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 who may even answer those late-night questions before you tap snooze the next morning. Finding a real estate agent that fits your needs is imperative to the home-buying process. So, where do you start?
Here are five questions you may consider asking real estate agents when you begin your search.
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 area of expertise. The ideal agent will be able to spout off information about the neighborhood, recent sales and listings, trends, crime and schools. This intel is invaluable.
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 approach, 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.
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. Obviously, you want to go with a reputable professional with a squeaky clean 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 business acumen, style and quirks than speaking with past clients. Familiarizing yourself with the agent through the experience of others 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. 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 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 on the other side.
Buying a home is a process and takes a team of people to accomplish. Make sure you have the right teammates.