It’s time to buy or sell a home? Where to start? The first thing you’ll need to do is hire a Realtor. Stop what you’re doing and call me now! I’ll wait…
If you haven’t called me yet that’s ok. Most people interview multiple Realtors before making a decision. Here are some of the best questions to ask before hiring someone to represent you.
1. How long have you been in real estate?
There’s nothing wrong with hiring a freshly licensed Realtor. However, we do not have a school or training that teaches us how to handle challenges that will arise during a transaction. We have on the job training so the more transaction an agent’s completed the more experience they might have.
2. Do you work full time or part time in real estate?
Stands to reason that a full time Realtor might have more experience than a part time agent.
3. Where do you work primarily?
If you’re looking to buy in Napa, you might not want to work with an agent who sells in San Francisco. I have turned down business because it is outside the area I work. A Realtor should have their “boots on the ground” in the area they work. They should know the nuances of the market. I’m wary of an agent who works too broad an area. You should be too.
4. What’s your marketing plan?
When listing your home with a Realtor you’ll want to know some of the following.
How will they photograph your home? With their smartphone? A professional photographer?
Where will they market your home? E-mail campaigns? Direct mail? Social media? Do they have a dedicated website for your home? Your Realtor should have a marketing plan for your home.
5. Do you have a strategy for buyers?
Does the Realtor have the capabilities to send you information on homes the minute they hit the market? With the lack of inventory this is a very competitive market. You’ll need info on homes asap to get your offer accepted.
6. Do you have references?
A good Realtor should provide references of past clients. Contacting them would be a good idea too.
7. May I see the documents I will sign when making an offer or listing your home?
Going over some of the documents before listing your home or making an offer will get you comfortable with them. Please note: Each transaction is different and the documentation will be different too. There are a few docs that are in most transactions. Your Realtor should be able to go over them in detail with you.
8. Do you have a team of professionals you work with?
Your Realtor should have professionals they work with often. Escrow officers, insurance agents, financial lenders, and inspectors are among the professionals needed to complete a transaction.
9. Do you have guarantees?
If you sign a listing or buyer’s agreement and find you’re unhappy with the Realtors services can you get out of your contract? Has anyone ever cancelled a contract because they were unsatisfied? Does the Realtor have a communication agreement? How often do they intend to update you? If they do not update you is there accountability?
10. Is there anything else I should ask you?
Pay close attention to their answer. There maybe additional things you’ll need to know. A Realtor should take their time with you. They should make sure you’re completely comfortable with their experience and knowledge. They should know how to listen and how to counsel you, how to ask the right questions to find out what they need to know to better serve you.
These are a few of the questions you should ask a Realtor before hiring them. Take your time interview a few before making a decision. Picking the right Realtor is a very key decision in the home-buying or selling process and I want to see you do it right. There are so many great real estate professionals out there willing to work hard for you, so consider the advice above as you make your selection.