Not all agents are created equal – so whether you’re looking to buy or sell a house this coming year, there are a few things you’ll want ask your agent before you get started.
You deserve a real estate agent who has appropriate experience to represent your needs and interests. Is your agent a licensed Realtor; are they a full-time agent working with a reputable company or is this something they do in their ‘spare’ time? How many clients do they serve in a year? Are they familiar with the area you’re looking at? These kinds of questions will give you an idea as to how active your agent is in the real estate world.
What are the agent’s standard commission rates and what are the other costs to expect in the process? Home sellers generally pay the commission on the property (divided between the selling and buying agent) but even a percentage point difference in a commission rate can affect what you ultimately pay on the sale of your home, so it’s important to know that ahead of time.
What plans does your agent have for marketing your home? Effective real estate agents are also marketing professionals who use all possible channels to market and promote your property for sale. Find out what they plan to do for your home.
On average, when the agent’s listings sell, how close is the selling price to the asking price? Is this agent’s performance higher or lower than average? Their performance on this measurement will help you predict how high a price you will get for the sale of your home.
On average, how long does it take for your agent’s listings to sell? Does this agent tend to sell faster or slower than average? Their performance on this will help you predict how long your home will be on the market before it sells.
The Financial Piece
Your agent should be knowledgeable about the financing process and mortgage loans options available to you. You should ask them about tax and insurance policies that may impact your purchase. Also ask about the agent’s experience making tough negotiations. Is your agent going to work hard to get you the best price on a home?
Ask for them. Especially if you are new to the area, you will want to interview a variety of agents and talk to their references. You will be able to narrow down your preferred list by speaking with some former clients and finding out from them, how satisfied they were with their agent and their buying/selling process.
Buying or selling a home is a complex process most people do only a few times in their lives. Hiring the right real estate agent from a reputable company can provide the best edge in a home sale or purchase. Take your time…ask a lot of questions, and you’ll find the right agent for your needs.
The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.