6 Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent Before They Help You Buy a Home

Did you know that you can wind up paying more for the same property if your agent is inexperienced? With the right realtor by your side, you can find a house quickly and smoothly, but if you hire the wrong broker, the same buying endeavor can become long and cumbersome.

Much of the home-buying process depends on the role of your realtor, so it pays to ask these 8 things when deciding on the right agent for you.

1.) How long you have been working as a realtor?

You want a professional who understands the ins and outs of the business. That level of expertise only comes with experience! Most realtors don’t last more than two years in the business, leaving 20% of agents do 80% of the work. There is no substitute to experience in the world of real estate.

If the realtor you’d like to hire is still a newbie, there’s no need to write them off. Just ask if there will be a team of brokers available for hands-on guidance with the process. Do not hesitate to ask this question before hiring your realtor.

2.) What is the ratio of your list price to sales price?

Your goal as a home-buyer is to pay less than the owner’s asking price. You can judge the negotiation skills (or lack thereof) of the real estate agent by inquiring about their list price to sales price ratio. A list to sales ratio of less than 1 means you should hire the agent as they will be able to negotiate your new home to less than the listed price.

While most agents help both home buyers and sellers, many tend to specialize in one or the other, since the specialties are entirely different. To buy a home, you should team up with a buyer’s agent, someone who specializes in working with home buyers. A listing agent focuses on working with home sellers. If you’re going to be buying and selling, you’ll want to talk with your agent about their practices for both. In a situation like this, you’ll need to be clear on what the agent’s policy is.

3.) How will you determine which homes will match my wants and needs?

A good agent should talk with you or provide you with a comprehensive questionnaire to help pinpoint your interests and needs for buying a home. You should be able to ask in advance what this process may entail. Your agent should also be able to let you know whether or not your list of demands is realistically affordable in your area, and work with you to find a more realistic approach if necessary.

4.) How will we stay in touch during the home-buying process?

It’s generally best if your agent’s preferred method of communication aligns with your own. Are you an email person? Enjoy phone calls? If your agent prefers text while you prefer a conversation on the phone (or visa versa), this may not be the right fit for you.

It is also essential to understand how often you should expect to touch base with your agent. Buying a home requires frequent communication between you and your agent, so you will want a realtor who will stay in touch and check in with you on at least a weekly basis. In a fast-moving market, your agent may be touching base with you almost daily. Along with this, you can also ask how many clients the agent is currently working with. You want an agent who’s busy but not too busy. Someone juggling far more than 10 clients might be too busy to provide you with high-quality, one-on-one service, especially if you’re looking to find a home fast.

5.) Do you have references?

Your potential agent should be able to provide you with a long list of their previous clients. What others think of the agent will quickly answer any lingering questions you may have about them. It’s entirely reasonable to ask about the past employers and performance of the real estate agent.

To get a better understanding of your potential agent’s style, check out their online presence. Examine the agent’s website. How professional is it? If you Google them what do you find? Include online reviews and testimonials in this endeavor. After perusing online reviews, ask for previous clients’ phone numbers to talk to them personally and know their experiences with the realtor.

6.) Do you provide any guarantees?

Not all real estate agents can deliver your desired results. Ask your agent if he gives any guarantees or not. There are no set prices or terms for all agents; everyone has a different policy. You should be clear on what their policies are and what you’re entitled to when entering a contract.

Buying a house can take time– generally 30-60 days of shopping and 14-60 days from contract to close. This, of course, may vary from market to market and person to person. If you are all in on the process, your agent should be able to close quickly and efficiently. It may be a red flag if your agent quotes 6 months to 1 year to buy a house. You should be able to cancel the agreement if you are not satisfied with your realtor’s performance.

Few buyers take the time to interview their prospective agent and ask additional questions before hiring them. A better approach would be to treat your first meeting with an agent as an interview: ask a wide of questions and understand your mutual expectations before making a decision.

Whether you’re looking for an uptown bungalow or a million-dollar estate, Nestlewood Realty can match you with the right agent for the job. Contact us today to set up an appointment and hear our answers to these questions.

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