Questions to ask, if you are a question asker
Some people like asking questions. Others go with their gut. From my experience, most people exercise a decision making process that includes both pragmatism and emotion. Still, when it comes to choosing a Realtor, you want to be patting yourself on the back at the end of the transaction rather than banging your head against the wall wondering who in the world you chose to represent you. “Why the heck is Dave skiing in Aspen every time I need to get a hold of him??” (True story, the name has been changed to protect the skier, I mean the Realtor, I mean the skier.)
Seriously, ever wonder what questions you should ask at the beginning of a transaction to prevent this type of regret after you have bought or sold a home? There are a million websites out there with recommendations on what to ask. Personally, I like these questions because they give you a sense of whether you are working with a full-time professional who has a firm grasp of the current market.
If you are looking to sell your home, might I suggest these questions:
What needs to be done to my home to sell it quickly, for the most money?
How can you and your team help me get my home ready to sell?
What would you suggest as a list price?
What is your marketing plan?
Please give me examples of how effective your marketing plan is.
How is the market right now? Are houses like mine selling quickly?
What should I expect in terms of the process?
What are your brokerage fees and how can I get an idea of my proceeds at settlement with the range of list prices we have discussed?
When you are buying, here are some questions to think about asking any agent you interview: (As a side note, only one of these questions should render a one word (or percentage) answer).
What is the market like right now?
If I’m pre-approved for X amount, can I afford to buy the type of property I want in Y neighborhood?
What’s a good 30 year mortgage rate on a conventional loan right now? (Even if you aren’t using a conventional loan, this is a good solid “test” question.)
Should I expect to pay full list price for a property in Y neighborhood, or can I offer less than asking?
Do sellers usually pay closing costs?
We found a house that we love and don’t want to look at any others. Is that crazy?
If you are out of town and the perfect house comes on the market, will you have someone available to show it to us?
If we are looking in a competitive area, how can you help us see properties before they are listed on the MLS?
What happens if we find a home we think we love, ratify a contract, and then change our minds?
Truth be told, a lot of people already know a great agent. If you are friends with one, you should expect them to work really hard for you and care deeply about the outcome. But it is also okay to ask some questions, to feel like you are giving them the opportunity to give you as much knowledge as you want and need about expectations, about the process, and about the market.
If you are more of a traditionalist and don’t like mixing business with friendship, that’s fine too. Comfort is king when it comes to one of the biggest decisions a person can make. But whatever you do, maybe watch out for some of these red flags: