What are the signs that you need to hire a real estate agent? Are they different if you’re buying commercial property versus residential? Are some agents better at selling commercial properties than others?
These questions and more will be answered in this guide on how to pick the right real estate agent for your needs, whether you’re buying or selling residential or commercial property.
No matter what your situation, it’s critical to know what questions to ask your real estate agent before hiring them. Don’t assume that your real estate agent will do all the work!
1) Who Do You Work For?
If you’re planning on hiring a real estate agent, it’s important to know who they work for. Many agents don’t work for you; rather, they represent several different clients at once.
If your agent is going to work for you and sell your house at top dollar—you have every right to ask them questions before you hand over any of your hard-earned money. First and foremost, make sure they are working on commission so they have a vested interest in finding you an offer as quickly as possible.
After that, there are several questions that will help ensure that your real estate agent is there when needed and will advocate for your best interests: 1) Who do you represent?
2) What Are Your Fees?
Real estate agencies charge a wide range of fees, depending on how much they charge clients, how often they send out leads, and who manages your listing. If you’re paying by the commission, it’s a good idea to ask what percentage you’ll be charged for each deal that closes and if any fees will be taken out before or after commission.
In addition, consider whether you’re happy with their fee structure for insurance policies and title work. That way, there won’t be any surprises when it comes time to pay. (And more importantly, there won’t be any questions about whether your agent is working in your best interest.)
If you’re paying a flat fee, inquire about how that fee is calculated. Will it include legal work and insurance costs? Flat fees can work in your favor if an agent has more business than he or she can handle, but if not, be sure you understand what a flat fee will and won’t cover.
In addition, ask about whether you’ll be charged a renewal fee after your listing expires and what happens when it does expire.
3) What Are the Extra Charges?
Although real estate agents are paid a commission, some of that commission is typically not passed on to you. You might want to ask what additional charges will be added to your contract.
Also, make sure you’re clear on when exactly those fees are due and whether they’ll be taken out of your total sales price. Most real estate agents charge a one-time fee or a percentage of any sales made while they’re representing you.
Whatever it is, make sure you know how much it will cost you so there are no surprises later on. It should also be noted that several states do not allow real estate agents from charging any kind of extra fees so check before signing anything!
What Are your Skills?: There are many factors involved in successfully selling a home, and it’s not just about knowing how to negotiate with buyers. You might want to make sure that your real estate agent has some additional skills.
For example, if you have a specific neighborhood or type of property that you’re looking for, you may want an agent who can provide marketing research on those areas.
4) What Makes You Different From Other Agents?
With hundreds of commercial real estate agents in just your city alone, it can be hard for clients to know which agent will work best for them. They want an agent who is honest, dependable, and who they can trust.
One of the most common questions you should expect from potential clients is how you’re different from other agents. How do you plan on standing out? What makes you unique? With competition being so fierce, these are important questions that not only help make a good first impression with your audience but also start building trust.
Asking these questions of yourself and writing down why you’re different will help solidify how confident you are in your ability as an agent, giving clients more confidence in working with you.
As commercial real estate agents, there are some general qualities that all of us share. For example, we all help buyers and sellers with selling or buying a commercial property.
However, not every agent in your area has experience working with clients who aren’t very familiar with real estate or who might be looking for something very specific within a market.
Knowing what sets you apart from other agents can set your potential clients at ease and help them understand why they should choose you as their agent, helping you close more deals faster.
5) Why Should I Choose you, Based on Experience/Training?
As a real estate agent, training is important to provide you with information and skills that will be used throughout your career. Real estate agency experience means that a company has been around for a while.
If they have been around longer than five years, they are more likely to be stable, something you need when it comes time for paying taxes and insurance. In addition, a firm with plenty of experience is more likely to have established relationships in your local market.
This can help you find appropriate buyers or renters quickly and easily as well as create rapport among other realtors if you decide to switch jobs in the future.
