Many homebuyers benefit from having an expert by their side. In fact, 88 percent of buyers in 2016 worked with a real estate agent to find their home, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors.
For 17 percent of people who responded to NAR’s survey, contacting a real estate agent was the first step in the homebuying process – even before heading to Zillow.com or another site to scroll through listings.
Having the right person by your side, with your best interests at heart, will make the entire homebuying process smoother, easier and potentially faster. Before hiring a real estate agent, make sure he or she is the right person for you.
Ask these questions to learn more:
How long have you been selling real estate?
As in any profession, someone new to the game won’t be as prepared to handle tough situations as someone with years of experience.
Those with a poor track record usually don’t last long, U.S. News & World Report explained. Being an agent means you’re paid on commission. Someone who doesn’t offer good service will very likely quickly decide to pursue another profession or position.
Learning that your agent has been successful in real estate for years is a good sign.
Do you have experience with the real estate market in this area?
Just because someone has experience in real estate in general doesn’t necessarily mean he or she knows the nuances of the areas you’re looking to buy in. Find out whether the agent you’re in contact with has sold homes in your favorite neighborhoods before.
Ideally, you’ll want to find someone with a varied background. Being a local expert is good, but being an expert only in one area might mean he or she will pressure you into making a purchase you don’t truly want, just because that’s the only area the agent knows well.
What types of real estate do you typically work with?
Buying a home is different than buying a storefront, office space or warehouse. Find out what type of real estate the agent is best at.
Do you have former clients I can contact as references?
Speaking with someone who had first-hand experience working with the agent will probably give you the best idea of how the transaction will go for you. Find out whether the agent was responsive or distant; willing to negotiate or intimidated by the seller’s agent; flexible to your goals or set in his or her notions.
Don’t be afraid to ask about specifics of the sale, Bankrate cautioned. Find out what the listing price was, as well as the final sales price.
What credentials do you have?
Real estate agents should be licensed by the state they work in. You can find this information online, along with notes about whether that person has gotten into any trouble with the state board. Even so, asking directly offers the agent the opportunity to be upfront and honest with you.
Someone who is a registered Realtor – rather than simply a real estate agent – means they are held to a standard of ethics set by the National Association of Realtors and are likely up to date on industry best practices, NerdWallet explained.
When you’re ready to take the next step in your homebuying journey, reach out to Bank Midwest.
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