Buying a home is undoubtedly one of the most difficult decisions you’ll make. After debating the pros and cons of homeownership -- and there are many -- you’ll have a whole new set of questions that will keep you up at night. Yes, you’ll have tons of question to ask of your real estate professional. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a knowledgeable, credible agent with lots of experience who may even answer those late-night questions before you tap snooze the next morning. Hiring a realtor that fits your expectations is imperative to the home-buying process. So, where do you start?
Here are five questions first-time homebuyers may consider asking real estate agents as you begin your search on who to hire.
1. “What neighborhoods are you most familiar with?”
As we know, real estate is all about location, location, location. This question will give you an idea of your agent’s experience and what local market they have dialed in. The ideal real estate professional will be able to spout off information about the neighborhood, their recent track record of sales and listings, trends, crime and schools. This intel is invaluable to you, as the homebuyer.
2. “Will I be working directly with you or one of your associates?”
The relationship between you, a homeowner-in-waiting, and your real estate agent, will be filled with questions. For those who prefer a more hands-on experience, it is important to know if your agent will work directly with you, or, hand off some of the lifting to an associate. So, if you plan to send a lot of emails and texts with late-night questions, be sure to work with a professional who will have your file within reach. Expectations of involvement should be laid out at the very beginning stages of hiring a realtor.
3. “What’s the status of your license/standing?”
To avoid any awkward interaction, you can check the status of a real estate agent and any disciplinary action he or she may have on file using the California Bureau of Real Estate website. In such a competitive market, you want to go with a reputable professional with a squeaky clean track record.
4. “Can you provide me with some references of some of your recent clients?”
There may be no better way to gauge the agent’s professional acumen, style and quirks than speaking with past clients. Familiarizing yourself with the agent through the experience of others and their referrals could provide a level of comfort. This will be key to your working relationship. If you uncover a quirk, be sure to discuss it thoroughly with a past client. Maybe it’s not as bad as it seems. Remember, signing on with a real estate agent is just like hiring someone for a job. Structuring the hiring process with an interview process can ensure that you are hiring the most compatible professional for your needs. That is why it’s important to ask for those references, and vet them carefully.
5. “Tell me about your experience and real estate education.”
This open-ended discussion starter will allow your agent-candidate an opportunity to highlight some of their proudest moments of the homes they have sold all while making a sales pitch. Listen carefully to how they “sell” him or herself -- it could give you insight on how they’ll handle your transaction with the agent, lender or broker on the other side.
Buying a home is a process and takes a team of people to accomplish. For first-time homebuyers, making sure you have the right interview questions and process for hiring a realtor is crucial. Having the right teammates will help you to have a seamless buying experience.