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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

(5) Questions to Ask Your Potential "Buyer's Agent"

So, you are first-time home buyer and you're thinking about buying a home.  And you want to know where to start.  One good place to start is knowing the right questions to ask when to comes to finding a good Realtor.

Here are some tips for you:

1.  How long have you been a Realtor? 

No, Longevity isn't everything, but it sure is right up there at the top.  Do you really want to be a new agent's guinea pig?  There are just things that new agents don't know and don't know they don't know.  Find out how long the agent you're considering hiring has been an agent AND how long they have been a full-time agent.

2. How many transactions do you do per year?

Again, numbers aren't everything.  However, if you are talking to an agent who answers "10 years" to the first question and answers "5" to this one you may want to keep looking.  Even in rough times most agents do 8-10-12 transactions a year.  Many agents even do much more than that.  Any agent worth his or her salt will answer this question for you.

3.  What type of people do you work with?

Now, I don't mean anything that has to do with a protected class here.  However, does the agent work with primarily buyers or sellers, or an equal amount of both?  Many buyers find a "popular local Realtor" and want to interview him/her, not realizing that many, if not most, successful Realtors work mostly with sellers, and occasionally practice dual agency.**  If you are a buyer shouldn't you be looking for an agent who primarily (or only) works with buyers?  Also, does this agent work in the areas and the price range you are interested in?  Many experienced agents like working with high-end buyers and tend to let someone on their "team" work with buyers who are looking for more moderate housing.  Find an agent what works with buyers mostly and that understands the type of buyer you are and who doesn't target only one "type" of buyer.  

4.  Why should I pick you?  What sets you apart from other Realtors?

I get asked this one sometimes.  Frankly, I'm surprised I don't get asked this more often.  When I interview somebody for a service I almost always ask them this question.  Realtors are quite varied in their education, style, personality and experience.  I think that Realtors are probably the most broadly represented group of people you will ever meet, at least that's been my experience.  Find out what your potential agent's strengths are.  Ask them what their "style" is when it comes to dealing with other Realtors.  Ask them how they handle conflict and how they deal with their client's needs.

 5.  How do you handle Dual Agency?

Yes, being a broker who only works with buyers I have to throw this one in there.  But, it truly is important.  Do you, a potential buyer,  know what Dual Agency is?  Do you know how it may affect you as a first-time buyer?  Did you know that the average buyer loses $5000 by using a Dual Agent?**  Do you understand the tightrope that dual agents must walk when practicing Dual Agency?  Do you understand WHY Dual Agency is not desirable to most buyers?  Do you realize how you can find yourself in a Dual Agency situation?  Find out if your potential agent handles this type of situation before it comes up! If your potential agent is partial to Dual Agency you may want to consider another option.
Of course, there are many questions you can and should ask any prospective Realtor.  But I think these (5) are probably the most important ones.  Most importantly, be prepared when you are interviewing a Realtor.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  Remember, it's an interview.  Don't let any Realtor who you may have the potential to work with take advantage of you or mislead you.  Be prepared!



Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing the information. That’s a awesome article you posted. I found the post very useful as well as interesting.I am looking for Low commission property sales and this blog is very helpful for me..Keep posting..

Unknown said...

Thanks for this article on what to look for in a realtor. I like that you mentioned asking about what makes them unique and sets them apart from the other realtors. I am a first time home buyer and am hoping to buy a home sometime in the next couple months. Hopefully I can find a great real estate agent by following your tips.

Unknown said...

Thanks for this summary! It's often intimidating for a new home buyer to rely on a real estate agent. They feel vulnerable because of their inexperience. Many have done research and believe they have it "figured out" on their own. The important thing to remember is that there are plenty of ways around initial objections. Your tips were very helpful.

Natalie Darcy said...

I agree that it is important to know how long someone has been in this business. While it is true that they have to start somewhere, that doesn't have to be with you. Often times I think that they can find a connection to be their first client and that works out better than someone random. Certainly there are amazing professionals who have a knack for this right from the start, but you can't deny that experience is usually indicative of a higher skill level. I will keep this in mind, thanks for the tip!