1. How do you represent me?
- There are a lot of agents to choose from. Any of them can pull information up online. You want an agent that really knows the area. You want an agent that represents a buyer or a seller not both as a Single Agent because, in Florida, real estate agents cannot represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction.
2. How do you get paid?
- Typically the seller pays the commission from the sale of the home. However, a buyer may pay also, i.e. a buyer wants to purchase a “for sale by owner” and they are not offering to pay a commission, the buyer can pay the Realtor. This option is not allowable on VA loans.
3. What is the first step in the buying process?
- The first step is a pre-qualification. This is determined by your loan professional. It takes into consideration your income and your debts. An experienced Realtor will be able to refer you to several loan professionals that can help you with this process.
4. What is your experience? Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions.
- How long have you been in business? You want an experienced and successful Realtor who has been in business at least 2 years.
- How many houses did you sell last year?
Look for agents with double-digit sales.
- What percentage of your listings do you sell?
Ideally you want an agent who has sold an average of 60% to 80%
- What is the average list price to actual sell price ratio for your listings?
Although it can fluctuate by market, you should still look for high numbers.
- How do you educate yourself on important matters in the industry?
- Being an active member of the local and national Realtor & Builder Associations is a good start.
- Subscribing to industry briefs to stay on top of trends in the industry and market.
- Specialty designations such as the Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR), Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), and Military Relocation Professional (MRP) let you know the Realtor is continuing their education and has current knowledge in the areas of designation.
5. You want to assess their marketing skills. Ask the following:
- How will you market my home?
Here you are looking for a Realtor who will at least showcase your listing on a professional website, brokerage site, and possibly a national listing.
6. How will you use Social Media?
- Facebook? Twitter? At a minimum Facebook and they get bonus points if they are photos on Instagram.
- What offline materials do you use?
- Most marketing is done online however, a Realtor will still use tried and true methods such as fliers, yard signs, and brochures, especially with an open house.
7. Do you have references I can call?
- A Realtor should have references on their website and people you can call to get a reference on working with them.
8. Should I consider a short sale or a foreclosure?
- That depends mostly on your time frame for closing. There really isn’t a lot of “short” in a “short sale”. The lender holding the current mortgage on the home must approve the short sale so that can be a lengthy process. You can purchase and close on a foreclosure property i.e. bank owned, Real Estate Owned (REO) usually within 30-60 days.
9. How do I know if the home is in good condition?
- By having a professional home inspection and a Wood Destroying Organism Report (WDO) AKA Termite Report.
10. What is today’s market like and can I get a deal?
- In some areas of some markets, there are no deals because there is more demand than supply.