Questions to Ask When Choosing a REALTOR?
Buying or selling a home can be a major purchase for most people and you need assistance from a professional when going through this type of transaction. You need a Realtor® by your side, but how do you know you're working with the best agent for you? Here are some guidelines for some questions you may want to ask before teaming up with a Realtor®.
Experience. It's good to know how much experience your agent has had in residential sales and whether this is a full-time endeavor or just part-time.
Education. The real estate industry is terrific in educating it's members. Does your perspective agent have any special designations? Those with specialized training and education will have the ABR, Accredited Buyers Representative or GRI, Graduate of the Real Estate Institute or CRS, Certified Residential Specialist. A small percentage of Realtors® will display more than one of these designations signifying their education level.
Production. It's a fair question to ask how many transactions the agent and their company participated in the previous year.
Performance. Ask to compare the time it took to sell a home compared to the average "days on the market" figure for comparative properties.
Ratio. You need to get a feel for what price your home will actually sell for so you want to ask about ratios of "asking price" to "selling price".
Advertising. You don't need a Realtor® who's only going to stick a sign in the yard and expect to sell your home. You can do that yourself and don't need to pay someone to do the same. You need to ask your perspective agent what kind of special systems or creative approaches they have to the market. Do they have a website? What kind of communications do they do with other agents? Are they going to do Open Houses? Do they take advantage of modern technology?
Exclusivity. Find out if the agent is representing you only or is it a possibility for them to also represent the buyer if that opportunity presents itself. In Florida the broker can be a Transaction Broker and represent both parties, but they need to explain to you very clearly the relationship and rights of both parties plus the responsibilities of the Realtor®.
Real Estate Agents, even if they're trying to be helpful, can get into trouble when recommending other people or businesses for you to work with during your transaction. Mortgage lenders, repair people, etc. will be needed, but usually it's recommended that the agent suggests three or more companies for your convenience and then you make the final decision after talking to all three. Keep this in mind when asking for help.
Support. Inquire about the company that your agent works for. Are they supportive, do they have modern technologies in place to assist in the transaction, is their staff knowledgeable and pleasant to work with, is a real estate attorney available? These are all questions that will make life a little easier when you know the answers.
When trying to buy or sell a home you are going to spend alot of time with your Realtor®. Part of the process should be trying to find a match with a person that you're comfortable with on many levels. What is their business philosophy and how does it match your expectations. Is a quick sale or purchase the most important approach or is continual customer service more important to achieve a stress free and positive transaction.
Communication. You are going to want to know what is going on with your purchase or sale. What kind of arrangements are going to be made to keep you up to date? How often do you want to be notified? Do want a direct phone call or will email updates be ok?
Ask for referrals of recent customers and their contact information.
If you follow these guidelines you'll find a real estate
agent that is knowledgeable, experienced, productive and energized
to help you in your transactions.
RUTH BETHEM, ABR, CRS, GRI, Realtor®