavailable.

5. Have you sold many homes in this area?

Listing your property with an agent who is an expert in your town, neighborhood, etc. can only be beneficial to you as the seller. Though you may have a licensed cousin who lives in Greenville, he may not be the best person to try to sell your house in Harker’s Island. When working within these smaller towns and municipalities in Eastern, NC, it is often imperative that you find an agent who knows the specific area well – he will know the rules, town codes, building codes, etc. He will also have a pretty good idea of what properties go for in that area, what buyers are willing to pay and what things have sold for in the recent past. With a geographically large county such as ours, you might not want to hire an agent in Cape Carteret to list your home in Cedar Island – not only would it be logistically very difficult for him to get down there to show it, the two markets are likely very different and unless he just happens to have done a lot of business there in the past he probably does not know the ins and outs of that particular area. The right agent will always be able to put you at ease regarding his knowledge about the property you’re selling and the area it’s in.