Finding a great real estate agent isn’t as easy as doing a Google search for local realtors and picking the top result. Buying or selling a home is a huge life event and it should be handled by someone who is capable of providing you the best experience possible. You need to interview between three and six real estate agents before you commit to signing a contract to work with one. Not sure what to ask? We have you covered! We’ve created a list of ten questions you should be asking every real estate agent to determine if they are the best agent for you.
(To make this post more manageable to read, we have the first 5 questions today and we’ll finish the next 5 tomorrow.)
1. What experience do you have?
This question isn’t just about the number of years they’ve been in real estate or the number of homes they’ve sold, although that is important information. It’s also about the type of work they’ve done. If you have a multi-million dollar estate to sell, you wouldn’t want to hire an agent that has only sold condominiums. If you are looking to buy investment property to rent, you need a real estate agent who personally owns investment property to give you the best insight and advice. Does the agent have experience selling your type of property? Do they have the knowledge of the area and market to be able to help you find exactly what you need?
2. Do you work as part of a team or are you solo?
There are benefits and drawbacks to both and one isn’t necessarily better or worse than the other. If you hire an agent who works as part of a team it may mean that you’ll get more attention and personalized service but it may also mean that you don’t always speak to the same person if you call to ask a question. If your agent works alone, you should ask about his or her workload to make sure that you’ll be able to get the attention you need. Ask how they work so you understand what to expect.
3. How many current clients do you have?
The number of clients isn’t exactly indicative of an agent’s experience or competency. This question is more about determining the agent’s availability. Some agents can handle a very high number of listings and active buyers but you probably won’t get a very personalized experience. An agent that has very few clients may be inexperienced but if you’ve already determined they are experienced from question #1 then it could be a conscious choice to take on less work to provide a more hands on experience, or it could be due to poor customer experience in the past and bad word of mouth (the reason for question #10). Decide how much attention you need and then ask the agent if he or she will be able to meet your needs.
4. Do you work full-time?
You want a real estate agent who is invested in their career full-time. If selling real estate is their side job, will they really be able to offer you the attention and expertise that you need? A full-time agent is prepared and ready to handle issues as they come up. They are also able to put more effort into selling your home or finding a home for you to buy. You aren’t a part-time client so don’t settle for a part-time real estate agent.
5. How do your fees work?
A real estate agent’s fee is typically a percentage of the final sale price of the home. It doesn’t hurt to ask if the fee is negotiable and it may be if you use the same agent to sell your house and buy a new one. If the agent is willing to negotiate their fee then ask if it would sacrifice the quality of service they provide. Also, be sure to ask about a cancellation policy. If something comes up and you aren’t able to continue or if you simply become unhappy with the agent, will there be early cancellation fees to get out of the contract? What if you find your dream home on your own? Will they still be entitled to their full fee? These are important questions to ask up front so you aren’t surprised later.
Thanks for reading the blog today. We’ll continue tomorrow with the next five questions you should ask so keep an eye out for the next post on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Feel free to leave a comment and, if you really liked it, share this post by clicking the social links at the top of the page.