One of the most important players on your team is your real estate agent. When you’re selling your home, they help market it so you attract more homebuyers. They will also do the negotiating for you. When you go to buy a home, they’ll help find homes that meet your criteria, give you advice, and negotiate with the seller. That’s why it’s important to interview a few different real estate agents before you pick one. Here are a few questions to consider asking during these interviews.
How Long Have You Been an Agent?
Experience matters. Is it the only thing that matters? No, of course not. Someone may have a lot of experience but still not be all that great! But you do want someone who has at least a few years under their belt. This is a key question to ask during the interview.
Some time in the ring helps hone a real estate agent’s skills. They get better at understanding their clients better. Their ability to find houses that meet their client’s criteria improves. The agent gets to see a variety of different types of homes so they can understand the pros and cons. They learn the local area where their client is buying.
Do You Work with Buyers, Sellers or Both?
Every type of agent is different. Some specialize in helping buyers find and buy that perfect home. Others are experts on getting your house on the market and selling quickly. Some do both, and the easiest way to find out is to ask them during the interview.
There’s no right answer with this one. It’d just be good to understand if the agent specializes or does both parts of the process.
Can You Show Me Your Real Estate License?
Real estate is one thing that a lot of people get into as a side hustle. Most agents you talk to will probably have their license, so this shouldn’t be a big deal. But it’s worth asking because you want to make sure the person is legitimate.
What Are Your Commissions?
This is a big one, and something that has changed over the last few years. It used to be that agents always wanted 3% to help you buy a home and another 3% to help sell your home. Since both the buying and selling agents take that cut, it comes out to a total of 6% of the sale of the home.
But that has changed over time. Now, it’s getting more common for the selling agent to charge a little less – especially if the client is using the same agent to buy their next home. For example, they may charge only 2% to sell the home, letting you keep a little extra money at closing. They will still charge the full 3% when you buy a home though, since that cost is coming out of the seller’s pocket, not yours.
When is Your Best Availability?
It’s good to address this upfront. Ideally the agent they’re available every day of the week. That’s because the home market can move very quickly. When a great house comes on the market, you should try to check it out the first day or two. If you don’t, you may very well lose it to someone who moved faster than you and submitted an offer the first day it’s on the market.
While we hope these questions to ask a real estate agent help, keep in mind they aren’t the only member of your team. You also need someone on your side who knows the mortgage process and can get you a great deal. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you squared away.