How to Choose a Real Estate Agent: 10 Questions to Ask

property cash buyerLast year, people bought around 5.51 million homes and built 612,000 new homes. With about 1.47 million realtors, it can be daunting to figure out who to turn to when you need to buy or sell your home.

Whether you are buying a home or selling your home, you’ll want to choose a realtor who is right for you. Learn more about 10 questions to ask and how to choose a real estate agent here.

1. How Long Have You Been a Licensed Realtor?

You want to find a professional who knows the business and also has experience, like the associates at Smith & Crisp Realty Group. You want someone has been in the business and has seen several scenarios.

If your agent is new, find out if he will get some guidance from an experienced real estate broker. Brokers have more education than the agent level. They typically manage other agents.

Real estate is a commission-based business, so if someone has been doing it for years, they must be doing pretty good. You are not going to find someone who has been doing it for 10 years with awful service. Plus, agents with experience have seen many situations and won’t worry as much should something happen.

2. What Neighborhoods Are Your Specialty?

Make sure your agent knows the area well such as schools, home prices, public transportation, safety, and other amenities. To get an honest opinion, you don’t want an agent that lives far away and just searches online for information.

If someone knows the area well, he or she can tell you the best neighborhoods. You can’t always find out everything you want to know through the Internet, such as safety. That’s why you want a professional that knows the area well.

3. What is Your Availability and Schedule?

Some real estate agents work only part-time, so it may be harder to get a hold of them at certain times. You may want to consider a full-time agent to help you with the sale. What if you run into a last-minute issue at closing?

4. Do You Work with a Team or Independently?

Not everyone is a one-man team in real estate. There are benefits to working with someone that has a team, such as an administrative assistant or other agents. If you really need to get ahold of your agent, you may be able to get ahold of someone on his or her team if your agent is unreachable.

A team also has a wider level of experience, so someone may be able to offer advice for a specific situation that another agent isn’t sure about. You should know ahead of time how the team works, so you know who to contact when. If you get passed around without any structure, that’s not really a benefit.

5. Do You Specialize in Buying or Selling?

Most agents will help with both selling and buying, but some agents tend to specialize in one area. You will want to know upfront if the agent is more experienced in one area, but you may find an advantage to an agent who does both.

An agent who is well-versed in buying and selling can offer a more broad perspective having seen how both sides operate. One agent can make your entire transaction more seamless because he or she knows the entire picture.

6. How Many Homes Did You Close Last Year?

Asking how many people the agent has worked with doesn’t really tell you how successful he or she was. You want to know how many homes actually sold. People work with multiple real estate agents all the time, so you want someone with a high closing ratio.

7. How Will You Help Me Find a Home?

You should be prepared – it takes a lot of time to buy a house. Searching takes about 30 to 60 days. After that, it’s anywhere from another 30 to 60 days to go from contract to the actual closing when it the sale is contingent on financing.

That’s just a general idea because all people move at a different pace. However, if the agent says it takes about a year, you know that something could be wrong.

Be sure to ask the agent about advice for home buyers. You should feel comfortable with this agent because you could be spending a lot of time with this person when you search for a home.

8. Do You Have Vendors You Recommend?

A reputable and experienced agent will develop relationships with other industry professionals.

These professionals include contractors, lenders, title companies, and home inspectors.

You get to ultimately choose your vendor, but you know that this agent has experience with these companies. Plus, the companies also trust this agent – so it’s a two-way street.

9. How Many Clients Do You Currently Have?

You don’t want an agent that has too many clients at once. You won’t be able to get the personalized service you deserve. Any agent who has more than 10 clients may be too busy for one-on-one service.

You can also ask your agent if there is another team member that you will work with at times when the agent is too busy. Remember, they are providing you a service, so you should feel like you are getting the time and attention you want.

10. How Will You Keep in Contact with Me?

Be sure your agent’s preferred method of contact is the same as yours. For example, does your agent prefer text messages while you would rather talk on the phone? It’s best if your preferences align to avoid any frustration on either end.

Also, ask your agent how often you will hear from him or her. Your agent should at least check in with you on a weekly basis. If the housing market is hot, you may want to talk to your realtor daily or every other day to avoid missing your dream home.

Be sure you set expectations on how you will be updated and your preferred method before signing up with an agent.

How to Choose a Real Estate Agent Summary

The questions above will help you interview any agents. Be sure you meet with more than one. You should also choose the agent that makes you feel the most comfortable.

Looking for More Information on Buying a Home?

Check out Property Talk for articles about selling homes like boosting your property value. Now you know how to choose a real estate agent, so look for more articles about buying a home like finding deals on real estate.

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