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Find a Real Estate Agent with 12 Questions

 When it comes to buying or selling your home, you want to find a real estate agent who will work for you diligently and with integrity.  Here are 12 questions you should ask to make sure you choose a REALTOR® who with excellent  service which matches your goals.

1. How long have you been buying and selling homes? Is this your full-time job?  Like many other jobs, the do’s and don’ts of real estate comes with experience.  Although there is no guarantee of success, it is generally better to hire an agent who has had years of experience.

2. What credentials do you have?  Credentials and designations show that an agent has had formal training in the real estate industry.  For example, an agent requires specialized training before they have have the GRI and CRS® designations.  Only about 25% of real estate practitioners hold GRI and CRS.

3. How many properties did you sell last year?  This question helps you gauge how much experience the person has in completing a sales transaction from beginning to end.  It might also give you an idea as to how long it will take to have your house bought/sold.

4. On average, how many days does it take to sell a home? How does that compare to other homes in other neighborhoods?  A good REALTOR® should be able to give you these numbers quickly.  Market statistics from  local MLS and in-house information from the brokerage is readily available and the realtor should be able to explain it to you at a moment’s notice.  Anyone who needs to “go back to the office to check” isn’t doing their homework.

5. For the houses you sold, what was the final sale price compared to the initial asking prices? The answer to this question will tell you how skilled the REALTOR® is at pricing homes, marketing to shoppers, and negotiating with buyers.  There are always circumstances which will affect the final sale price, but it is still a indication of what you will get if you choose to hire the REALTOR® .

6. What marketing strategies do you use to sell houses? Modern day home buyers use the internet to inform themselves before they start shopping.  How will this real estate agent market your home so it stands up and beyond all the other houses available?  It’s not good enough to put up a “For Sale” sign and hope for the best.  Your agent should have a proven strategy which is aggressive and innovative so your property is marketed competitively.

7. Will you work for me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction? In most states, it is legal for one agent to represent both the buyer and the seller, but it’s important for you to understand where the agent’s obligations lie. Your REALTOR® should explain his/her agency relationship and the rights of each party.

8. Can you recommend people to help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and other details? An agent who has worked in the industry for a few years should know who to call when services and repairs are needed.   The agent should also tell you if they have a relationship or agreement with the service provider.  For example, is the repairman a good repairman, or is it his cousin Joey?

9. What type of support does your brokerage office provide? Some real estate agents can work solo, but having help from an in-house support staff can be useful.  Brokerages often have access to a real estate attorney and additional computer technologies which will help sell your home quickly and at a good price.

10. What’s your business philosophy? There is no correct answer to this question, but the answer will help you determine what is important to the agent and whether that coincides with what is important to you.  You want to find a real estate agent who has integrity and ethics that matches yours.

11. How often will you contact me about the progress of my transaction?  Some agents will contact you three times a day while others will touch bases only if there is a potential client.  Similarly, some sellers want to hear every offer even if it is below their asking price, while other sellers only want to be contacted when there is a serious offer from a legitimate buyer.  Communication can be by email, telephone, text, face to face meeting, fax, or other means.  Figure out where you are and whether the agent works within your comfort zone.

12. Can you give me the names & phone numbers of 3 clients? Probably the best way to know a real estate agent is to ask previous clients what they think.  Ask for references and check them out.  Be courteous and polite;  people will be happy to tell you about their experience.

find a real estate agent Contact Agata Kowalczyk to learn more about how to find a real estate agent: 973-460-8731 or by email: aggie@aggiekowalczyk.com