Finding the right real estate agent can be complicated which is why it is ok to take your time and ask the right questions. It can be a lot like dating, your first impression does count but the true value is when you take the time to understand both relationship and fit. Success in real estate transactions is about making informed decisions and it starts with being open to asking the important, and sometimes awkward, questions. A true professional will always welcome this and as a potential client you owe it to yourself to ensure the best and most successful experience.
The right agent can help you buy your dream house or sell your existing home efficiently. The wrong agent can make this experience a living nightmare even with the risk of leaving you with nowhere to call home.
Despite the high stakes, many buyers and sellers give little thought to choosing an agent. In fact, many buyers go with the first agent they interact with.
“Whether buying or selling, sit down and get to know the person by asking them questions,” says Cathy Rocca. “Despite being one of the largest transactions of their lives, often times, people are not going through a more detailed interview process.”
Tanya goes on to say, “I am surprised at how many people are making commitments to realtors based on soft reasons such as, I heard they were a good realtor; they seem reputable; a friend of a friend told me to go with them; I felt obligated, after all I am related; they’re a friend of mine; etc”. While the above reasons are still valid as a starting point, the best real estate partnership is found when you dig deeper for supporting substance to round out your decision making.
Here are five questions every buyer or seller should ask a real estate agent before you hire them:
- How many homes have you sold in this neighborhood in the past year or two and are you a full time agent?
Ideally, the agent will be intimately familiar with the real estate landscape in your neighborhood. Being full time means they are representing you full time with full effort. Can they provide and illustrate their stats and supporting data including houses sold, prices, average sale to list price ratio, average days on the market, etc.*, This is about proven results representing what you can expect.
- How will you communicate with me?
Does the agent have a communication strategy suited for you? A communication lapse of a few hours can mean the difference between an accepted offer and a missed opportunity. With that in mind, choose an agent who responds quickly in the mode of communication that works for you, whether it’s email, text or phone etc.
- What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell or find me a home?
Putting up a For Sale sign in the yard and hope for the best is not a strategy. Marketing network and community reach tied to innovative approaches must be clear and obvious from your interview, and is a critical success factor in a competitive market. Always ask to see sample marketing materials.
4. Can I get references?
It is important to have a good understanding of the agent’s track record and not just the track record for the past year, but the previous years. After all, the proof is in the pudding.
5. What sets you apart from other realtors?
While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the agent and determine how closely the agent’s values, goals and skills and experience mesh with your own expectations.
Look for expertise, not just eagerness. After all, you aren’t hiring the neighborhood kid to do yard work.
If you are thinking of buying or selling your home, we would love to sit down and demonstrate our value to you as well as answer all of your questions to determine if we are a great fit!