In today's real estate climate, preparation is not only necessary; it's essential. While immensely rewarding, the home buying process can certainly bring up a variety of obstacles. Thus, hiring the right agent will help this often challenging process flow as smoothly as possible.
Here are ten questions you can ask while interviewing buyer agents to ensure you're hiring the right individual for the job.
Do you require a client to get a pre-qualification letter from a lender?
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is truly the first step that you should take on the path to homeownership. While it might be intimidating to put your entire financial standing under a microscope, it's an unavoidable step on the road to purchasing a home. If you don't already have a connection with a mortgage lender, ask your agent for a referral and, like your agent, make sure that this individual is a good fit for you.
Do you require your buyers to sign any contracts?
In the State of New Hampshire, agents are to present consumers with a brokerage relationship disclosure form. Not to be confused with a contract, the purpose of this disclosure is to help the consumer understand the difference between a customer relationship and a client relationship. If a consumer chooses to become a client of the REALTOR®, they will need to sign an exclusive buyer representation agreement. There are many benefits to doing so, as your agent owes you a fiduciary duty. Meaning they are required by a legally binding contract to hold your best interests as a priority and negotiate for you, as their client. It's an agent's goal to fight for their clients, and this agreement is the vehicle to help them do so.
How will your experience help me in my buying process?
Agents shouldn't be judged strictly based on their track record in the business, but it certainly helps. If you're talking to an experienced agent, how will this experience benefit you as their client? And if you're considering hiring a newer agent, what kind of training or support do they have?
How well do you know the area that I am searching?
Who better to help you in your homebuying process than an agent who knows the area? They can provide you with essential insights into town rules and regulations, events, and give you the truth about residing in that specific area.
How do you search for properties?
Century 21 agents have direct access to the New England Real Estate Network (NEREN), where they can create custom searches to fit your needs as a buyer best. Along with an entire network of active properties for sale, agents also continually network with other agents and pay attention to market trends. Agents need to keep a finger on the market's pulse to put their clients in the best position possible when searching for their next home.
Can you tell me about your negotiation style?
This question is especially relevant in a seller's market. Understanding your agent's negotiating style before working with them will prepare you for what's expected of you as a client and what you should expect from them as an agent.
Also, be sure to ask how your agent intends on getting you the most money possible for your home.
How will you keep me informed throughout this process?
Throughout a real estate transaction, there's always the possibility of roadblocks, revisions, and more. Being, perhaps, the most significant financial transaction of your life, you need to be in the know every step of the way. So, how will your agent communicate with you? Whether it's call, text, email, or messenger pigeon, find a way that will be most convenient and beneficial to both you and your agent.
Do you have trustworthy professionals you can recommend to us? (lender, title, home inspector, etc.)
Many details go into the home buying process outside of only previewing homes, writing offers, and signing the closing documents. From lenders to home inspectors, a successful real estate transaction includes several third-party professionals' involvement and diligence.
Ensure that your agent can refer you to experienced professionals to help your transaction go as smoothly as possible.
Is there a fee for working with you?
Typically, hiring a buyer's agent will not cost you anything. However, ask your agent upfront to determine if this is a possibility. The seller pays buyer agents for bringing a buyer to their listing, a percentage taken out of the listing agent's commission (often 2-2.5%). Some buyer agents like to pre-determine a set fee for their efforts because most listing agents want to pay out the bare minimum of 2%. Paying the buyer agent an additional percentage above the pre-determined number can be worked into the seller's negotiations.
Can you provide me with any past client references?
Ask your agent for a past client reference or even just a list of testimonials, if possible. Doing so will help paint a picture of who you'll be working with, and the right agent will happily share them with you.
Asking the right questions will not only help you qualify the best agent for the job but let that agent know that you mean business. Buying a home is not something to be taken lightly, and your agent shouldn't treat it as such.
Talk to one of our agents today to get started on your home buying journey!