9 Questions to ask a REALTOR before you hire them as your buyer’s agent.
1. How long have you been selling residential real estate? Is it your full time job?
There is no right or wrong answer here. It is really about what is important to you and what your requirements are. You should look for someone that is very familiar with the area that you are interested in and has a good understanding of the home values in the area as well as the services that are most important to you…schools, wellness services, transportation needs, town services, property taxes, etc… what the community you are focusing on has to offer…. or knows where to direct you for more information.
Just because an agent has been in the business for a long time, does not automatically make them better than the agent who only has a year of experience. Years of experience can be a benefit, when it comes to difficult negotiations and sticky situations, however newer agents typically have more motivation and more time to spend with focus on you since they are still trying to build their business.
A full time agent may be more available to you, than an agent trying to fit real estate into a limited number of hours.
Another thing you should know about is how the agents work in the real estate office. When you phone an office, does only one agent know about a specific property? Or can multiple agents in the office answer your questions. Offices that work collaboratively, could be a great help in getting you the information that you need.
2. What is your business philosophy?
Listen to this answer and determine if it fits in with your own personal goals.
There is no right or wrong, but they should have an answer! This will help you better understand what you can expect throughout the process.
How transparent will they be? How do they like to work with their clients?
This is a relationship that you will have for the time of your search to find and purchase a new home. When you find someone who you work well with, the relationship could extend well past this current project.
3. What percentage of list price should I expect to pay for my home?
The agent should be able to tell you the average List/Sale price ratio in the neighborhood you are looking in.
This will give a good indication of what you will actually pay for a property. This will also depend if the market is decreasing or increasing.
4. How many homes do you think I will see before buying?
Market inventory can vary from town to town so while there may be a large selection in one town, another may have limited options and will affect this answer. Ultimately, you should hear them say that they are willing to show you as many as it takes to find the right home for you.
5. Will you be handling every aspect of my transaction on your own or do you have support?
Some agents have assistants or other agents in their office who help them with their transactions.
Each agent has strengths and weaknesses and a great agent will know when to delegate a task to someone. Delegating is not a bad thing. The ultimate goal should be to provide the best level of service to you as the client.
6. How will you communicate with me and how often?
Communication is a key component to real estate sales. Make sure your agent knows which way you prefer to be contacted…email, phone call, text, and have them follow up with you at least once a week with an update and after each showing day to review the properties you saw.
Find out which way of communication is the fastest way to reach the agent if you need something.
A collaborative office will have someone available to assist you if your specific agent is unavailable at the time.
7. May I have copies of the documents I will have to sign?
You have the right to review all documents prior to signing them. Ask for copies up front so there won’t be any surprises when it comes time to sign them.
You should see an Agency Disclosure Form, Exclusive Buyers Agreement, Property Disclosures, required State Disclosures, a Purchase and Sale Agreement, potential Addenda and any others that are company specific.
Read these documents carefully and highlight where you have questions so you can discuss it with your agent.
8. Can you explain the process to me?
There are many details to cover in the process of buying a home.
Make sure you allow enough time for the agent to explain it to you.
They should be able to tell you all the steps taken from becoming a buyer client to Closing and how you will be involved in that process.
The agreement between buyer and agent becomes a partnership as you both work toward the same goal.
9. Why should I hire you over the competition?
Most clients are searching for an agent who will be Honest, Friendly, Trustworthy, Experienced in the local market, Good Communicator, Available, and Successful in closing the transaction.
After your agent has answered these questions, make sure to ask them “Is there anything else I should know?” They should always have more to add.