In “The 8 steps to buying your first home,” I mentioned in step #2: “Hire a skilled agent” that you will have an ongoing relationship with your chosen real estate agent. How do you find out if that agent is right for you? Here are another 8 points.
Many people “end up” with an agent simply because he or she was the one advertised on the sign outside the house they were looking at. Because most of us are not real estate gurus, we tend to assume that we don’t have a choice. But we do! Your real estate agent should not be someone you settle for. With a little bit of insight, you can pick the right agent for you. Ask them the following questions:
1. Why did you become a real estate agent?
There will be many answers to this question, depending on the agent. While no answer is “right” or “wrong” – the passion and dedication to you, the customer, should show through. Decide what answers would mean the most to you, and factor them in when you hear what your prospective agent has to say.
2. Why should I work with you?
Much like the first question, this one is subjective. Let the agent tell you whether he or she really wants to be yours!
3. What do you do better than other real estate agents?
This is sometimes a difficult question, sometimes a fun one – but it will give you insight to the agent’s sense of humor and creativity.
4. What process will you use to help find me the right home for my particular wants and needs?
This is a way to test whether your agent is knowledgeable and up-to-date with new trends and technology.
5. What are the most common things that go wrong in a transaction and how would you handle them?
This question should help you determine if your agent is experienced and resourceful. Don’t let him or her answer this with something like, “I have never had anything go wrong” - you know that can’t possibly be true! You aren’t interested in what happened so much as how the agent handled it.
6. What are some mistakes that you think people make when buying their first home?
Hopefully, the agent will have had enough people experience to know how to handle this question both truthfully and diplomatically.
7. What other professionals do you suggest we work with and what are their credentials?
When your home closes, you will still continue a relationship with your agent. Make sure that he or she has good resources for you to tap into so that you may protect your investment.
8. Can you provide me with references or testimonials from past clients?
Any agent would be happy to answer these questions, and should be able to answer them clearly and without hesitation. While answers may vary, you will be able to feel right away if this is a person you will want to work for.
Remember, the agent you choose makes a living by showing and ultimately selling you a home – which means that he or she works for you. Just as you would interview a prospective employee, you should interview your prospective real estate agent. When you find the right match, finding the right home will be so much easier.