Photo by: American Home Shield
Are you ready to purchase a home but need to find a realtor? With so many realtors to choose from, there are certain real estate interview questions you can ask to help narrow down your list and ensure you select the best realtor.
1. How long have you been in the business, and when was your last successful transaction for a home buyer?
When you’re purchasing your first home, there’s nothing more valuable than working with a realtor who has the experience and knowledge you need. While experience is important, it’s also imperative that the realtor is currently active in the business and aware of the latest market trends and legalities to help educate the buyer.
2. What special qualifications or certifications do you have?br> There are a number of certifications for real estate professionals, and there’s a difference between a real estate professional and a realtor. You can research further via this article: "Real Estate Agents & REALTORS® - What is a REALTOR?." This will help provide additional insight as to whether or not you want to select a real estate agent or a realtor.
3.What can you tell me about the current state of the real estate market and the local areas of interest?
A realtor should be familiar with market trends, interest rates and other real estate market information to help guide you during the process. You can easily confirm what they’ve said by researching further online. Also, find out what specific areas or neighborhoods they primarily work in . Whether you live in a small or a big city, you want a realtor who is familiar with the desired location for your new home. Even if the area you’re considering isn’t a primary location where the realtor has sold most of their homes, there’s a chance they could still have additional insight and information about the preferred neighborhood you’re interested in.
4.What would you say is the first, most important step for the home buying process?
If your realtor suggests you go out looking for a home – no matter the sales price, location, etc. – then they are potentially leading you down a long, exhaustive path. The most efficient and logical thing to do is to get pre-approved so you can get a true idea of what to look for within your designated budget. Once you’re pre-approved and the search has officially begun, another great suggestion is to search the areas where homes are for sale. This can help save time and help narrow down your exhaustive list of potential houses for sale.
5. Do you charge any upfront fees?
Typically, realtors will not (and some would argue that they shouldn't) charge any upfront fees. Some states even consider this illegal. Most times, their fees are included within the down payment at closing. If the realtor suggests an upfront fee, you may want to consider a different realtor.
6. What method of communication do you utilize most, and how flexible is your schedule?
Timely responses, communication and organization are critical when it comes to the home buying process. The last thing you want is to delay the process because your realtor isn’t as responsive or organized as they need to be. The same is true and just as, if not more, important as it relates to your lender. It’s important that their schedule is somewhat flexible as well so they can plan accordingly to accommodate your schedule.
7. On average, how long does the home buying process usually take for you and your clients?
The process is different for everyone and there are a lot of moving pieces, so knowing upfront how long the process can take is useful for the overall planning. For example, my husband and I were on a strict deadline when we started looking for our house. Hence, our realtor was able to tell us from the start whether or not our time frame was realistic, and all potential delays were communicated throughout the process.
8.Will you represent the buyer and the seller during the transaction?
Although it’s not illegal for realtors to represent both parties, it’s more beneficial for you as the buyer if the agent only represents you. It’s less hectic for the realtor, and you can rest easy knowing the realtor has your back and is acting in your best interest.
9. Will you provide referrals and recommendations for lenders, home inspectors, contractors, etc.?
If the realtor has been doing this long enough, it’s likely they will have a number of resources in a variety of fields. Oftentimes, the realtors have lasting relationships with these professionals and have worked well together for some time. This can help make the process go smoother and possibly yield cheaper rates for certain services. Just make sure you research the companies’ background and work if you’re not as familiar with the names they recommend.
Related: Home Inspections, Waste of Money or Necessity?
10. Are you active on social media and if so, where?
Social media plays a huge role for many realtors. If possible, be sure to check out their pages via LinkedIn, Facebook and/or websites. There’s a good chance you can find out the types of clients they’ve worked with in the past, get an idea of the types of homes they’ve sold and even find out the average price ranges for homes they generally sell. Also, see if you can find any reviews online for the realtor you’re considering. Online reviews are a great way to learn more about a potential realtor, but when in doubt, a referral from friends and family is usually the best way for selecting an agent.
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