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Questions to ask to a real estate agent when buying a home

Monday, November 22, 2021   /   by Laura Larson

Questions to ask to a real estate agent when buying a home

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Picking an agent is one of the most critical issues that can cost or save you thousands of dollars. 
There are very specific questions you should ask to ensure that you have the best representation for your needs.

Some agents may prefer you not to ask these questions, because the knowledge you gain from their honest answers will give you a very good idea of what outcome you can expect from using this agent.

So think of it as a hiring process – with you on the boss’s side of the desk.

It‘s critical that you make the right decision about who’s going to handle what’s probably the biggest single financial investment you’ll ever make.

So the first question you need to ask is – What makes you different? Why should I list my home with you? The real estate market is even harder now than it was a decade ago. What unique market plans and programs does this agent have in place to ensure that your home stands out favorably against other competing homes? What are the things this agent can offer you that others don’t to help you sell your home for the least amount of time, with the least amount of trouble, and the most amount of money?

Next would be – what are your company’s track record and reputation in the marketplace? It might seem like everywhere you look, real estate agents boast that they’re # 1 for this or that, or that they’re mentioning the number of homes they’ve sold. You are probably immune to much of this information if you think – why should I care about how many homes this agent sold? Or – if you only care about whether they can sell your home quickly for the most amount of money. Well, because you want your home to be sold quickly and for the top dollar, you should ask the agents you’re interviewing how many homes they’ve sold.

Because it’s critical that you make the right decision about who will handle whatever property you have invested on. If one agent sells a lot of homes where another sells only a handful, ask yourself why it might be? What are these two agents doing differently? You might be surprised to know that many agents sell less than 10 homes a year. This volume makes it difficult for them to make a full marketing impact on your home because –   they can’t raise the money they need to pay for advertising and special programs to give your home a high profile. Also, at this rate, they probably can’t afford to hire an assistant, which means that they’re running around trying to do all the components of the job themselves, which means that the service may suffer.

Third question – What are your marketing plans for my home? How much money does this agent spend in advertising the homes s/he lists versus the other agents you are interviewing? In what media does this agent advertise? What does s/he know about the effectiveness of one medium over the other?

Question number 4 – What has your company sold in my area? Agents should provide you with a complete list of both their own and other comparable sales in your area.

Fifth question – Does your Broker control your advertising or do you? If your agent is not in control of their advertising, your home will compete for advertising space not only with this agent’s other listings but also with the listings of any other brokerage agent.

Next, you can ask them – On average, how close is the selling price to the asking price when your listing sells? This information can be obtained from the Real Estate Board. Is the performance of this agent higher or lower than the board average? Their performance on this measure will help you predict how high a price you will get for the sale of your home.

You can also ask them questions such as – on average, how long does it take for your listing to sell? This information is also available from the Real Estate Board. Does that agent tend to sell faster or slower than the board average? Their performance on this measure will help you predict how long your home will be on the market before it sells.

Question number 8 – How many Buyers are you currently working with? Ask them to describe the system they have for attracting buyers. This is because the more buyers your agent works with, the better your chances are on selling your home quickly. It will also have an impact on the price because an agent with many buyers can set up an auction-like atmosphere in which many buyers bid on your home at the same time.

Next, ask them if they have a reference of clients you can reach out to. Ask if they can show you a list and then proceed to spot-check some of the names.

Last but not least ask them questions about what happens if you’re not happy with the job they’re doing to get your home sold. Be wary of agents that lock you into a lengthy listing contract which they can get out of -by ceasing to effectively market your home, but you can’t. There are usually penalties and broker protection periods that safeguard the agent’s interests – but not yours. Ask the agent is he confident in the service he will provide. Is he willing to cancel your contract without penalty if you’re not satisfied with the service? Carefully evaluate each agent’s response to these questions and find out who will do the best job for you.