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10 Questions To Ask Your Realtor
How To: Interview a Real Estate Agent
September 15, 2014
10 Questions to Ask Your Realtor

1. How Long Have You Been in the Business?
Some agents may have 20 years of experience, but are they good students. The real estate market is very fluid and changes that effect the industry either directly or indirectly are constant. Is your agent continually seeking education to keep up to speed with the industry to better represent you? Also, a freshly licensed agent may have more time for you, but do you want them learning under your watch?

2. Are You A Full Time Real Estate Agent?
This answer should always be yes! You want a Realtor that is working hard to represent you, not a part time hobbyist. We deal with documents and negotiations that are time sensitive. You don't want to lose your dream home because your agent is working another job. Also, your agent needs to be a perpetual student. Our industry has vastly changed over the last few years. You need an agent that makes time to educate themselves on these changes so that they can better represent you.

3. How will you market my home (Seller) or service my needs as a buyer?
As a buyer, you will need to know:
- Agents need to customize this approach. Ever buyer has different needs. Is your agent listening to yours?
- How will you help me search for homes?
- Will I be competing against other buyers?
- What are the trends in the area where I want to buy?
- What are the trends in the price range that I am wanting to buy?
- Do you present offers yourself?

As a seller, you will need to know:
- Each seller also has different needs. Your agent should listen to your specific needs to determine which approach to sell your home is better for you.
- How can you help me sell my home?
- Do you have knowledge or experience in my neighborhood?
- How do you market online?
- Do you have a resume? Get to know who your agent is.
- Do you have an assistant or team that can help to expedite the process.

4. How much commission do you get?
For the most part, everything in real estate is negotiable. Keep in mind that in Texas the seller pays commission. So when you are buying, there is no out of pocket expense for a Realtor. If you are selling, a normal full service listing fee is 6% (3% is openly offered to encourage a buyer's agent to bring a buyer, the remaining 3% is for the listing agent). Some agents will list a home for less, but they typically will offer less in the way of marketing and services as well. If you are a seller one thing you NEVER want to do is discount the listing commission and pass some of that discount to a buyer's agent (offering the buyer's agent less than 3%). It is very likely your competition is offering a 3% commission to a buyer's agent. If you are a seller, keep in mind you get what you pay for here. According to Texas A&M research center, discount listing agents may cost you more money in the long run. While you may save on a commission, homes sell for about 1% to 2% less that those marketed by a full service agent. Also discount brokers have a longer days on market, which mean more holding costs for the seller. This is also a factor in your bottom line when selling the home (more holding costs mean less profits).

5. Can you provide me with the forms so I can review them before signing?
Your agent should be able to provide you with any form for your review before signing the form. Be sure to read them and ask questions.

6. How much do you charge to terminate the listing agreement or buyer's representation agreement?
Some agents will charge as much as $500 dollars to terminate a listing agreement. They may also charge transaction fees for purposes of marketing or for office fees associated with a listing. Ask if there are any fees associated with their service other than their commission.

7. What are current trends in the market place?
This will change with the season and/or from year to year. Different scenarios may play out for buyers or for sellers depending on many variables which may include: your price range, new construction vs. resale, your location, your school district, changes in the lending industry, changes in the appraisal industry, foreclosures in the community, etc. Getting a better understanding of today's challenges will help to ease frustrations if a challenge presents itself. Your Realtor should have a good grasp of current trends to help avoid trouble areas. You want a Realtor that is a good student of their industry.

8. When a problem arises, how effective are you in handling them?
Many parties are involved in a real estate transaction (Sellers, seller's agent, buyers, buyer's agent, inspectors, appraisers, title companies, lenders, etc). A good real estate agent will know the roles of each party and should be creative, legal, and ethical in finding a solution when an unforeseen problem/challenge evolves from one or multiple parties. This knowledge and ability by your Realtor may mean the difference of your real estate transaction closing or not closing.

9. Do you have a support staff that helps you or do you have an assistant?
Support staff or assistants help a productive agent tremendously. There are many forms and information that needs to be processed for each real estate transaction. Assistants and support staff helps to expedite anything from answers to questions to forwarding documents and information to data entry. This is important to a productive agent so they can spend more time servicing the client's needs.

10. What is your rating?
Houston Association of Realtors offers a Client Experience Rating so real estate consumers can view how an agents clients rate them. You can also see what the past clients are saying about their Realtor. I try extremely hard to make sure all my clients rate me with a 5 out of 5 stars.
For more information, contact us now!
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