In a recent blog post, Important People Involved in Your Homebuying Process, real estate agent is the first person listed. They’re one of the first people you may come into contact with in the homebuying process as they’re typically linked with helping you find your home.
A Realtor is going to be with you for the majority of your homebuying process, so you want to make sure that you find an agent that’s really going to work for you and go to bat for you (especially when it comes to home price negotiations). It’s OK to meet with several different Realtors before settling on one that’s best for you. It’s almost like dating! It has to feel right.
So while you’re speed dating Realtors, make sure you ask some key questions that will help you understand their experience, process, communication style, etc to see their approach sounds appealing to you. We’ve outlined a few questions that you should ask a Realtor at your first meeting with them.
1. How long have you been in real estate?
Experience often plays a big role in how they handle difficult situations, their knowledge of the industry, and negotiation skills. Being a new agent doesn’t mean they don’t have the skills required to get you the best deal, but it is something to think about in terms of your personal homebuying journey.
Ask them how long they’ve lived or worked in the area of interest to see how well they know the market. Finding an agent who has lived or worked in the same area for a while will know the home prices, neighborhoods, schools, and other helpful city information.
2. Is this your main job?
It’s OK if being a Realtor is their side-hustle, but having someone who is committed full-time may benefit your customer experience. If they are a part-time Realtor, ask them what their availability is like, as this is important in being able to communicate with them if you find a home you like or have questions. Time-sensitive instances like home showings, research listings, and negotiations are a big part of a Realtor’s job, and if the market is competitive, you want to make sure you don’t lose out on a great opportunity.
3. Do I need mortgage pre-approval?
Some agents will require that you get pre-approved for a mortgage for a couple of reasons. It lets the agent know you’re serious and ready to start looking for a home. And it makes you a stronger candidate to sellers if you do find a home right away that you want to submit an offer on.
4. What was your most challenging sale?
Understanding how your potential Realtor handles difficult situations is a good indicator of how they’ll work with you. The homebuying process is not without its ups and downs, and having an agent that will mediate any stress, navigate you through challenges, and handle situations with a good attitude will give you more confidence throughout. So ask them about a challenging experience with a client and how they handled it to get an honest understanding of their experience and approach.
5. What is the market like right now?
Your agent should be tapped into the market and have a very good understanding of home price fluctuations, trends, and industry knowledge to help you make the best decision in a home. A good agent should be able to give you an honest take on the market and give you suggestions based on your preferences and specific needs.
6. What is your commission price?
The average price that Realtors take from a transaction is 3%. If the commission rate is higher than that, ask them to talk you through why and if it’s negotiable. If it’s lower, this could also be a red flag, because while it’s a deal, it may suggest lack of experience or result in a lesser customer experience for you.
Buying a home has stressful moments, but the agents are there to help alleviate and absorb some of that stress so it’s easier for you. Having the right buyer’s agent on your side can make all the difference and ensures that you get the home of your dreams, at the price you deserve, and get all your questions answered.
As you’re setting up meetings with potential Realtors, ask these questions and find the right professional for you and your family!