So you have decided you are ready to buy a new home…have you decided what to look for when hiring a Realtor ?
If it’s your first time to purchase a home you may find yourself asking a lot questions. Although it can be a very exciting time, you may find yourself getting inundated with information and maybe even a little confused. The home buying process can be a bit of a learning curve, and with the help of a few professionals in the industry, you can save yourself a significant amount of time and money in the process. Once you’ve made the decision to take the plunge and buy a new home, you might want to consider hiring a Realtor. But just like hiring anyone for a product or service, do your research and interview your candidates.
Questions to Ask When Hiring a Realtor
1. How long have you been a Realtor?
Every professional has to start somewhere. And with that being said, you may not want to put too much emphasis on experience. However if you feel like you are completely in the dark on what to expect from a real estate transaction, you may want to factor in a Realtor’s experience to guide you through a barrage of paperwork, financing, home inspection, home warranty, financing, negotiating, etc. “How long have you been a Realtor” can be a very useful question.
2. What is your business philosophy?
Don’t find this out the hard way. Be up front and ask this question and listen closely. If your Realtor genuinely likes what they do and have a passion for Real Estate, this should be a no brainer. Their answer to this question can have a lot of insight as to whether or not their business style is a good match for you. If they demonstrate the characteristics of someone who is interested in finding you the perfect home and in the perfect neighborhood with additional facts and details you haven’t considered, you probably have found your match. If you get the impression that their time is more important than your own, it may be time to move on to Contestant number two or three. Don’t be afraid to let a Realtor know that they have been voted off the island, you are the one doing the hiring here.
3. How Many Homes did you sell last year?
The number of homes a Realtor has sold from the previous year is a good indicator of their experience which ultimately is to your benefit. Again, any professional has to start somewhere, so be mindful of whether or not their experience is important to you.
4. Do you recommend I get a Home Inspection?
A Home Inspection is crucial for Buyer to understand what they are purchasing. Think about the amount of time you have to spend in a house before you go to sign on the dotted line. Did you check to see if the furnace was functioning properly? What about the electrical panel? Of course not, you want to see the backyard view from the kitchen and figure out where you want the new sofa. A Home Inspection company can give you the information you need on what you’re purchasing. A detailed report will allow you to have a good understanding of what needs to be repaired or replaced. It can also be a bargaining tool, or just a good reason for you to move on to another property. If a Realtor doesn’t think a Home Inspection is a good idea, they may not be looking out for your best interest.
5. Do you recommend a Home Warranty?
A number of real estate transactions will include a Home Warranty, and in many cases the Buyer’s Agent will request that the Seller include it at no cost. Let’s face it, a home inspection is a great way to get a snapshot of what’s going on in the home, but a Home Inspector is a generalist and not an expert in every facet of the home. What may be functioning as intended today, may not be working 6 months down the road. A Home Warranty is a win-win for the Buyer. Ask your Realtor how they feel about Home Warranties and why.
6. Do you have references for your last 5 sales?
Here is a chance for you the Buyer to do your own background check. Don’t just ask your Realtor for references, call them. Have a list of questions, for those references. Ask what their overall experience was with Jane Realtor. What would you rate her on a sale of 1-10? Would you have done anything differently…if so, what? Use a reference list as way of getting a good read on someone else’s experience.
7. Why should I hire you?
This may sound like a question from the Shark Tank, but again there is the possibility that this is the biggest investment you may ever make. This is not a question meant to put them on the hot seat, but you need to know why they feel like they deserve the job. We have all had that question thrown at us during the interview process, and as a candidate for a position, it’s important to be able to not only answer this question, but to answer it effectively.
Anybody who has gone through a Real Estate transaction can tell you that it has the potential of being full of surprises. Purchasing a new home doesn’t have to be a headache. Take your time, make educated decisions, and hire professionals in the industry that by design will make the process a little easier for you. A Realtor can be very beneficial to helping you to make the right decision. A Home Inspection company can be a great way to educate yourself on what you are buying. Do your homework on Home Warranties and how they can benefit you as a Buyer. There are an endless number of websites and articles that can educate you on buying a new home. Use this information to your advantage, and with the help of professionals within the industry the home of your dreams can become a reality.