Buying or selling a home is a big deal. For most, it’s the largest financial transaction of their lives, and too many people embark on this journey with blind trust for their real-estate agent. Now, don’t get me wrong, we want you to trust us, but it’s also really important to work with an agent that can help you get it right. Choosing the right agent could not only mean several thousand dollars more in your pocket but more importantly, whether or not you actually accomplish your goal of buying or selling your home.
Plus, the right agent can make all the stress of buying or selling a home go away.
Here are 10 questions you can ask your real estate agent before you sign anything.
1. Can I see your real estate credentials?
Don’t overlook this question! Anybody can print some business cards or take out an ad in the paper. Great graphic design doesn’t mean you’re working with a credentialed broker. Your agent should be able to show you a current state-issued realtor’s license. They might also be part of a local real-estate trade association. This is key so that they can access the MLS database, or official multiple-listing service, for you.
Finally, they may be a member of other official realtors organization like the National Association of Realtors®. If they are, it’s a major bonus because that means they’ve received extra training.
2. How much are other homes like mine selling for right now and why?
Don’t be scared to grill your agent about market trends and average home costs, and if the answers they give you seem vague or don’t inspire you with confidence, push for a solid answer.
A reputable, full-time real estate agent should be able to estimate you what your home is worth quickly.
If you’re listing your home, discuss how they choose your listing price and make sure they’re aware of any upgrades or extras that might be unique to your home.
3. How much will it cost to buy or sell my home?
While you may not be writing a check to sell your home, there are costs and fees that come out of the final sale price. There are a lot of moving parts during the purchase or sale of a home and you deserve to dive into the numbers. Ask about closing costs, commissions and any other fees for services they offer.
4. Do you work full-time or part-time selling real estate?
Real estate is a very popular industry, but only a small percentage of agents are full time. Our entire team is full-time and dedicated to you. While you can be a very successful part-time agent, there’s a tremendous amount of experience and day-to-day knowledge that becomes part of your routine when you are on the clock every single day.
5. What can you tell me about properties in my neighborhood?
Your goal here is to assess how familiar your real estate agent is with the neighborhood. If you’re selling your home, does your agent know about comparable properties or how long it’s taking homes to sell? If you’re buying, do they know about neighborhood highlights, school districts or property values?
6. What is the process you’ll follow for buying or selling my home?
If you’re new to buying or selling a property, you might now know what to expect. Between viewings, inspections, offers, negotiations and a mountain of paperwork, there are plenty of things that will need your attention. Find out what you can expect, when you need to be available or things you need to be aware of. Your real estate agent should be able to provide you with some guidelines or an estimated timeline that outlines the process.
7. How do you plan on marketing my home?
If you’re signing an exclusive agreement with an agent to sell your home, make sure you’re getting the best possible platform for getting your home seen. Ask if they have a website, a social media strategy or an email marketing plan. Are they listing your home on the MLS? How do they leverage their experience as Real Estate professional to sell your home?
8. How many homes did you sell last year, and where were they?
Real estate is a competitive business and the top 1% of real estate agents sell 95% of the houses. The average part-time real estate agent may sell 6-8 homes a year. The top 1% will sell close to 100.
When an agent is selling more homes, they usually have more resources to dedicate to you. They may have a larger team; more sophisticated software; a well-refined process; strong connections to lenders, inspectors and other agents; and ultimately have the level of experience you deserve when trusting someone with a life-changing transaction.
9. Why should I hire you as my real-estate agent?
When you ask your potential agent WHY, you get an insight into their confidence, ability, and process as a realtor. Go ahead, ask me!
10. What other additional services do you offer?
Each and every agent does things a little differently so this is a great way to set expectations. It’s reasonable to ask your real estate agent if they can guide you through some of the following items:
- Introduce you to a lender
- Help you refinance to release equity for your purchase
- Recommend the types of inspections you need
- Tell you how to stage your home
- List your home on the MLS
- Feature your home on their website
- Leverage social media on your behalf
- Recommend repairs or improvements before you buy or list your home
If you’d like someone to talk to who really knows Kansas City real estate inside and out, then I’d be happy to answer each of these questions and find out how I can help you move in, or out, of your home.