Whether you are buying or selling a home, a real estate agent can make the process much quicker and more painless. Chances are, your time is valuable, and a good Realtor can handle a lot of the work entailed in finding and closing on a new home or unloading your current home for a good asking price. How smoothly the process goes depends on finding a good Realtor, and the following questions for any prospective agent can help you find one.

  1. How Long Have You Been a Realtor? Regardless of whether you're looking for a mechanic, plumber, heart surgeon or a Realtor, everyone is comforted to know they are dealing with an experienced professional who knows the ins and outs of their job. The best indicator of this is finding out how long they've been in their profession. If someone only became an agent within the past couple of years, they may turn out to be a good one, but do you really want to be the guinea pig for them to discover if they'll be any good at this job.
  2. How Successful Have You Been Selling Homes in This Area? After determining that they have overall experience at being a Realtor, you'll want to find out how long they've been helping people buy and sell homes in your local market and how successful they've been. Different real estate markets will have varied demographics and other characteristics, and you want to make sure they've been good at selling homes where you're looking.
  3. Are You a Licensed Agent? You need to make sure they are a licensed agent and that they're a member of a relevant professional organization such as the National Association of Realtors. You don't want to hire a fly-by-night Realtor because buying or selling a home is the biggest transaction most of us will ever make, so there's a lot of money on the line. You should also ask them for several references, and if there's any hesitation in providing them, this will not be a good sign.
  4. What Buying or Selling Services Do You Offer and at What Commission Rate? In any transaction, you always want to have a good idea of what you're getting versus what you're paying for that good or service. You need to determine exactly what parts of the transaction they'll handle and what you're responsible for. An extremely important part is to ask about their commission rate, which is typically anywhere from three to five percent for Realtors.
  5. How Will You Market My Home or Find Me a Home? This is related to the previous question but is important enough to emphasize with its own question. When selling your home, the biggest job any real estate agent does is handling the marketing of the home. That said, you want to inquire further to find out exactly how they'll be doing this. This used to be a simple matter of running ads in newspapers and other places and then doing home showings to prospective buyers. Today, however, the internet raises the possibility of “virtual tours.” This is when the Realtor takes photographs or video of the entire inside and even outside of the home and posts it online, so prospective buyers can view it. One modern spin on this is utilizing drone technology to even include aerial views on the tour. If you want this cutting-edge marketing skill, then make sure your agent offers it before you sign the bottom line on a contract.


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