5 Questions to Ask Your Next Real Estate Agent
When it comes to buying and selling a home, the process of finding a reliable and reputable real estate agent can be a daunting process. A good agent can make your life that much easier when it comes to sealing your property deal, so it’s advantageous for you to ensure you’ve got the right one for you. When it comes time to choose, beware the fancy brochures and flashy cars. Not all agents are the same, and some may take advantage of you, leaving you significantly out-of-pocket. To prevent such an outcome, be sure to ask your real estate agent these five questions first:
- Can I See Your References?
Finding a good agent is like a job interview, and you’re the boss. Sure, a real estate agent will be able to emphasize all of his positives – sales records, qualifications, experience and so on – but can they back up their claims with proof? Ask your real estate agent for a list of references you can contact, and be sure to get the full scoop before you sign the dotted line. Call and ask if the previous clients were pleased with the work, if the agent was easy to contact, if they were kept well informed, and if they would recommend the agent. Make sure references are unbiased by checking their relation to the agent. Friends and family are likely to give glowing reviews no matter the honest truth.
- Can You Provide a Comparative Market Analysis?
To gauge the market price of the home you wish to buy or sell, be sure to ask your next real estate agent for a comparative market analysis (CMA). A CMA is a listing of sales and buying history for your area, and is able to compare specific details of your home to see what similar has sold in the past. This information is vital in determining what price you can potentially achieve through a sale or what the home you are looking at is really worth.
- How Will You Market My Home?
Marketing your home is the most important step when attempting to sell. There are many ways that this can be done, and if it was simply a matter of posting a for-sale sign on your front lawn, then everyone would be doing it. A real estate agent can offer you access to a range of resources for marketing your home. Before you sign on with an agent, make sure you ask them to provide a marketing plan which outlines how they intend on advertising your house so it gets sold quickly and for the right price.
- What Are Your Fees?
Money talks, and the amount your agent will charge for their service is money from your bottom line. Ask your next real estate agent about their fee structure and how much you can expect to pay for your desired sale price. Pricing structure may vary, but most agents take a percentage of the home’s final sale price as their commission. This percentage will vary with each agent, and remember, everything is negotiable. If you’re not happy with the commission you’re quoted, ask if they can do a better deal. Price isn’t the only factor though, since in the end, you’re likely to get what you pay for.
Another consideration to discuss with your real estate agent is their cancellation policy. If you discovered after signing an agent that your cousin is interested in buying your house, what would be the repercussions? Make sure you get the full picture of your sale or purchase by requesting a full list of fees and charges. That way you’ll know what to expect, without the nasty surprises.
- What’s Your Experience?
Nothing speaks more about the quality of an agent than their experience, but how do you measure it? Here’s a couple of good measures of experience to ask your agent before taking business further:
- How many years’ experience do you have? How long have you been in the business?
- What’s your list-price-to-selling-price ratio? This ratio is calculated by comparing the original list price of the property to the price at which it sold. Choose an agent with a ratio close to 100%.
- What types of property have they sold? Are they more experienced selling condos, large comes, or even commercial real estate?
Finding an agent with the right expertise for your circumstance will help you achieve a better outcome for your property transaction, so be sure to ask before you make a decision.
If you’re on the hunt for a property agent for the sale or purchase of your next home, then make sure you choose wisely by asking your real estate agent the right questions. The five questions listed above are a great starting point, and you may wish to add to them depending on your needs. Getting clear on an agent’s offering will ensure your experience is smooth and one which will lead to more money left in your bank account.