7 Questions to Ask a Realtor Before Signing On
Finding a Realtor is easy; finding one you can trust takes work.
When you hire a Realtor to help you find and purchase a home, you may have to sign a contract. Read it thoroughly before signing. Look for a duration or cancellation policy. You both enter into an agreement with the best intentions, but if it isn’t working, you don’t want to be stuck. Finding a Realtor you like means asking a lot of questions. Here are the top seven to ask:
- What’s your experience?
Asking questions about your Realtor’s past experience can reveal quite a bit about him or her. Realtors learn a lot on the job, so more years of experience can translate into better skills — sometimes. Ask about specialties, certifications or designations, such as being a Certified Residential Specialist or having a Green Designation. Also, finding a Realtor who’s full-time is better than finding one who’s part-time.
- What can I expect from you?
Ask how many homes the Realtor’s helped people buy last year. Busy Realtors are the most efficient. Ask how long the average process took. The answer not only lets you know what to expect; it also lets you compare this answer to others. Find out if the Realtor will call you every day, send weekly emails or only contact you when there’s news. A good Realtor may even ask you how often you want to be kept informed.
- What’s your plan to help me buy a home?
Every Realtor will show you houses, but will he or she show all the houses that match your criteria and only those houses that match your criteria? If the Realtor is more knowledgeable about certain neighborhoods, find out if those neighborhoods match where you want to live.
- Can you recommend reputable service providers?
You’ll definitely need a home inspector, but you may need other services. Is the Realtor connected to other professionals in the community? Will he or she, for example, refer you to an independent mortgage lender like Prime Mortgage Lending of West Asheville? Can the Realtor recommend a trusted handyman, roofer, electrician and/or plumber?
- Can you provide a comparative market analysis (CMA) and a list of homes currently available?
This question not only gives you information you need to make a qualified offer on a house, but it also shows the Realtor is willing to do the work to keep you satisfied. The CMA outlines current market conditions, whether the market is rising or falling and what the average and median home prices are.
- Why should I hire you?
This question puts the Realtor on the spot. After all, finding a Realtor is a lot like a job interview. Besides, you want to know whether your Realtor handles buyers only or both buyers and sellers. It’s often legal for one Realtor to handle both sides of a real estate transaction, but you definitely want to know that up front.
- Can you supply references?
Ideally, you should talk to the last three clients the Realtor helped. Do any of them have any complaints? Were there any problems with the process? Would they hire the Realtor again? Finding a Realtor who’s trustworthy is worth the extra time and effort it takes to talk to any previous clients.