Finding a new home can be difficult. Finding someone to help you find the right home for you can be a difficult decision as well. So how do you know which agent to use? The choice can be hard, but here are some important questions to ask or just consider while choosing your potential agent.
1. Do they have references from past clients? Ask their past clients if they were pleased with the service the agent provided them. Did they communicate in a timely manner, and were they kind and courteous?
2. What does being an agent mean to them? By asking this question you’ll be able to see what their work ethic and business philosophy are. You want an agent that puts their priority on your happiness first, and their commission check second.
3. How long have they been in real estate? This is not to say that someone new to the business would not be a great asset. However, depending on the nature of your transaction, you may feel more comfortable with an agent with a proven record of success.
4. How many homes did they sell last year? Just because an agent has been in the business for a while doesn’t mean they’ve been successful. You don’t want to have your home on the market for months, when a savvy agent could have it sold in weeks.
5. What designations and certifications do they hold? Beyond holding a real estate license, agents can opt to expand their education and skills. There are a multitude of courses and programs available. In general, these certifications mean a more specialized agent.
6. What is they’re marketing plan? In an ideal world a house would just sell itself, right? But the market swings back and forth on a constant pendulum between being in favor of sellers and then buyers. If you are selling a house in a buyers market, then you need a solid marketing plan to make your home stand apart. Open houses, email campaigns, web casts, and brochures are just a few of the items your agent may use.
7. Do they do dual agency? Dual agency is when the agent represents both the buyer and the seller. This is legal, as long as disclosed, but it may not be something you’re interested in signing up for. Be sure to ask.
8. What are their home sales stats? It is important to ask them how long it takes them on average to sell a home. And then ask what the area average is. They should know this information off the top of their head, or at least have the statistics readily available.
9. How do they communicate with their clients? There is nothing worse than not being able to get a hold of your agent, with questions, for updates, and for feedback. In today’s modern world of technology, there is no excuse for them not to stay in constant contact. There is email, texting, cell phones, and a myriad of other options. Ask what they use to stay in touch with their clients.
10. Do they have other connections? Meaning, will they be able to refer you to contractors, mortgage lenders, banks, landscapers, pool maintenance crews, and the like. This will be especially important if you are new to the area.
And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection
Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI
2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900