It’s important to carefully choose the members of the team who will guide you through your home purchase or sale, from your real estate agent to your lender to your title company. Most likely, the first team member you’ll choose is your real estate agent. Here are six questions to ask each candidate.
How long have you been selling real estate? The longer an agent has been in business, obviously, the better he or she knows the business. Here’s another fact: Agents who have been in business several years are obviously good enough at what they do to make a living at it.
How well do you know the area? If you’re new to Southern Maryland or Northern Virginia, you want an agent who can help you navigate and get to know a new town or a new region. Even if you’ve lived here a while, you want a knowledgeable agent who can tell you about new and existing neighborhoods or who knows who the local builders are. This local knowledge also comes in handy when it’s time to prepare your home for sale and price it.
What is your marketing plan? All agents will create a listing in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and plant a sign in your yard. What else do they have planned? How will they use the Internet? What kind of advice and information can the agent give you for preparing and staging your home? You want an agent with an active marketing plan and someone who thinks outside the box.
How many clients do you take on at a time? You won’t be your agent’s only client, but you don’t want to be just a number to them, either. Agents who take on too many clients can’t market any of them effectively and can be difficult to get in touch with.
Can you give me references? Ask for the contact information of past clients – and then actually call those people.
What questions do you have for me? You’ll be able to tell a lot about an agent by the questions they ask you. The questions they ask should be geared toward getting to know you and your family and your needs, likes, and dislikes. You’re establishing a relationship with your real estate agent, and you want someone interested in you not just in completing the purchase or sale.