Working with a realtor is choosing the concierge path for selling your home or finding a new home to buy. A realtor is a professional or an entire real estate office service that handles real estate business on behalf of a client. They can hunt houses, source buyers, and take over the hassle of staging, listing, and selling your house. Your realtor becomes a temporary business partner in the matter of buying or selling your house, and you rely on their expertise to ensure a smooth and rewarding experience.
This means your selection of realtor truly matters. So how do you know if you’ve found the right one? The best way is to hold a polite yet complete interview and ask a few key questions. Here are the seven questions to ask when interviewing a new realtor.
1. “Can I see your credentials, references, and history in the area?”
There are a few things that every realtor should be prepared to share. In fact, many come with a small portfolio with everything you need to see to know you are dealing with a real professional, a local expert, and a trusted guide for others who have bought or sold real estate in the region.
- Real estate license
- References from past clients
- Professional and personal history in the region
Your realtor will likely be completely prepared for you to ask the typical vetting questions at the opening of your interview. These checks simply establish that you are dealing what a reputable and valuable expert.
2. “How do you prefer to communicate? What are your favorite channels and how responsive will you be?”
Every realtor-client relationship is based on communication. you need one or more channels that both of you are comfortable with, and a realtor ready to respond in what you feel is a reasonable amount of time. Matching the right sense of pace and communication style can be critical for a successful realtor-client partnership.
Ask your realtor what communication channels they prefer and how often they tend to check or respond to messages from clients in a week. You may prefer a fast-paced realtor who chats on social media or someone who can function on just a few detailed emails traded every few days.
3. “Will we be working with you directly or with your realty team?”
This is a very important question. Realtor offices often have lead realtors and real estate agents forming a local realtor team. When interviewing your realtor, be sure to ask if you will be working directly with the realtor, personally, or if your case will be primarily handled by their team or an assigned agent on their team.
You might even prefer to work with the team, and if you are to be assigned an agent, request to meet and interview them before making your choice. This ensures that you are really interviewing for the service (and person) that will influence your experience. Meeting the face of a team is not the same thing as interviewing a real estate agent or the team you will actually be working with.
4. “What are your plans to sell my house? What listing price do you expect, and what steps will you/should I take?”
Realtors have go-to strategies and customized plans based on individual properties. The price they set, the steps they take to prepare the house, and the strategies they plan to use will have a huge impact on your experience and your final profits from selling. Ask your realtor for a rough estimate in the initial interview and a detailed plan after they have seen your home to understand if their ideas and plans meet your expectations – and if your plans can align for maximum satisfaction and profit.
Buyers: “What services do you offer to assist a buyer in closing?”
If you are a buyer hiring a realtor for concierge service, there are two important questions when hiring a realtor. The first is whether they understand your priorities in the house hunt when selecting homes for you to view. The second is what services they offer to help you complete the purchase, closing costs, and onboarding as a homeowner.
5. “What is your average market time and list-to-sale price ratio?”
A realtor’s success is often measured in two stats, the time on the market and the list-to-sale ratio. Time on the market determines how well your realtor can market a house, find a buyer, and begin negotiations from the point of listing. List-to-sale price is how much they can help you drive the selling price up above standard market value. Pay close attention. Some realtors list low to boost their ratio number while some sell too fast to reduce their market time. What you need is a realtor ready to deal with the hot market as it is – but able to wait and find you the best possible deal.
6. “Please explain your realtor fees.”
Fees in real estate are not always cut and dried. The standard method is for the seller, after closing, to pay each real estate agent 3% of the home’s value for a total of 6% in closing costs. The buyer does not, typically, pay their real estate agent or realtor. However, every business model is unique, and there may be additional service fees based on what your realtor does along the way. Contractors, legal services, notarizing, and other essentials of real estate deals may be included in the package or have additional fees applied.
7. What is the current housing market climate in my neighborhood?”
Lastly, ask about the current real estate client. A great realtor will be able to tell you how high demand is, how quickly homes are selling, if home values are rising or stabilizing, and what to expect as a buyer or seller when you step onto the market and join the fray.
Are you ready to find the right realtor for your next home sale or home purchase? Contact us today and we’ll happily answer these seven questions for you and many more before our real estate partnership begins.