A real estate agent is one of the most important people you’ll meet on the journey to buying a home. Understand their responsibilities and how to find a good one.
A real estate agent will help you find a home, handle the negotiations when you make an offer and take care of much of the associated paperwork with buying a home.
When meeting with different real estate agents, there are several questions you should ask to make sure you’ve found the right real estate agent for you:
• How long have you been a real estate agent?
It’s important to know their experience level, and whether they work full- or part-time. If they only work part-time, they may not have their finger on the pulse of current market conditions.
• What are your credentials?
A real estate agent is required to have a state license. Are they a Realtor? A Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors, which requires ethics training and has a code of ethics.
• How many houses have you sold in the last year?
This will tell you their sales track record, and also how much experience they have with the entire process and paperwork.
• What’s your schedule?
Check that the real estate agent you are considering hiring is flexible, and works around your schedule.
• Where do you usually work?
You’ll want them to know the community you are looking in, especially if you are moving somewhere unfamiliar. They should be able to advise you on the types of inspections required for the area.
• What kind of commitment will you give me?
See how fast they plan to return phone calls, give you information, and how often you are able to go look at houses.
• What’s your fee?
Know upfront what percentage their fee is going to be, and ask if it’s negotiable.
• May I have some referrals?
Ask your real estate agent if they have former clients you could speak with to get a better idea of how they’ve worked in the past.
DAN: I think finding the right real estate agent is the most difficult thing for most people. You have to find someone that not only matches your personality because you’re spending a lot of time with them, but somebody you can trust because they’re going to be seeing everything about you.
AMY: Not only do you want to find out somebody who knows the market but when they say they’re full-time, finding out the definition of full-time. Somebody who is full-time real estate, maybe that’s all they’re doing but perhaps they’re involved in three or four transactions a year, and that might not be somebody who’s necessarily got their finger on the pulse in regard to current market conditions and what it’s going to take to get through the process.
TIANA: Yeah, I would even ask him how long have you been doing this, how many houses have you sold, that kind of thing. Are you familiar with the area? What do you know about the types of inspections that may be required?
SUE: You’re going to ask what kind of commitment they’re going to give you; if you call them, how fast are they calling you back; if you ask for information, how quickly will you get that back; how often can you go out and look at houses.
CRISTIAN: You have to make the realtor sort of work for you. It’s almost like a friendship. You’re not gonna go see one or two houses you may see 25 or up to 50 homes. So it has to be someone that is flexible, has to be someone that works around your schedule and you kind of build a friendship.
JEIMY: You do, you do.
CRISTIAN: It sounds weird, but you build a friendship with your realtor and it just makes the process…
JEIMY: And smoother.
CRISTIAN: And more comfortable.