5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Real Estate Agent

Woman interviews real estate agent

5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Real Estate Agent

When spring rolls around, the market for homes typically starts building steam as buyers shed the winter blues and move at full throttle toward finding their new home. As the weather warms, housing inventory and competition for homes tend to spike as well. In all reality, navigating the market and the nitty-gritty details of contracts isn’t for most people, so this is where a real estate agent can make all the difference. Whether you’re selling or buying a home, agents can bring numerous benefits to the table. Those benefits include but are not limited to landing more lucrative home sales than FSBO homes generally do.

Like with anything, you’ll want to look around and winnow out professionals with a proven track record of success. The easiest way to go about this is to ask your social media sphere for referrals. Once you see a few names pop up multiple times, give them a call and set up a time to go over some questions. You can interview them by phone or arrange a time to meet in person.

If you’re selling your home, beware of any lofty promises an agent makes only to get your business. A reputable real estate agent will explain the many factors that go into the listing price, including comparable listings and average number of days on the market. Here are some invaluable questions you will want to ask when vetting an agent.

How many homes have you sold in my neighborhood in the past year or two?

This is a great way to compare different agents’ experiences on the local market with your type of property and your price range. Agents with a lot of experience selling homes like yours will likely know your target market best and zero in on more qualified buyers.

How many sellers (or buyers) are you representing right now?

This query will help you gauge whether an agent’s services are in high demand. Of course, as much as a busy schedule might be an indicator of success, you still want to make sure your agent is responsive and communicative on all aspects of the selling process.

What’s your marketing plan for my property?

Besides the basic step of putting your home on the multiple listing service (MLS), ask your prospective Realtors what strategies they have for reaching a broader spectrum of potential buyers. Whether an agent plans to advertise online or in local newspapers, place signs throughout the neighborhood, or host an open house, he or she should be able to explain what works best for your property and why.

How would you price my home?

All real estate agents should give you a comparative market analysis (CMA). By looking at the comps, you can determine if they’re solid or not.

What does your contract entail?

At your first meeting with an agent, be sure to hold on to a copy of the listing agreement before you sign it. It’s important you read and understand the terms and conditions ahead of time. Remember the terms for listing agreements are negotiable. Typically, three months is the length of contract recommended by most consumer outlets, but that’s often contingent on the property and the market situation. You can also ask for the right to early termination if you’re not satisfied with the services.

For more ideas and any additional assistance, contact one of our loan officers today!

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