An excellent agent is the most important tool you have in buying or selling a home. They should have experience and be able to guide you through the process. Their professional networking will sometimes open doors for you that may not have been available without them. Their professionalism and negotiation skills will protect you and your investment throughout the process.
Qualifications are important. However, finding a solid, professional agent means getting beyond the resume, and into what makes an agent effective.
Use the following questions as your starting point in hiring your licensed, professional real estate agent:
- Why did you become a real estate agent?
You’ll be able to see what passion they have for their chosen profession and how that passion can help you.
- Why should I work with you?
Asking for their sales pitch will give you an idea of how well they will be able to sell your offer to the other agent and seller when the time comes.
- What do you do better than other real estate agents?
This gives the agent a chance to tell you what they are great at.
- How long have you been in Real Estate, how many homes have you sold?
This will help give you an idea on how effective the agent could be in finding your home.
- What are the most common things that go wrong in a transaction and how would you handle them?
This helps prepare you for potential issues that may arise, but also should give you some confidence that your agent knows what he or she is doing and how to overcome obstacles.
- What are some mistakes that you think people make when buying their first home?
This information will give you an idea of how knowledgeable your agent is as well as give you a chance to avoid certain mistakes.
- What other professionals do you suggest we work with and what are their credentials?
Your agent should have a list of people they have worked with in the past who have proven themselves. This includes loan officers, contractors, inspectors, and even house cleaners and landscapers in some cases. It’s in their best interest for you to have the best on your team as that will ensure you are able to find and close on the home of your choice.
- Do you have an assistant(s) who helps you?
An agent who can focus on your needs and desires, instead of the paperwork, can be really helpful. Often agents will have assistants or Transaction Coordinators who will work with them to make sure everything goes smoothly and they can give you their undivided attention when needed.
- Can you provide me with references or testimonials from past clients?
Knowing how others experiences were can be very helpful in finding someone to work with.
A few Tips when working with your agent:
- Don’t expect an agent to call you instantly when you leave a message, but do expect a call back within 24 hours or a reasonable amount of time depending upon the situation.
- Buyers don’t pay commission. The seller pays a set commission that is decided before they put the home on the market. Your agent doesn’t get paid until you have the keys in hand.
- Don’t call your real estate agent late at night or early in the morning, shoot them an email instead. They have a life and family too.
- This is probably one of the most important transactions in your life, a seasoned real estate agent does this everyday and understands the many problems that arise during the process. Try to keep the big picture in mind and follow their advise.
- Your house / or the house you are buying is a commodity. Supply and demand within a neighborhood play an important role in pricing and timing of a sale. Try not to become overly emotionally involved in the purchase of a specific property until escrow has closed.