Hiring a realtor can be a daunting task. Buying or selling a home are two of the biggest financial decisions most of us will make during our lifetime. If you’re going to pay someone to help protect your interest during this transaction, you want someone that has your best interests in mind, is trustworthy and hardworking. During the process of finding the right ‘fit’, it’s important to have some questions in mind to ask a potential realtor. We’ve narrowed down the top 7 questions you should ask any real estate agent before signing on the dotted line.
1. How long have you been a realtor? Usually, you want to try to hire a realtor that has a couple of years under their belt. As mentioned above, this is one of the largest financial transactions many of us will ever make. If you’re using someone that has less than two years experience, that’s ok - but make sure they have an experienced broker that will be overseeing the process.
2. What’s your schedule and availability? While it’s encouraging to find a realtor that has several clients, you don’t want them to be so busy they can’t devote themselves to you. Typically a realtor that has more than 12 clients at a time is going to be overextended. Try to find someone that has 8-11 clients. Then you know they hustle, but also will have time to help you with your home sale or purchase.
3. Do you work independently or with a team? Realtors that work as part of a team, tend to be able to devote more one-on-one time with their clients. That’s because they have support staff that can handle the paperwork and clerical part of the transaction, while your realtor is focused on you and your needs!
4. How many homes have you closed in the last year? While markets and locations can affect how many closings a realtor has, you also want to know that they can make the deal happen. If they have a healthy number of closings, then you can rest assured that they are pretty comfortable with the real estate business.
5. How will we keep in contact regarding our progress? If you prefer a phone call, this is a good time to let your realtor know that. Because they are often in meetings and showings with customers, they rely on email and text messages to help communicate time sensitive issues. If you are not comfortable with that kind of communication, it’s very important to let your realtor know so that they can work to accommodate you and your preferences.
6. What are the top 3 reasons you’re better than the competition? We’re all taught not to ‘brag’ on ourselves - but the truth is, you want a realtor that has the confidence in themselves to make the sale happen. Some key characteristics you’re looking for in any good realtor are honesty, trustworthiness, assertiveness and excellent negotiators. If they’re going to sell your house, they should be able to sell themselves as well.
7. How will you help me find other professionals that I may need during this process? It’s inevitable that during a home sale, you will need other professionals to get the house ready before the deal closes. Whether that’s a painter, locksmith, carpenter, sheet rocker or any number of others. Most good real estate agents have what we like to call “Go-To Guys”. These are a list of trusted individuals or companies that they have worked with in the past. They will usually help you find the best contractor at the right price for you.
When deciding on a realtor to meet your needs, it’s important to get some background information to help you make the right choice. This is certainly not an exhaustive list of questions, but it’s a good starting point to help you make the right decision for you and your family.