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.
(This is a continuation from Part 1 posted yesterday. You can find that post by clicking here.)
6. How will you keep me informed on what is happening?
If you are a seller, you need to know how often your agent will be in touch, what kind of news you’ll be contacted about and if you’ll be told about all interested buyers or just the serious ones.
If you are a buyer, you need to know how often will you be contacted with possible homes to view. Once you make an offer on a home, will you be contacted for every update or just a weekly summary?
Also, regardless if you are a buyer or seller, ask how and you’ll be contacted. By phone, email, or text message? What are the agent’s business hours? Can you contact him or her outside of business hours? How quickly can you expect a reply to a message you leave? (Hint: 24 hours should be the absolute maximum.)
7. How will you market my home? (Sellers)
Any agent can put a sign up in your yard and list your property in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) but a great agent will go the extra step. Your home should be photographed by a professional real estate photographer and then listed for sale not only in local print but online on social networks and the agent’s website. We actually create a website and QR code for each of our listings, put a photo of the home interior on the yard sign, and can even make a walk-through video. You want an agent that is tech savvy and has an online presence. Also ask if the agent plans on doing open houses and, if so, how many and when.
8. Can you give me a Comparative Market Analysis for my area? (Sellers)
Every real estate agent should be able to give you a comparative market analysis (CMA or “comps”) which will give you an idea of the other homes available for sale in your area. It will have information such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, price, how many days on the market and other important information. It’s good to be able to have an informed view so you’ll know how your home compares to others, how much you may be able to list it for and how long it may take to sell but an experienced agent will be able to delve into that information more deeply and determine market trends.
9. What is the trend for this area?
A seasoned real estate agent who is actively buying and selling recognizes trends and can advise you if an area is in a decline or a growth period. It’s not all about the numbers either. A real estate agent should be intimately familiar with the neighbourhoods and will be able to recognize changes such as new businesses opening or businesses closing, involvement level of residents, crime activity, and general neighbourhood maintenance. Your agent should be able to tell you if an area is “up and coming” or if it’s ailing.
10. Do you have references I can contact?
Any agent is likely to emphasize all of their good points such as number of sales and awards but they won’t be able to tell you impartially what it’s like to work with them. This is why they should be readily able to provide you with references of previous clients. Be sure to ask the references about whether the agent was easy to contact, if they were kept well informed, if they were pleased with the work and service, and if they would use the same agent again.
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