When it comes time to buy or sell a home, finding the right real estate agent is key. A great real estate agent will be able to guide you through the process, provide expert advice, and handle all of the paperwork for you.
In this article, we will go over things you should consider and questions you should ask when choosing a realtor to help you with your purchase or sale.
What To Expect From Your Buying Agent
Although agents have their own way of doing things, when purchasing a new home every great buyer agent should be willing to do the following for you:
Help Get You Pre-Approved
When you're trying to buy a house, you'll need to apply for a mortgage. The best way to do this is by getting pre-approved. Your agent will be able to recommend and connect you with reputable banks and lenders who will work with you on the specifics of your loan - like your monthly payments and interest rates.
Question to ask: “Which lenders would you recommend connecting with for a mortgage? Why?”
Help You Find A Home (With All Of Your Non-Negotiables)
When you're searching for a house, your agent should be able to work with you to find homes that fit all of your must-haves. They will then present these options to you and help you make offers on the ones you like best.
Question to ask: “What are your methods for finding the ideal home for buyers?”
What To Expect From Your Selling Agent
As with purchasing, realtors acting on behalf of your sale also have standard practices that they follow. That being said, a great agent should always do the following:
Price The Home Correctly
This is one of the most important factors in successfully selling your home. It's up to an agent to look at similar homes nearby to determine what yours should be listed for. At the end of the day, if you do not agree with the agent on the listing price, you are under no obligation to work with them and may find it in your best interest to find a different agent.
Question to ask: “How do you determine an appropriate listing price?”
Have a Marketing Plan
Along with correct pricing, the agent will also do their best to market your home in order to get more people looking at your property. This includes posting ads online and on social media sites like Facebook, putting up signs in your neighborhood, and contacting other local agents to seek out any prospective buyers looking for a home such as yours.
Question to ask: “What is an example of a marketing plan you made for a similar property?”
What To Expect From Both
Regardless of if you are buying or selling a home, all realtors should do the following:
Be Available To You
You should be able to reach out to your agent at any time during the buying or selling process. They should never leave you wondering where things stand and what's going on in the process.
Question to ask: “Do you have set hours or are you available 24/7?”
Educate You On The Market
Your realtor should be able to give you a comprehensive overview of the market and how it is affecting your home sale. They will provide insights on what price points homes are selling at, why they are selling or not selling, and other information that can help you make decisions about your own sale.
With regards to purchasing, your realtor should also inform you on the current market values of a prospective homes neighborhood as well as other pertinent information that would help you make an informed decision.
Question to ask: “How do you stay up-to-date on the current market trends?”
What sets good realtors apart from great realtors is their negotiation skills. A great real estate agent should be able to effectively negotiate with buyers or sellers on your behalf. While this doesn't mean they will always get the exact price you are after, they will fight to get you the best selling price or purchase price possible.
Question to ask: “When is a time you had to put your negotiating skills to the test?”
Attend The Home Inspection
The home inspection is a vital part of the purchase process. This is the time that most issues and concerns arise for buyers and your realtor should be an integral part of the solution.
If selling, your agent may still offer to be available during the inspection to act as your representative. Some buyers will prefer to only have their agent attend the inspection, however, your agent will still be the one to field any issues or complaints that may arise.
Question to ask: “Do you attend every home inspection?”
Connect You To Vendors
When you are looking to purchase a home, a great realtor will reach out to their connections and advise them as to what type of house you are looking for and your rough budget. This way, if other agents have a lead on a listing, you may be able to get first crack at the home.
When purchasing, your agent should be able to help connect you with appropriate industry professionals such as lenders, home inspectors, insurance brokers and more.
Question to ask: “How do you connect with other industry professionals in order to find potential properties or potential purchasers?”
Finalize Loose Ends
During the sale or purchase process, your real estate agent should be available to assist with finalizing all loose ends. This includes assisting with confirming a mortgage, obtaining insurance, and setting up a home inspection if you are purchasing. If selling, connecting to movers, ensuring inspection went smoothly and being available after the sale for any questions are all things you should expect from your realtor.
Question to ask: “What can I expect from you if any issues arise before closing?”
The real estate industry is a highly competitive space and it’s up to you to find the best agent for your needs. By doing some preliminary research, interviewing prospective agents, and checking out reviews and testimonials, you’ll be able to make the best decision for your needs. Your agent should also have up-to-date knowledge of local legislation, buyers and sellers preferences in the area, the ability to work with other agents, and strong negotiation skills. A little bit of effort on your part will ensure you find a great agent and avoid any issues down the road.