Choosing a Real Estate Professional and a Home
My Real Estate Agent
How do you decide who to use as your real estate agent? Consider these questions when interviewing candidates.
Are you a full time professional real estate agent?
Knowing whether or not your agent works full time can help you determine potential scheduling conflicts and his or her commitment to your transaction.
How long have you been representing buyers?
As with any profession, the number of years a person has been in the business does not necessarily reflect the level of service you can expect, but it is a good starting point for your discussion.
Do you have a team that supports your clients? If so, who will be contacting me throughout my purchase and what kind of turnaround time can I expect when I make an inquiry?
Find out how the agent and their team works with you to expedite the search and purchase process.
How do you see the home-search-through-closing process working?
How does the prospective agent see the process working? Ask the them to walk you through the home search process. Do they plan on sending you listings for your review each day? Each week? Or as they are listed? How often will the agent be available to show you houses?
How do you determine which houses to show me?
This is a great way to get the agent to tell you just what they can do for you. It will also determine if they are truly listening to your wants/needs in a home.
How do you determine if a home is priced right?
Experienced agents are prepared to explain their techniques for evaluating a property's value and keeping abreast of market activity and conditions. They will be happy to explain to you how they research recent sales of similar properties in the neighborhood, sales volume, value appreciation or depreciation in the recent past, and features which may be unique to the home and either increase or decrease its value. The agent will talk about how they do CMAs (comparative market analysis) and their sources for statistics.
What professional designations do you have?
Do the agent's designations indicate a commitment to service and professionalism? Are they a buyer specialist and where does their expertise lie?
Who responds to emails and how quickly?
This will tell you how fast you will receive information and the time frame you will be able to keep in contact with your agent.
What’s your phone number/email address? How do you prefer we contact each other?
Make sure you always have your agent’s email address so you have alternate communication. Savvy agents also use paperless systems such as email as a good way to get documents signed.
Shopping for a Home
The Basics - Use this questionnaire to help you consider your preferences for the home you plan to buy.
Home Shopping Checklist/Notes - This handy checklist helps you remember the pro’s and con’s of the homes you tour along with your realtor.
The Home Inspection
The home inspector is hired by you and they work for you. You want to have an inspector who is licensed in the State/County you plan to purchase. As you consider who you want to use for your Home Inspection, consider the following:
- How long have you been an inspector?
- How much do you charge for an inspection? A re-inspection?
- Do you provide me with a report that day and how will I receive it?
- Will your report tell me what is right and wrong with the house I am considering buying?
- Can you give me maintenance tips about my home either during or after the inspection?