Buying or selling a home can be a stressful time in anyone's life. When you start working with an agent, you want to make sure that they are the best agent for you. Here are a few things to ask them to ensure you're matching up with the right one.
1 - Are you a full time or part-time agent?
While it may seem like all real estate agents are full-time, some of them hold on other jobs during the day while working real estate part-time. This may reduce their availability, leaving you to work around their schedule. When I receive my license in June 2018 I begin real estate as a full-time job so that I could dedicate my time to my clients and helping them sell or buy their dream home.
2 - Are you a full or limited service agent?
More and more we seen limited service agents pop up all over the Internet stating that they will list your home for a reduced commission. Some of these agents will charge a flat rate like $500 to have you fill out the paperwork and post it on the MLS, while some may offer packages that include photography and marketing material. I work as a full-service agent meeting that not only will I list your home on the MLS I will take care of all photography, virtual tours, marketing, receiving and sending offers, meeting home inspectors and appraisers, and being on your team with knowledge to keep the transaction on track.
3 - Will I be working with just you, or a team?
When you choose to work with a real estate team instead of an individual agent, the person you met with to list your home may not be the person you'll be in contact with throughout the entire transaction and during it separate stages. In fact, that may be the only time you see them. Most teams we have multiple people doing very different jobs leaving you to always wonder who to contact during that stage. Having me work as an individual, I work the entire transactions that you never wonder who you need to call for what. There are some exceptions, however, such as a husband and wife team. Usually, both the husband and wife are available to you and running the transaction in tandem.
4 - What is your schedule and availability?
Agents who only work part-time or have a more limited availability may be more difficult to get in contact with during your transactions. Whether it is having to schedule a less convenient time for you to meet with them to list your home, show you a home, or meet an inspector. My “work” hours are Monday through Friday from 9 am to 6 pm. During those hours I will be at my office, available to meet with clients unless I am out in the field showing a home or doing a marketing set for my listings. While I may “work” in the office about 40 hours a week, I am available a lot more via phone call, text, or email. My clients can usually reach me every day, anytime between 8 am and 10 pm with a few exceptions (church on Sunday!). I try to always answer my client's calls or texts immediately but if for some reason I don’t, I always try to respond within a few minutes.
5 - Can you provide references or testimonials?
An agent who is hesitant to give or show you testimonials and references may have something to hide whether it be issues with numerous past clients or a lack of experience. Now, a lack of experience doesn't mean they won't be a good agent but they should always be upfront and honest about how long they've been in the business and what experience they do have. When a client asks how long I've been in the real estate business I'm always upfront with letting them know that I'm just now hitting my two-year mark. I also will direct my clients to my Zillow profile as well as my business Facebook page where they can view public reviews, referrals, and recommendations that my past clients have left for me. While we all love a good review, I never ask for only positive ones it will always leave my reviews public even if someone had an issue with something. Seeing why people loved or may have not left working with their agent is always a great way to decide if you and I will be a good match. At the end of the day, it should be a win-win for both of us.
6 - Can I review documents before I sign them?
Please, ALWAYS review the documents before you sign them. The documents that you signed when making an offer on a home or a listing your home or a legal contract and you should know exactly what you're signing. Check every page, read every paragraph, and ask for in layman's terms. Some agents will put in different disclosures and brokerage agreements trying to bind you to them (which we will discuss more on question eight). I will always make myself available to go over the documents with my client whether we are signing electronically or on paper together. I will always offer to go over all documents prior to signatures either in person or over the phone or through video conference. My goal is that you exactly what you signed and I are at ease when you leave that table.
7 - What is your marketing strategy for my home?
Your agent should always be able to explain to you exactly how they are going to advertise your home if they will be holding any open houses, and what forms of advertisement they will be doing. Not only will asking this question allow you to see if your home is going to be properly marketed but it will also show you what type of media they plan on using to market your property. In the past every home we go in the newspaper for people to look at on Sundays when they started their homebuying search. Nowadays if your home is not on social media, it might as well not even be listed. The majority of my marketing goes to social media and internet advertisements. I will also have photos taken of your home as well as a virtual tour so that potential buyers can get a real feel for your home without ever stepping foot inside.
8 - Will you help me find other professionals that I may need?
Does your agent know who to call for home inspections, termite inspections, handyman, or plumbers? Before I started working in real estate, I would have had no clue who to call for a home inspection. When you begin working with me on buying your next home or selling your current one, you will be invited to join my Facebook group of current and past clients called RE/MATT’s VIPs. On that page, you will find a fully client curated list of professionals that my previous clients have used in their home before. This group is a great way to have a sounding board when you need something done and don't quite know where to turn.
9 - Am I stuck with you when we start looking houses or selling mine?
When you begin working with some agents they will ask you to sign a buyer broker agreement. This says that you will work solely with that agent. While you can be released from this to work with me or another agent, agents that have these signed can sometimes make it difficult to be released. I always tell my clients, if something has happened that you no longer want to work me when buying or selling your home, or have decided that it is not the right time to do so, I will release you from your listing agreement or stop searching for you a home so that you can work with another agent. Now, there are a few exceptions. If you are purchasing a home and we have already gone under contract on a home, I am the only one that can see that through for you. The same concept applies for selling your home, if you have accepted an offer from a buyer, we must see that contract through unless the buyer decides to be released as well as there are repercussions for defaulting on a buyer built into the contract (which is why I’m very adamant about question 6!)
When you start the home buying or selling process, my goal is that you are more knowledgeable at the end than you were when we started. Never hesitate or feel bad for asking questions. If you have any questions or need more information on anything, feel free to contact me anytime at 405.765.3677 or firstname.lastname@example.org
When you're ready to sell your home, there are the obvious steps you need to take: call your Realtor, set up a meeting, think about your price point. But, there are also a few thinks people tend to overlook and not think about doing when you're ready to sell your home.
I was born and raised in Shawnee, OK, graduating from Dale, class of 2007. After 5 years working in education, I became intrigued with real estate and decided to become a Realtor. My wife, Leah, and I have 3 children and are actively involved in our church through the praise and worship ministry. I began my real estate career in 2018 and am a multi-million dollar producer. I would love to sell your house or help you find your dream home!