Selecting a real estate agent to assist in the largest financial transaction a person will likely ever make is a critical part of the home selling process. In a challenging economic environment where competition among real estate companies is on the rise, choosing the agent that’s right for you can be a confusing task.

Coldwell Banker suggests home sellers start by interviewing several real estate agents to find someone with whom they “connect.” However, chemistry is not the only variable to consider. The length of time an agent has been in the business, his or her home sale success rate and knowledge of the local market can also play a significant role in the decision-making process.

To jump-start the conversation, Coldwell Banker suggests five essential questions home sellers should ask before selecting a real estate agent.

1. How long have you been in the real estate business and what has your success rate been in terms of home sales over the past 12 months? The length of time a real estate agent has been in the business and their home sale success rate demonstrates their knowledge and expertise in the industry. Ideally a home seller will want to work with an agent who has a high percentage of completed transactions within your home’s price range. While this number will vary depending upon how active the local real estate market is, a higher percentage is preferable.

2. What was the average amount of time it took to sell those listings? Comparing marketing times between the agents you are interviewing will provide you with an indication of how well that agent markets homes.

3. What was your list-price to sale-price ratio? Significant differences between original listing prices and ultimate sale prices can be an indication that the list prices quoted at the outset were unrealistic.

4. What is your online marketing plan to sell my property? According to the National Association of Realtors, 90 percent of home buyers use the Internet as a source for their home search. Therefore, the real estate agent you select should have a strong online marketing presence as well as be visible through social media outlets in order to reach the widest possible audience. Websites such as Coldwell Banker On Location, a branded YouTube™ channel, allow real estate agents to market your home to the largest demographic to get your home sold quickly.