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15 Must Ask Questions When Hiring a Realty Agent

Woman Shaking Hands With Estate Agent In New HomePeople buy and sell homes every day and for most people it is the largest purchase they will ever make. Success in real estate dealings is unlikely without proper guidance.  Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home, it is important to hire a real estate agent that will work hard to get you the best price without a lot of hassle.

What is their reputation?

You wouldn’t want to trust just anyone with such an expensive investment. If real estate deals were easy there would be no need for trained professionals. Therefore, it’s a good idea to interview and research not only one, but many brokers in your area. Not surprisingly, an agent is likely to talk themselves up so customers are encouraged to search the web for reviews. Word-of-mouth from friends and family is another way to find out what former clients think of an agent. Doing this research will help you determine a real estate agent’s experience and usual market. It is also a good idea to ask to see the list-price-to-selling-price ratio for each prospective broker. Just remember that a ratio close to 100 percent can indicate long waiting periods before sales, especially if you do not have the luxury of time on your side. Finally, most states have an easy-to-access website at which clients can verify licenses and business practices.

How do they communicate?

During your initial interviews, you should ask a realty agent about their business practices, workload and preferred forms of communication. If he or she works alone you want to be sure they will have the time necessary to working on your deal as well as the rest of their workload. Then again, some real estate offices work in teams and this may allow them to handle all of their clients, but it could mean you never know with whom you’ll be dealing. When working with a team of agents, inquire as to if they will allow you to have just one point of communication. Furthermore, be sure that an agency is comfortable with your preferred form of communication. If an office uses fax machines and you don’t own one, finding an agent that uses say email instead might be a better fit for you.

How will they market your home?

Different housing markets have different ideas about what marketing strategies work when selling a home. Rural areas may rely on print advertising such as brochures, pamphlets or local newspapers. On the other hand, agencies located in large cities are more likely to employ web-marketing tools. Regardless of the region, however, studying the current median value of homes in your area will help you and your real estate agent decide on an asking price when selling your home. Luckily, there are resources available to you including easy access to the comparative market analysis (CMA) for your neighborhood. Furthermore, sellers should ask what they can do themselves to assist in the sale of their home and buyers should investigate the financial direction of any possible neighborhood.

How much will they charge?

From plumbers to electricians, no one likes finding out they have been overcharged for a service. Considering the fact that many real estate agents charge a percentage, discussing probable fees and contract details during your interviews is highly recommended. Sellers should be most interested in the percentage they will charge. This will usually run in the area of 6 percent though top agents tend to charge higher fees. Next, most agents require home sellers to sign a contract for their services. Make sure you know if a contract would be exclusive because this could bar you from marketing your home on your own time. You should also double-check the length of the contract. You wouldn’t want to be stuck in a two-year deal when you decide a year in that the agent is not getting the job done or providing you with expected services. For this reason, it is recommended that you inquire about cancellation fees.

So, whether you are looking to buy or sell a home, interview many real estate agents and do your own research. This will help ensure that you get the very best price and services for your money.

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