Questions to Ask When Hiring a Realtor
There are 60,000 Realtors in the Phoenix Valley. More than likely you know at least one of them, they may be your neighbor, your best friend, your pastor, or your brothers roommates second cousins ex wife. You can’t walk into the grocery store without seeing a REALTOR business info on the side of a car. So what are you to do when you are looking to Buy or Sell, but you don’t know who to use or who would represent you the best? Hold an Interview!
When you agree to work with an agent you are HIRING a Realtor. Why not hold a job interview to make sure you are getting the best candidate for the job? The process can be fairly simple and with a few easy questions you can get a clear idea as to who you will work best with. Here are some examples of the questions you need to be asking your potential REALTOR.
Experience: No one wants to be a Real Estate Guinea Pig! Do your research! We live in a digital age where you can know everything about an individual just by a google search bar and a Facebook account. Look into how long they have been practicing Real Estate, do they have any complaints, how often are they selling homes, do they have any designations, do they work on a team? Knowing the background of your REALTOR is going to give you an insight on how they handle their business. An agent who has many complaints is one you need to distance yourself from and agents who do a lot of business, but pass their clients off to team members and you never speak to the initial agent again are also something you need to keep away from.
If you are working with a new agent, find out if they are working with a mentor or if they have been shadowing another agent for guidance. To say every transaction goes perfectly would be a massive lie and I believe that there is something to be learned in every transaction, however if there are any bigger issues or moments when your REALTOR may not be representing your best interests it is good to know there is someone else there to help guide the way.
Negotiations: When you think Real Estate you think Negotiations. Find out how your agent handles the back and forth. This would be a good time to play out a scenario and see how they respond. “If I am selling my home and I want to get $250,000 and an offer comes in for $245,000 and closing cost assistance what would you advise that we do?” or “I found a home I am in love with and I am willing to pay full price, but I need help with closing costs how will you present this to the Seller?”
An offer price is only the first negotiation, there are closing costs, home warranties, repairs, appraisals, etc. you need someone who knows your motivation and your bottom line and is willing to work to protect them. Now, this does not mean you need to hire someone who is a “Yes-Man”. There are far too many listings that sit too long on the market because an agent did not want to burst the sellers bubble on how much their home was worth, or contracts that fall apart because the agent made promises they couldn’t follow through with because they were unrealistic. Hire an agent who is honest with you and fights for your best interest.
Buyers: How do I search for homes? Every agent has a different procedure. Some use their own platforms and most use MLS. Talk to an agent about how the search process works and how you can communicate with the homes you want to see.
Sellers: How do Buyers find my home? Marketing is key for listings. You want to hire an agent who does more than just stick a sign in your yard. Do they hire professional photographers or do they take them with their i-phone (this is more common than you think)? What warrants an open house weekend? Do they film 3-D tours? When we get a showing request what can we expect?
The other day I came across a listing on MLS with the following description of the home, “A Picture is worth a thousand words so come and see the home yourself.” There was one picture and it’s worth mentioning that the word “picture” was misspelled. Do you really want that agent who can’t even write a good description to represent you?
Part Time vs Full Time: Just like any profession out there, a Realtor can work Part-time or Full-time. Traditionally a part-time Realtor is someone who works another job or has extremely limited availability. This is not a huge issue unless their availability does not line up with your schedule or if their communication is so rare that they don’t represent you to the best of their ability. Contracts have timely deadlines and you don’t want to lose out on your dream home because your agent had to finish their shift and didn’t get your contract in on time or as a Seller you just agreed to the massive laundry list of requests because you didn’t respond in time. Time is of the essence, hire a REALTOR who can manage that time.
To become a REALTOR in the state of Arizona the student has to take 300 hours worth of classes and pass a school, state, and national test. To become a cosmetologist beauticians take a total of 1,600 classroom hours. When you get a bad haircut, you complain, wear a hat, and swear to never go back, but eventually the hair grows back and all damage is repaired. A bad Real Estate deal can lead to credit problems, issues within the home, and an overall nightmare if you are not represented properly. Anyone can become a REALTOR that’s why we have 60,000, but not everyone is a GOOD REALTOR! Do your homework! Conduct an Interview! Protect your Real Estate Investment.