The buying or selling of a home is one of the biggest and most important transactions you will take part in during your life. Make sure the real estate agent you partner with is the right fit for you. Here are seven questions you may want to ask to help you decide if a particular agent is the right fit for you.
1. Do you work part-time or full-time? Part-time workers can be skilled agents and marketers, but sometimes other commitments can limit their responsiveness. You'll want someone who lives and breathes real estate.
2. How long have you been practicing real estate? In a soft market, for example, you'll probably want someone who has been practicing real estate full-time for at least five to seven years in your area.
3. What is your business structure--individual, or group agent? If a group agent, how is your team set up? Who will you be in contact with during the transaction? Real estate is a tough business for an individual agent. Pulled from many directions, one has to balance the needs of his or her current buyers and sellers, let alone the needs of his or her personal life. However, conversely, a group agent set-up can come with its own set of challenges, too. Some group agents have evolved into what we call Mega Agents, functioning like a separate company within a company. At times, they might be pulled in just as many directions due to the large volume they need to sell in order to keep the machine going.
4. How will you find me buyers? (For those selling their home) This is a big one. Sure, there's the MLS database, the For Sale signs, flyer boxes and advertisements--but will your agent showcase your home to the biggest pool of possible buyers? Does the agent advertise on less conventional Internet sites and real estate publications? Send out regular mailings? Conduct a broker's open house in addition to regular open houses? And so forth. Find out everything in their real estate toolbox that they will use to find you the best buyer at the best price.
5. How accessible are you? You will want to know what hours the agent can be reached and how often the agent checks email and messages. Plus, you will want to know who else can be contacted during the process.
6. What geographic areas do you cover? Some agents take listings all over the D.C. Metro area. Ideally, you want someone who is experienced and knowledgeable in your specific area of town and can provide you with regular market updates, a wide variety of comparable homes and the latest pricing strategies specific to your area.
7. What percentage of the homes you've listed in the past year have sold? What percentage of your business comes from listings vs. buyers? You want an agent who works with both buyers and sellers and knows what buyers are looking for in your price range.
We at the Schuck Group would be happy to answer these questions for you and tell you why we believe we would be the right fit for your needs, whether you are buying or selling a home. Contact us for a free consultation anytime!