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Questions to ask when hiring a realtor

By Danny Margagliano | January 27, 2021

Buyers and sellers are on opposite sides of the table in home sales. As the buyer, your concern is getting the best house at the lowest price possible while the seller wants to sell at the highest price. However, the goal remains the same for both parties - the home has to be sold. Besides the price, there are so many steps involved in the process. That's why both parties will benefit from hiring a real estate agent.

Before deciding on the real estate agent to hire, you have to conduct an interview. This can be done over the phone or during a face-to-face meeting. However, don't expect the real estate agent to drive to your home if there is no assurance that you'll hire him/her. Additionally, the interview questions should be confined to certain areas that are directly related to the job. All critical issues need to be covered during the interview. These are the questions to ask to separate the average real estate agents from the best ones when you are hiring:

How long have you been a real estate agent?

It isn't a big deal to be a new real estate agent. A little experience will fix that. However, much depends on the training the professional has undergone and whether he/she has had great mentors. There isn't a real estate school that will offer a degree in handling problems that will come up during transactions. The more real estate experience an agent has the more likely the agent will be able to navigate you to the closing table smoothly.

Agents have a lot to learn on the job. The more sales the professional has completed the more challenges he has had to battle hence increasing his knowledge and skills in problem-solving. Therefore, the number of years the realtor has been active in the field will give you a glimpse of how good he is in handling the transactions,

What’s the average list-price to the sale-price ratio?

The average ratio for the real estate agent will be determined by several factors. The best real estate agents know how to negotiate for a lower price than the asking price. You want to ask both the listing agent and a buyers agent about their list price to sale price ratio. It will give you a good idea of how this agent compares with others in the market. Be careful to only use this as a tool and not as a final decision-maker. There are certain aspects that cannot be changed like the current market conditions.

How does the real estate plan to meet your needs?

Will the real estate agent be handling the house hunting process? On average, how many houses do you have to see before you find your dream home?  If the agent specializes in condos but you're looking for a house you need to know this. Are there other buyers you will be competing against and how will the agent go about multiple offers? Getting answers to these questions in advance helps you determine whether the real estate agent will be the right fit for you or not.

Can the real estate agent provide references?

If the agent has hundreds of reviews online you don't necessarily need to ask for references. However, you need to insist on that if you are dealing with a new agent or someone who doesn't have a lot of online reviews. Also, ask if it is okay to call them should you have additional questions in the future. It allows you to get a good idea of who you are dealing with so that you can make an informed decision.

Don't forget the most obvious place for references or reviews which is Google. You should Google the agent's name. When you do so there should be some websites that have information about the realtor and possibly about their past transactions.

Why are you better than the competition?

This is a no-brainer and the best real estate agents won't hesitate to give you an answer. Everyone has standards but you need an agent who is an excellent negotiator, assertive, trustworthy, and honest. If you can always reach the agent via e-mail or phone he/she is likely to be a good communicator. 

Someone who has a good sense of humor or friendly is a great option as well because negotiations can be tense. A good laugh will put everyone back in a good mood and allow the negotiations to proceed peacefully. You need to think about the qualification and characteristics you value the most.

How much will you charge?

All real estate fees are negotiable. Most agents will charge between 5% and 6% for listing and selling at home. But some agents will charge more or less. Consider your budget to determine the rates you are comfortable with. Also, don't just take the percentage and run with it. Do the math and get the actual figures. When you get the actual amount you will make a better decision.  You can also ask the agent to get you a seller's net sheet from a title company.  This will show an estimation of all the fees and charges associated with the sale of your house and how much money should go into your pocket. 

What guarantees are you offering?

Can you back out of the deal once you realize that you aren't happy with the arrangement? Does the real estate agent stand behind his service to you? What's the company policy regarding the cancellation of an agreement? Has anyone ever canceled an agreement? What was the procedure and how did it turn out. It is not always unicorns and rainbows and you need to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

Author bio:

Danny Margagliano is a realtor along the beautiful beaches of Santa Rosa Beach and Destin, Florida.  He specializes in beachfront condos for out-of-town investors looking to purchase vacation rental properties.  Margagliano has over a decade of real estate experience.  When not working he enjoys going to the beach with the family and going to the farmers market.

Additional real estate resources

It doesn't matter what you doing, no one wants to make a mistake. Kyle Hiscock has written some great tips for mistakes to avoid as a first-time homebuyer.

Many people are uncertain about who pays a realtor. Some think the buyer pays the realtor, some think the seller pays the realtor, and others believe that the realtors brokerage pays them. To find out exactly how a realtor gets paid read what Joe Boylan has put together about realtor commissions.

Have you ever wondered what responsibilities realtors have for their clients? Paul Sian shows readers a list of duties realtors perform for their buyers or sellers.

Danny Margagliano has over a decade of experience in the real estate industry.He works for 30a Local Properties in Santa Rosa Beach on the beautiful Emerald Coast of Florida.He specializes in working with residential investment properties and second homes.Danny also is the owner and founder of the Internet marketing company for real estate agents, Web Tech SEO.He’s a former professional surfer as well as a firefighter paramedic.
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