Tuesday, September 15, 2020 / by Jeff Lovato
If you’re considering buying a home, hiring the right Realtor makes a difference. Be sure to perform your due diligence and vet the Realtor who you’re considering hiring. Start by asking friends and family for referrals in your target area. Once you have a couple of names, call the agents and set up a time to go over some basic but essential questions. Here is a list of 10 essential questions to ask.
- How long have you been selling Real Estate? This question is critical because it can lead to so much more than merely a number of years. While it is true that experience doesn’t necessarily equal success, real estate is a commission-based business, and it would be challenging for an agent to survive for a long time providing awful service. An agent who has seen many different situations is less likely to be rattled should any bumps be encountered down the road.
- Are you a full-time real estate Agent? This goes along with how long someone has been in the field, are they a full-time agent? Real estate is a dynamic business, and you will want your agent to know about any contractual changes or MLS requirements. Hiring a part-time agent is not going to cut it. If a home is listed for sale and not on a lock-box, they need to show it. Or, if a Realtor has another job, they might not be available to answer the phone if a potential buyer contacts the listing agent about the property.
- What type of communication should I expect from you? At this point, you should already notice if you and the agent understand how each other communicates. Equally important, this should be where you both set expectations for how often you should be updated, the best methods to use, and who needs to be kept in the loop. These should be determined by what makes you, as the client, feel most comfortable.
- Do you focus on a specific area? You will likely encounter agents who are neighborhood experts and others who will travel halfway across the country to make a sale. It’s best to find someone in the middle. The internet now allows agents to understand a larger territory better, but doesn’t mean they can cover an entire state while maintaining an intimate knowledge of local markets. And when working with that neighborhood expert, they may try too hard to fit you into a shoe that doesn’t fit. Find someone who works both in and around your main area of interest.
- Do you have access to off-market properties?
Some brokerages keep a list of properties coming to market, which can give you an advantage if there is a property you like. Other agents cold-call on a regular basis and have a list of homeowners that would be willing to sell for the right price.
- What is your average number of clients? Or if you want to be blunt: Do you, and will you, have enough time for me? No one wants to feel as if they’re thrown to the wayside while their agent works with dozens of other clients. If your agent is working with a high volume of clients, find out how they plan to remedy the situation, should you need additional support. Does he or she have other team members who can help? Does he or she have a licensed assistant who can offer advice?
- What are several ways you find properties for your buyers?
Some agents will circle-prospect or call a neighborhood the buyer is interested in to find a seller, the agent can also mail owners of specific style properties you are interested in. Agents with a wide network of investors and builders may have insights to what will be coming to the market. more seamless should one agent be able to oversee the entire process.
- How do you negotiate in multiple offer scenarios?
There are many different ways to negotiate a multiple offer scenario, such as: call the agent (get a feel for where they are at), use escalator clauses, reduce or eliminate inspection periods, increase earnest money deposits, go over asking price, just make sure your agent has multiple answers to this question and doesn't have a blank stare on their face.
- Are you part of a team? Working with a team can have many benefits. Within a team, its members will have a more comprehensive level of experience, and you will often find one has more intimate knowledge of specific situations than another.
- Do you have testimonials that you can share? While an agent should accurately judge the customer service provided, no one can better say than his past clients.
When buying a house, remember this may be the single largest transaction that you have, so hiring a professional realtor who can guide you through the home buying process will yield you the highest amount of money in the shortest period. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, not only yourself, and make sure you are hiring the agent you feel will do the best job.