A common line in the real estate industry is that “buyers’ agents are free.” “Don’t worry,” salespersons say, “you don’t have to pay a thing for me to represent you.” While it is certainly true that the seller is typically responsible for compensating the agents that help sell their home, the quality of the agent representing you has a direct impact on the amount you pay for your home; and when we are talking about a massive purchase like a home, mistakes can cost you thousands of dollars.
Therefore, as a potential home buyer, you must be very careful and selective when it comes to choosing the person you want to represent you. There is too much money on the line and too much that can go wrong during the home purchasing process. Here are some important questions to ask the real estate professional you are interviewing for the job of guiding you through the home purchasing process:
1. How many clients have you helped purchase a home in the past 24 months?
Professional agents work in the world of real estate on a daily basis. A good, consistent agent will have closed an average of two purchases per month (this number is based on personal experience).
2. Can you provide me with a list of client references?
As with any other professional, a good agent should not have an issue providing you with references. If they do good work, their client references will reflect that.
3. Do I need to enter into a signed agreement with you?
Is that agreement binding? Are they any early termination fees?
When using an agent to enter into a sales contract, the agent will often have you sign an exclusive right to represent buyer agreement. This agreement states that you will not use another agent or broker during your purchase. This agreement will outline whether or not you will be expected to pay any early termination fees. Your agent should disclose this information should you ask.
4. How are you paid? Are there any hidden fees that I am responsible for paying you?
Buyer’s agent commission is part of the seller’s closing costs. You should not be responsible for paying your agent’s commission. If your agent charges any other fees, they should disclose them.
5. Do you practice real estate full-time?
Most professional agents practice real estate full-time, and if you are able to make a living full-time in the real estate industry chances are you know what you are doing, and represent people well. Some professionals do practice part-time and have a lot of experience. Just make sure you are clear on a professional’s experience.
6. How will you help me find the right property for me? What is your process?
Professional real estate agents will listen to what you want and need in a home. They will be able to translate that into tangible properties that you will be able to tour and decide for yourself if they are a good fit. Listen to their answer to this question and decide for yourself whether or not you feel their process meets your needs.
7. Do you have reputable lenders, home inspectors, settlement agents, that you can refer to me?
Can you provide me with those contacts?
The answer to this question should undoubtedly be “yes.” A good agent should work with other reliable people in the field and they should not have an issue providing them as references.
8. Can you tell me about your business?
How do you work? What are your processes? Do you work alone or does anyone work with you?
This is another question that should help you gauge how you feel about the agent in general. Are they thorough in their response? Does their response raise any red flags for you? This is all important to keep in mind.
9. Is now a good time to buy? Or should I wait? How is the market?
A good agent will always be aware of the current state of the real estate market. If they cannot answer this question, it is not recommended to use that agent.
10. What separates you from other agents? Why should I use you?
You should feel confident about working with this agent after asking these questions. Do they set themselves apart from the rest? Do they come off as just another salesman or are they a true home professional?
During this interview you should be very aware of these things:
- Does the agent communicate well? How they communicate with you is how they will communicate with the listing agent and seller. How they present themselves is how they will represent you and present your offer.
- Are they able to give you clear and professional answers? Do they know what they are talking about? Professional agents work on their craft daily, they should be able to answer these basic questions very easily.
- Gauge how you feel overall during the process. Do you like this person? Do you want to spend a good amount of time with this person over the next few months, year, etc.?
- The agent you choose will be helping you through one of the biggest decisions in your lifetime. Do your due diligence and make sure that it is someone you can trust to do their absolute best to make it a smooth and positive experience.
Do you have further questions, or are you looking to get started in the home buying process? Give us at Stello Homes a call – we will make sure you are represented and properly guided by a Home Professional.
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