Hiring a Realtor to help guide you through buying or selling a home is a big commitment. You have to trust that they are experienced professionals and are making decisions with your best interests in mind. When you hire a real estate professional, you should approach your agreement the same way you would hiring an employee, starting with an interview. Make a short list of candidates based on recommendations, then draw up your most important questions. Set up a time to interview each Realtor, and ask your questions.
Here are five interview questions to ask before hiring a Realtor:
1. How long have you been in real estate?
More years does not automatically translate into success, but it's a good frame of reference to get the conversation started. Ask specifically about their time spent in residential real estate, and whether it's their full-time profession. A new or relatively new Realtor may even be preferable to you, especially if you're hoping for someone who has a little more time to devote to your needs. Don't forget that many real estate professionals are backed by a team that helps lend a solid foundation of experience for any Realtor to fall back on.
2. How much will you be charging me?
Realtors don't work for free; when a home sells, both the listing agent and the buyer's agent are compensated to some degree by a percentage of the sale price. It's important to know who will be charging you and how much. However, as you shop around for an agent, it's also important to keep in mind that a higher commission rate can mean a more motivated Realtor.
3. How close to the list price are your average sales/purchases?
This figure may be a ratio or a percentage, or it may be an average of the differences between what a home listed versus what it sold for. If you're looking for an agent to help you sell your home, you'll want to go with someone who generally has a high percentage - meaning that the home sold for close to the list price. Vice-versa if you're looking for a buying agent - you want someone who can reliably negotiate prices below a certain ratio.
4. Can I have a list of references?
Most Realtors will be happy to provide a list of references. Make sure it's OK for you to contact them, and that you're clear on how the agent represented them. You may even ask for the three most recent transactions that the Realtor performed to get a good representation of their recent standing.
5. How often should I expect to hear from you?
This is one you will want to put some thought into, as your prospective Realtor may likely ask you how often you would like to hear from them. This question should lead to a discussion where you both come away with an understanding of how you will communicate with each other (phone, email, etc.), and how often. If you agree to touch base with each other at least every two weeks, you both know the expectation. This understanding can save you both from a good deal of anxiety and potential misunderstandings.
At Coldwell Banker Rizzo Mattson, our staff of highly trained professionals are available to answer all of your real estate needs. Contact us today.