When you are about to buy or sell a home, it is extremely easy to find an agent. It seems like just about everyone and his dog is a real estate agent. Finding an agent to represent you will be no problem whatsoever. However, the problem is in getting the right person. It is imperative to make this selection right. For example, if you saw an ad on a bus, you could quickly note it down. However, you must use different means as well. You could ask for referrals and other methods.
The main thing is not to just go with the first person you talk to. You need to think of this like hiring a person for a job opening. That means you need to speak to several agents, perhaps three or four, before making up your mind on picking the best real estate agent for you. Below is a list of questions to ask a real estate agent:
1. Can I get testimonials from past clients?
This is definitely one question you need to ask. This will tell you what the agent’s previous clients have to say. If the agent has nothing to fear or hide, they should be confident in providing you with this information. It is very easy for an agent to put up fake testimonials on their website.
Who checks these things? Is there really an Internet police? An agent can put flashing stars on their website and claim all kinds of things. The only way is to contact their previous clients and hear it for yourself. If an agent stalls or is unwilling or unable to provide contact information, do not use him or her.
2. What Is the Neighbourhood Like?
If you are in the market for a house in a specific neighbourhood, ask the agent, “What’s going on in the neighbourhood?” and they should be able to tell you. If they can’t, that’s a red flag. They should be able to tell you other bits of information as well; for example, if it is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. A full-time real estate agent (and a good one at that) must be able to give you information and numbers. The best real estate agents will be familiar with the area and know what’s going on. If not, be on your guard.
3. What Is Your Area of Expertise?
These are good questions to ask a real estate agent, because there are some who will take on anything and everything. This will more than likely mean that they are not going to be an expert in anything. The old saying about jack of all trades and master of none rings true in this situation.
If this is the case, then this scenario is not going to be too helpful to you. If an agent concentrates on specific areas, such as specializing in condos, then if you are buying a condo, they can really help. You know that they probably know condos inside out and can get you a great deal somewhere in the transaction. Whatever you are looking for; house, apartment, condo; make sure to use an agent who specializes in that one thing.
4. Do They Own A Home?
Ask your agent if they have ever bought their own home before. Whenever we go through something ourselves, we tend to understand it more. We feel more for something if we’ve experienced it ourselves. If an agent has bought a property of their own, then they will know how you feel. They will know the stresses and anxieties you are going through. They will be more likely to give you better help and understanding, as well as timely advice. It would be better to use an agent who has been there and done that.
5. Industry Designations
One of the questions to ask a real estate agent is if they have any industry designations. For example, there is the LREB, or Licensed Real estate Broker, CNE or Certified Negotiation Expert and so on. This shows that they are serious about this industry and about what they do. They have taken the initiative to gain expertise in a specific area, an area that could hold great advantages for you. Not only has this agent shown that he or she wants to stand out in their field, but you will also feel more confident in the outcome.
6. How Many Buyers Do They Have?
Ask the agent how many buyers they are working with. If they are juggling many at the same time, you may not be able to get the level of service you want. It’s almost like you are just a number to them. You want to feel special. You want them to be able to give you 100 percent. With too many on the go, they will have to divide their attention to everyone and not just you.
Remember to ask them for references. Also, ask them if they are keeping their skills and market knowledge up to date. This is a huge investment on your part. You want to come out on top.