Buying or selling a home can be one of the biggest financial transactions of a person’s life. Its important that you have someone on your side who understands your unique buying and selling requirements.
We do our best to ensure that we match people with the best agents for them. That said, there are a number of questions you should ask your agent that we recommend.
It’s important to work with a real estate agent that you trust because the home buying and selling process can be somewhat stressful so you want to feel comfortable with your agent.
Can you text them with questions that pop up in your head at odd hours? Will they listen to your questions and concerns with the patience of a high school teacher? An agent should feel like your best friend and advisor.
For example, when selling a home, the home may only be on the market for a few weeks but that may not account for all of the time that you and your agent will spend together.
There may be several weeks spent on design or staging changes. Perhaps there are some necessary renovations you need to make before the home inspection.
A good realtor will stay in touch with you on a consistent basis, even daily once the offers start coming in. That’s why it’s important to work with an agent you trust.
If you’re unhappy with the answers to some of these questions, perhaps this may not be the best agent for you. Please let us know and we would be more than happy to try and match you with another realtor.
Here are the Top Ten questions to ask your Realtor
1. Can I See Your Real Estate License?
This one is obvious. We only work with licensed real estate agents, but it doesn’t hurt to ask an agent to verify their license status. Every agent is required to carry a photo ID card with them while conducting real estate business and must produce it upon request.
2. Can you Provide Solid Referrals?
An experienced agent should have a good network of people they have worked with who will be able to help you through the home buying and selling process.
For example, they should be able to recommend a good real estate lawyer, a contractor, mortgage broker or banker, movers etc…
3. What Do Your Services Cost?
It’s important to know what you will be charged. There is no “set fee,” however, the vast majority of agents work on a commission basis. In other words, they will get paid a percentage of the final sales price.
Usually, there are two agents: a listing agent that represents the seller of the house, and a buyer’s agent who represents the buyer.
The total commission is usually around 6% and each agent receives 3%. For example, if you’re buying a home and the home sells for $200,000, your agent may be entitled to a commission of $6,000 (3% * $200,000).
4. Can you Walk Me Through the Home Selling or Buying Process?
Depending on whether you’re buying or selling a home for the first time, the process can seem overwhelming at times.
For buyers, they have to get pre qualified or pre approved by a lender to help determine how much they can afford. They have to choose a neighborhood, pay for home inspections, find a lawyer etc…
Home sellers have to ensure that the house doesn’t have any structural damage. They must also prepare and present the house so that it appeals to the widest audience possible, work with an attorney, manage offers etc…
A good realtor should be patient and straight forward with you throughout every step in the process. After all, it is their fiduciary duty to be loyal, honest and transparent with you.
For Home Sellers:
5. What is the Average Number of Days Your Listings Stay on the Market?
Of course every house is different but an agent who has sold a fair amount of homes should have a reasonable average for how long it takes them to sell a property.
If the number is much higher than average, then that’s a potential red flag and you should find another agent.
6. Have You Sold Homes in This Neighborhood?
This is important. A realtor that knows the neighborhood knows the perks and appeals of the neighborhood. Are there great schools nearby? How about shopping? What’s the commute like? A local agent will be able to tell all this and more to a prospective buyer.
7. How Do You Plan on Advertising My Home?
Every real estate agent should be able to tell you how they plan on advertising and marketing your home to the most amount of people so that it attracts offers from potential buyers.
8. At What Price Should We Sell This Home?
A good listing agent will prepare and provide you with a CMA (comparative marketing analysis) that essentially uses the prices of homes sold in your neighborhood recently to help determine how to price your home.
They may also take other factors into consideration such as unique aspects of the home or neighborhood. A good agent should be able to tell you the price you may get for your home and it should be fairly priced.
9. What Are The Closing Costs?
The closing is the last step in the home buying and selling process. It’s when all parties come to the table to sign legal documents and transfer the deed to the property.
The full details of the costs involved in closing are too numerous and varied to detail here but in short, you should be prepared to pay some upfront costs when closing on a home offer. A good agent should be able to give you an idea of what to expect and how much you will have to pay.
10. When Can We Start?
If you feel like you’ve found a good match, you should get started on the process. Home buying and selling is one of the largest financial transactions you’ll ever make but home ownership is the key to generational wealth.