What Kind of Customers Do You Typically Work With?: Now that you know what to look for in an experienced and established real estate agent, ask about their typical clientele. The answer should include specifics like average income level and age range so you know what type of clients this particular agency is looking for.
What Makes You Unique?: Good agents should be able to explain why they stand out from the competition.
6) How Long Will it Take for Me to Sell My Property?
There are lots of factors that play into how long it takes to sell a property. In a hot real estate market, you might find a buyer quickly and close on your sale in 30 days or less. If you’re dealing with challenging market conditions, it could take more than 90 days to sell your home.
No matter what, make sure you ask your agent these ten questions before hiring them:
- How long will it take for me to sell my property?
- Will I need any repairs done before I put my home on the market?
- What is your experience with short sales or foreclosures?
- What does it cost for an agent’s services?
- What should I do when an offer is made on my home?
- How much commission will you get from my purchase?
- Do you have relationships with other agents who can help us negotiate our best possible price?
- Are there any financing options available to assist me with this purchase?
- What is the average time between closing escrow and receiving the proceeds from the sale of my home?
- What should I know about renting out my current residence while waiting for this new one to be built (or until we move)?
7) Where Do You Get your Listings from?
It’s a good idea to check in on where your agent is finding their properties. Are they from a broker who has access to every listing or from networking with friends and family? A broker will have access to more listings, which means you won’t be limited on what homes are available for sale.
But, if your agent is only looking at his network for prospects, it could be time-consuming for him—meaning it might take longer to find you a home.
It’s also important to know how long your agent will work with you. Some agents work on a contract basis where they only represent you for a specified amount of time, while others will maintain working relationships.
Knowing in advance how long you’ll be working together can help you budget for commission payments and other costs associated with buying a home.
A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is an entity that owns or finances income-producing real estate and is managed by professional real estate managers. The income produced by these properties is distributed among shareholders in proportion to their ownership shares.
8) How Many Listings do you Have Now?
You should ask every real estate agent you interview these same 10 questions, and it might make you feel better about trusting someone with something so personal and important as your home.
It’s natural for you to have questions about how trustworthy your real estate agent is, but remember that choosing an agent is a partnership.
Good communication will go a long way toward keeping lines of communication open between buyer and seller from beginning to end. If there are ever any issues or questions, be sure to address them immediately so they don’t become deal-breakers later in escrow.
How many listings do you have now? And how many of those listings have closed escrow successfully? An agent who doesn’t want to share that information isn’t one worth interviewing.
9) What Does Success Look Like in This Market Cycle?
So you’re interested in buying a home? Awesome! But before you begin hunting for your dream house, it’s a good idea to know what success looks like for your market cycle. If you want to get into your new place as quickly as possible, it might be better for you if prices keep dropping for a little longer.
If, on the other hand, you plan on holding onto your new property for more than 10 years (the typical length of time people tend to stay in their homes), then increasing prices might actually work in your favor.
Whatever path is right for you will depend on where you are now and what kind of housing market exists where and when it’s time for you to move up or down or even out.
In any market cycle, your real estate agent should be able to help you make a plan for what success looks like for you.
10) Why Should I List with You and Not Someone Else?
There are a lot of real estate agents out there, and most likely they’re all going to be able to help you sell your house. That said, finding one that’s right for you is essential.
It’s not just about location or experience or even commission rates. You need an agent that understands your needs, your goals, and how best to achieve them.
Make sure you ask them these questions before making a decision
- What real estate agents do you work with?
- Do you have experience in my neighborhood?
- How many houses have you sold in the last year?
- What price range am I looking at?
- Have you sold houses like mine before?
- Can I meet with someone from your office and see their sales records?
- Who will be handling my listing?
- What types of homes do you specialize in?
- Why should I list with you and not someone else?
- When can we meet face-to-face so we can get started?
These are some important questions to consider when interviewing potential agents. Give yourself enough time to really think about what matters most to you so that when it comes time to sign on the dotted line, it’s clear which agent is best for your situation.