Blog posted On June 03, 2021
Google can do a lot, but it can’t quite compete with talking to someone about all of your home buying questions. Working with a REALTOR® can be a great asset in your home buying journey. Not only can they provide individualized advice, but they’re there to help guide you every step of the way. Many home buyers find a trusted REALTOR® through word of mouth or network connections, but if you’re starting from scratch, asking potential REALTORS® these five questions might be a good place to start.
What is your territory?
Hiring a REALTOR® who specializes in a certain area can help improve your overall purchase process. When they know the location well, they can be better equipped to help you find a home that meets all of your needs. For example, if a REALTOR® knows an area well, then they probably know which high school has the more competitive sports teams, the more specialized math and science programs, or the better theater department. If you’re moving to a new town and want to be close to a school that best suits your child’s passions and strengths, hiring a REALTOR® familiar with the area can help. “Just as you wouldn’t want a doctor who specializes in all fields of medicine or a lawyer who practices every type of law, you wouldn’t want to work with an agent trying to master too large of an area,” says Ashley J. Farrell, an associate real estate broker in New York.
Do you know the seller?
In certain areas across the country, it’s common for real estate agents to work for sellers – even if they’re helping you buy a home. “Yes, you read that correctly — even if an agent has never met or had any interaction with a seller, that agent’s fiduciary duty is to the seller,” says Farrell. In other areas, REALTORS® can work for both the buyer and seller. It’s good to double check who your REALTOR® is working for, just to make sure you’re on the same page. If a real estate agent is working for the seller but helping you buy a home, they could have the seller’s best financial interests in mind instead of yours.
Do you work full time?
Most REALTORS® worked 35 hours in 2020, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. However, not all REALTORS® work full time. Some can make this part-time commitment work, but others might struggle to give you the time you need to help walk you through the process. Buying a home can be a demanding process – and you’ll probably have a lot of questions along the way. Asking questions is good, but you want to make sure that you get all of your questions answered when you’re making an investment as large as a home. Competitive markets move quickly and if you want to secure your dream home, you’re going to need someone readily available and quick to communicate.
How involved are you in your client’s process?
A real estate agent can get pretty busy in a hot market. If they’re managing multiple clients at once, they might be less involved in your process. If you’re concerned about their potential level of involvement, make sure that you ask them about it ahead of time. “For example, if you expect your agent will attend all showings, rather than allow the listing agent of a property to give the tour, make sure you relay that request ahead of time rather than assume you and the agent are on the same page,” says Farrell.
How long have you been a REALTOR®?
In 2020, the median level of REALTOR® experience was eight years. Becoming a REALTOR® is an increasingly popular career path for many because it can offer a good form of income for people with a high school degree or higher. When the market is hot, it creates an even greater influx of fresh faces in the industry, so it’s important to make sure your REALTOR® knows their stuff.
Working with a REALTOR® can help simplify the process greatly – leaving you more time and energy to focus on the fun parts of buying a home. If you’re looking for a reliable REALTOR® to work with, we would be happy to guide you to one of our trusted partners.
Sources: Apartment Therapy, NAR