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The real estate market is rebounding nicely and with a hot housing market, plenty of people will be looking for Real Estate Agents and REALTORS ® to help buy and sell their homes. But how do you know who to trust with the biggest investment of your life?
Don’t fret, there are several very simple questions that can help you eliminate those who are posing as someone who is in real estate for a quick buck, and those who have a genuine interest in helping you buy or sell your home.
If you are looking into finding a REALTOR® (whether you’re buying or selling), this is a good list of questions you can ask to help narrow down REALTOR® the who will best represent your interests. First all REALTORS® are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. REALTORS® agree to a code of ethics, invest in their local real estate boards & industry to help their clients. REALTORS ® close more transactions on average and do a higher dollar volume than agents who elect not to.
- How long have you been in the real estate business?
Experience isn’t always a guarantee that your real estate agent is going to be good, but it’s a good indicator to see how long they’ve been in real estate. Conversely, a newbie selling real estate isn’t always the worst option, but understand that they have less experience in negotiation techniques and dealing with the issues that arise from handling many transactions.
- How many assistants do you have working for you or do you have on your team?
The more people the REALTOR® has, the better you can feel about your property being represented. It also gives you someone you can talk to if you only have a brief question that doesn’t necessarily need the attention of your real estate agent. It also gives you a good idea of how invested the realtor will be in helping you.
- Has anyone ever sued you over a real estate transaction or lodged a complaint against you?
When it comes to large sums of money (like the kind involved in real estate), you can’t stop people from suing you or lodging a complaint. Statistically the more people you serve, the more opportunity for there to be an issue somewhere along the line. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask. If they’ve been found negligent, then it’s probably best to move on. If there has been a complaint, make sure you understand the details that led to the complaint and make your judgment based on that. Again, you are looking for honest communication. No one is perfect, but you are looking for someone who can communicate and take responsibility for their actions.
- How much experience do you have with investment properties?
If you’re looking to buy a home for investment purposes, then it’s better for you to deal with someone who knows the area and what sort of investment properties that will gain in value over time. If they are used to dealing solely with normal homebuyers, then it’s probably a better idea to deal with someone who knows the area when it comes to investing and which neighborhoods are up and coming. This is where other intangibles like school districts and crime rates aren’t as relevant.
- Can you provide references of people who have done business with you in the past?
You wouldn’t hire anyone without references at your own business, so why would you trust someone with a large investment like buying a home? Check their references, or get a referral from someone you trust. Finding someone who has had success in the past and has a proven track record is really the best way to get business done in a timely manner. Also make sure that the reference is within the past year. Some agents were great a long time ago, but lost their edge in the challenging market of the past few years.
- What sort of working hours do you keep?
Finally, ask them when they’re available to contact if you have any questions about properties or scheduling appointments. They’re working for you, so make sure that they’re available when you are. Not everyone has the same schedule, so if you’re getting off at work at 7:30pm and you want to know what’s going on with your properties, you’ll want to find someone who will answer the phone when you call.
Finding a real estate agent is as much about you as it is them. Ask the right questions and you’ll find the best agent to represent your interests!