Here Are the Top 7 Questions You Should Ask Your Realtor
Not everyone window shops extensively for a Realtor before choosing the right one for them, however, home buyers are wise to carefully select the go-to professional who will likely spend many days by your side, helping you find your dream home.
In order to better understand whether a particular Realtor is the best fit for your needs and end goals, there are a few specific questions you can have at the ready to determine if you've found a perfect match. A transparent and helpful Realtor will be open to your questions and should be willing to provide additional information you may not have known you needed!
When it's time for you to work with a Realtor, consider having these questions in your "back pocket."
"What is your experience in the industry?"
Most Realtors will have their own websites with information about their experience, background, and real estate history; however, this does not mean you can't ask about their knowledge and expertise, especially if you are in a unique situation. Some Realtors may specialize in specific areas of real estate, such as commercial, while others "do it all." Additionally, some Realtors may have a few years of experience under their belt, but primarily work as part of a team.
Don't be afraid to ask your prospective Realtor what their experience in this industry is, how long they've been a Realtor for, and any other credential information you'd like to be aware of. For example, if the Realtor happens to be a Broker, you may be curious about the difference between the two designations and how they can work for you as a Buyer, or Seller.
"What services do you offer your clients?"
Buying property versus selling it puts you in a different situation; the process you'll go through when buying a property will differ when you sell one! That's why your ideal Realtor should offer various services which will assist you throughout the transaction or selling process. From providing Comparable Market Analyses (CMAs) and open house services to negotiating skills and more, a good Realtor will have an arsenal of services which they put to work for you in order to ensure you can successfully buy (or sell) your home.
Some examples of services can include CMAs, open houses, marketing, and more.
"How will you market my property?"
This question in particular is for Sellers to ask their Realtor, however, being aware of a Realtor's approach to marketing listings is beneficial for buyers, as well. Some Realtors may choose not to invest in any marketing initiatives for their clients, beyond what is readily available to them. Others may choose to go "all in" and actively market their listings. Typically, a Realtor will have a range of resources and tools at their disposal to help them really market a property.
As a Broker with RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc., Brokerage I have access to more than just MLS® (Multiple Listing Service®) and the Brokerage's in-house advertising services. I also employ both digital and physical marketing to develop custom strategies for each of my clients in order to garner more exposure to their listing and build awareness of their property.
Asking your Realtor how they'll market your property when you're ready to sell will give you a good indication as to their commitment in ensuring your listing sells, and does so effectively.
"Will you keep me up-to-date throughout the real estate process?"
You may read that question and think, "Well, of course a Realtor would keep me in the loop!" But no two Realtors communicate identically. Many have their own approach to or method for keeping their clients aware of their position in the buying or selling process.
It's important that you make it clear that you'll want to be informed and updated, however, your Realtor should also be willing and forthcoming with updates and news. If, for example, your home is on the market to sell, your Realtor should be communicating with you via phone, email, text, or your preferred method, notifying you of registered offers, sign-backs, feedback and more.
Personally, I am always open to sitting down with my clients to answer questions, provide updates, and go over all pertinent information with them. Ultimately, you want to work with a professional who will be in touch with you without having to chase them down for updates!
"What sets your Brokerage apart?"
Believe it or not, no two Brokerages are the same; this means that Realtors from different Brokerages have access to different resources and materials that will benefit you as either a Buyer or a Seller!
You may do research on a Realtor, but it's key to keep in mind the Brokerage they work for. Ask your prospective Realtor about their brokerage and what sets it apart from others; which resources can they provide you from that Brokerage? How does that Brokerage help Realtors support their clients? What is the Brokerage's reputation?
It's absolutely okay to ask about the Realtor's Brokerage, and to also do independent research online to see what type of resources that Brokerage has available. You may also wish to research what role the Brokerage plays in the community, or ask your Realtor about its history, how many sales the Brokerage does each year, etc.
"How will you determine what I should sell my home for?"
As a Seller, you should be aware of your Realtor's approach to determining the value and overall list price of your property. This is where your Realtor's experience and services will come into play, in addition to their knowledge and awareness of current market data + activity.
I always offer my clients a Comparative Market Analysis, which allows for a better understanding of the prices at which similar properties in their area have sold. A CMA will give you an idea as to what your property could potentially sell for, but your Realtor should also have additional market data and information to share with you, in order to narrow down the most realistic list price for your property.
Interestingly enough, CMAs can also help home buyers when looking at prospective properties; they can assist in determining whether a home you are interested in purchasing is listed at a realistic price, or whether it is being over valued based on data for its area!
"What advice or guidance will you give me?"
Regardless of whether you're a first time home buyer, a seller, or have extensive experience buying + selling property, no two real estate transactions are the same. So, your Realtor should be able to provide you with guidance in navigating every stage of that process.
Ask your Realtor how they'll assist you with finding industry professionals (like home inspectors, or home insurance specialists); how they'll negotiate on your behalf; how they approach sign-backs; how they'll determine which available listings meet your needs as a home buyer, and more. You'll likely find that your Realtor becomes your side-kick, so don't be afraid to turn to them for guidance (and to ensure they'll actually be there to guide you!).