When you decide to buy or sell a home, choosing a real estate professional is a critical first step. An agent’s knowledge, skills, and connections can help you find the right property, negotiate contracts, and complete the necessary steps of a real estate transaction. It can also be the start of a long-term relationship and even a friendship. If you’re looking for a real estate professional to represent you, here are some questions you might want to ask as you make your selection:
1. What kind of real estate experience is important to me?
A veteran agent can offer many years of practical experience working on different kinds of real estate deals and through a variety of situations. A newer agent may bring less expertise but also might offer eagerness and a fresh perspective. Give some thought about what level of experience would make you the most comfortable.
2. Does he or she have real estate industry knowledge? Local knowledge?
Ask some questions to determine an agent’s insights into national real estate trends as well as local market history and projections. If the agent lives in the area you are interested in, find out how long they’ve resided there and what they like about it. Ask about their membership in industry organizations and associations, as well as any certifications they may hold.
3. Does this agent have strong communication skills?
Remember, the agent will be communicating not only with you, but also with others on your behalf. Pay attention to how they express themselves in person and in writing. Are they professional and respectful? Can they clearly articulate facts and ideas?
4. Is this person responsive?
Do they reply to voice mail messages, texts, and emails promptly? Do they mind being contacted after business hours or on weekends? Are they willing to answer questions that may crop up during the transaction process? Will they be available during times that are convenient for you? Ask them on the front end what your expectations should be regarding response times and availability.
5. How many listings do they currently have?
While it can be a good sign for an agent to have a lot of listings, it may also mean that they are pulled in a lot of directions. Don’t be afraid to ask a busy agent if they’ll have time to give you the attention that you’ll need, or to find out if you’ll be dealing with their associates.
6. Do they have a solid supplier network?
As your transaction progresses, you may need recommendations and referrals from your real estate professional for services such as inspections, appraisals, and home warranties. Find out if the agent you’re considering already has relationships established with reliable, reputable contacts.
7. Is their personality compatible with yours?
You may be spending a lot of time with your real estate professional, so it’s important that you enjoy their company. If possible, meet with candidates in person or at least chat on the phone to see if their personality is well suited to yours.