10 Questions to Ask Your Realtor about Buying a Property
Knowing whether or not your agent practices full time can help you determine potential scheduling conflicts and his or her commitment to your transaction. As with any profession, the number of years a person has been in the business does not necessarily reflect the level of service you can expect, but it is a good starting point for your discussion. The same issue can apply to professional designations.
It is not uncommon for agents who sell a lot of properties to hire people to work with them. They typically work on a referral basis, and, as their businesses grow, they must be able to deliver the same or higher quality service to more people.
You may want to know who on the team will take part in your transaction, and what role each person will play. You may even want to meet the other team members before you decide to work with the team. If you have a question about fees on your closing statement, who would handle that? Who will show up to your closing?
Many property buyers prefer to search online for homes because it’s available 24 hours a day and you can do it in the privacy of your own location. By searching your real estate agent's Website you will get a clear picture of how much work you would be able to accomplish online.
Some real estate companies do offer their buyers' agents a higher commission if they are able to sell "in-house" listings. In such circumstances, there can be added incentive to limit the range of properties you are shown. This may impact your home search and how much your buyer agent's fee will be.
The goal here is to ascertain to whom the real estate agent has legal fiduciary obligation, which may vary from state to state or even locale to locale. In the past, agents always worked for sellers. Then the listing broker was responsible for paying the agent or sub-agent that brought a suitable buyer for the home. And even though the buyer worked 'with' an agent, the agent still represented and owed their fiduciary duty to the seller.
Dual agency is where the buyer decides to have the listing agent prepare the offer for him. If you are a knowledgeable buyer, you may choose to do this, but only with full disclosure to all parties. In some states it also affects the broker's/agent's fiduciary responsibilities to the seller.
Although seller agencies still exists in certain areas, agents today almost always have a sense of moral obligation to buyers. Find out what is common in your area and understand what kind of agent you have before you begin to work with them.
In many areas, the seller pays all agent commissions. Sometimes, agents will have other small fees, such as administrative or special service fees, that are charged to clients, regardless of whether they are buying or selling. Be aware of the big picture before you sign any agreements. Ask for an estimate of buyer costs from any agent you contemplate employing.
Each agent has unique methods of overcoming obstacles and negotiating deals. The most important thing is to make sure your agent is an effective advocate for you.
Interviewing an agent can be similar to interviewing someone to work in your office. Contacting references can be a reliable way for you to understand how he or she works, and whether or not this style is compatible with your own.
In the heavily regulated world of real estate, it can be difficult for an agent to offer a performance guarantee. If your agent does not have a guarantee, it does not mean they are not committed to high standards. Typically, he or she will verbally outline what you can expect from their performance. We understand the importance of win-win business relationships: the agent does not benefit if the client does not also benefit.
Some agents may email, fax or call you daily to tell you about properties that meet your criteria, while others will keep in touch weekly. Asking this question can help you to reconcile your needs with your agent's systems.