There are a lot of realtors out there, and it can be easy to meet one and sign a contract on the spot, especially if you are a first time buyer. It’s important to know that not all realtors are created equally, and some are better than others – especially in niche markets like luxury homes or vacation properties such as Lake of the Woods in Locust Grove, VA. It’s important that you choose the right realtor for you. In light of this, here are 10 questions you should be asking your real estate agent, both before and after you hire them.
1. Ask for references
A good real estate agent should have plenty of references for you to vet, and should have no problem offering them to you. It’s always good to ensure their previous clients have been satisfied.
2. Can you provide me with a CMA for the area?
A Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) is an important tool that can help you understand the valuation of your home in comparison to your neighborhood. It will give you an idea of what other similar homes are selling, or have recently sold for, and will help you price your home correctly.
3. Is this area on an incline or decline?
The popularity or value of a neighborhood can be impacted by many things. It’s important to know an area’s status, whether you currently live there and want to sell or whether you are looking to buy there. Things that affect an area’s value include commercial influences and social ones. A new school in the neighborhood could have a positive effect, while a new factory or billboard close by could have a negative one. Your realtor should be able to fill you in on these matters.
4. Is your agent solo or part of a team?
This is important because in team scenarios you may end up dealing with more real estate agents than the one you hired. If you only want to work with the agent you interviewed or spoke with, you need to make this clear. If the agent cannot guarantee this, you may want to consider seeking out an independent agent.
5. What is your client load currently like?
This is a fair question. If they are really busy with multiple clients they may not be able to be as attentive as you need, especially during negotiation time.
6. What are your marketing plans?
Finding out how they intend to market your home and how tenacious they will be about it is important. They should use every channel available to them.
7. What are your fees?
All realtors’ fees are different. Typically, the standard fee is 6% total for both sides of the transaction. However, broker’s fees are negotiable, and when discussing broker fees, be sure to inquire as to what you can expect from your realtor regarding the level of service they will provide to earn their fee.
8. How long have you been a realtor?
This could tie into your request for references, but you should ask it as a separate question just to be absolutely clear. Experience is important.
9. How will we communicate?
By phone? Email? 24/7 or only in a certain time frame?
10. What are the honest negatives of my home?
Your realtor should never blow smoke. They need to be clear about the challenges you face in the market, and where you may see difficulty with your home in particular.
If you are planning to tap into real estate market, then get in touch with Penny Ostlund, a real estate professional based in the greater Fredericksburg region committed to exceeding your expectations in assisting you in the sale of your current home or the purchase of a new one.