The path to finding a home and locating a broker has certainly changed over the last 15-or-so years. In days gone by, realtors kept a printed list of homes for sale with them as they showed their clients all the latest listings in the area.
Today’s buyers (over 90% of them) have completed much of the decision making process by selecting the homes they would like to see online. Power house real estate websites such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin not only display the homes available for sale but offer valuable tips on home selling and buying.
As in any investment or contractual situation, expert advice is crucial to a smooth transaction. Buying or selling a home for most people is often the biggest financial investment in their lifetime, so it only makes sense to be choosy about who will represent you.
So, knowing this, just exactly how does one choose the right realtor? What questions should you ask? We’ve compiled a list for you to use in your next buying or selling adventure!
1) What kind of experience do you have?
For sellers, a more seasoned realtor will be familiar with the local market, enabling her or him to give you a more accurate comparable market analysis (CMA). They will also have more experience in guiding you through the negotiation process should you need it. For buyers, a knowledgeable realtor can guide you to the right home for your lifestyle and help protect you from purchasing mistakes.
2) Can you share some references with me?
Most realtors have published reviews online, but don’t hesitate to ask for direct contact with a former client.
3) How will we communicate with each other?
Some realtors work part-time, some work full-time, and some seem to respond no matter what day of the week it is. If your work schedule is unique, nail down the best channels (cell, email, text, Skype, Facetime) and times to communicate with your prospective realtor before you hire them.
4) How will you market my property?
Today’s local market pricing is still sensitive, which means aggressive marketing tactics can make all the difference in getting a home sold. Options may include: print advertising, internet ads, social media, home staging, virtual staging, virtual tours, open houses and broker open houses. Find an agent that has multiple sources of advertising and can offer a variety of ideas for your marketing plan.
5) How will you help me in this process of buying/selling?
Buyers – realtors should be there for you from “contract to close”. You may look at 5-30 homes in multiple towns before submitting an offer. Sellers – realtors need to provide assistance in listing and marketing your home until a solid contract is written. Realtors can also be a great resource when locating professionals such as home inspectors, radon mitigation companies, lawyers, financing options and much more.
6) What was your sales volume last year?
Every successful salesperson tracks their numbers. Whether you choose someone who juggles many transactions or only works with one client at a time, the important thing is that you feel they have what it takes to help you reach your goal. Past sales are a sign of experience and motivation.
7) What are the current market conditions for the area and what do you see for next year?
A knowledgeable agent should be able to respond to this easily and confidently. He or she will be able to show you the most recent data available and provide insight to your specific market.
8) Why do you feel you would be the best realtor for me?
You may be working with a Realtor for 3-6 months before you sell or buy a home, (it may feel like a short-term marriage, ha!) so choose someone you like and feel will provide excellent service to you.
We understand that buying or selling a home is a tremendous experience both emotionally and financially. That’s why we always encourage you to take the time to find someone you like and feel you can trust. At American Realty, we all know there’s no place like home!