Whether you are buying or selling a home, it’s likely one of the largest financial transactions you’ll make in your life. For example, the median home price in the state of Virginia is $285,229, although this is likely much higher in the Alexandria and northern Virginia area.
The significance of this transaction and the fast-paced nature of the housing market means you need an experienced real estate agent to represent you whether you are a buyer or a seller. It can be hard to know who to work with, though, as there are so many agents out there.
This article can help. Read on for some important questions to ask a real estate agent who you are considering working with.
1. How Much Experienced Do You Have?
While you don’t need to necessarily avoid newer agents, especially if they come with great referrals, you should consider seasoned real estate agents with many years of experience, especially in your neighborhood.
If you live in a large city, make sure you find an agent that knows the ins and outs of your neighborhood. Remember that they aren’t just selling a house, they are selling a neighborhood.
When you’re looking for a home, find an agent who knows the area that you are interested in, especially if you are coming from out of town. If you aren’t familiar with the area, you at least want an agent who is.
2. What Sets You Apart From Other Agents?
There are plenty of real estate agents to pick from and deciding who to go with can seem like a daunting task, especially if they have similar levels of experience. When considering an agent, ask them what sets them apart from other agents.
Maybe they have previous experience in appraising or working for a closing company. This knowledge could give them an advantage over an agent who doesn’t have these experiences. There are also requirements for continuing education and your agent may have earned certification through these programs. Some certifications include:
- Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®)
- Accredited Land Consultant (ALC)
- Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM)
- Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS)
- Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB)
- Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)
- Graduate, REALTOR® Institute/GRI
- Seller Representative Specialist (SRS)
- Seniors Real Estate Specialist
3. Have You Sold Homes in This Price Range?
If you are looking to sell your home, find a realtor who has experience selling homes in your price range. If you are selling a million-dollar home, you want a realtor familiar with these types of homes, the clientele looking for million-dollar homes, and the types of things things that these clients are looking for. Don’t pick a realtor who has never sold a home more than $300,000.
Similarly, if your realtor has only sold million-dollar homes, and you are selling a $150,000 starter home, you might want to find a different realtor who has experience with homes in your price range.
4. What Marketing Techniques Will You Use?
This is a question for a real estate agent if you are selling your home. In a hot housing market, marketing might not be as important as it is when the market is slower, but you still need to properly market your home.
Ask your realtor where they will list it, if they will advertise beyond the usual real estate websites and listing services, and whether they will hold any open houses.
5. How Will You Communicate and How Often?
The real estate market moves quickly and you need a responsive and prompt agent to make sure you can successfully buy a new home or sell your home.
Ask potential agents how they like to communicate, whether that is via phone, text, or email. Make sure you are ok with what they prefer, as you need to be comfortable working with this person.
You also should ask how long you can expect to wait for a response from them, and who will be doing the communicating. Many agents have assistants or others who help them, so having the ability to communicate with them as well can be beneficial, especially if you need a quick response.
6. How Do Your Fees Work?
In most situations, buyers do not pay the agent’s fee. That is paid for by the sellers and comes out of the proceeds from the sale. A common agent fee is 6%, with 3% going to the buyer’s agent and 3% going to the seller’s agent.
This fee can vary, though, so be sure you are clear about the realtor’s fee if you are going to list your home with them.
7. Will You Take Photos and Video?
Homebuyers want high-quality photos and videos of homes they are considering. Your realtor should arrange to have professional photos taken of the property and should work with you ahead of time to get your home show-ready. They also may arrange for videos to be taken for a virtual tour and drone photography to provide aerial footage of your home and the neighborhood.
Ask if they provide this and who pays for it. Most real estate agents will cover any of these photos and videos for marketing your home.
8. How Many Buyers Are You Representing?
Because things move so quickly, your realtor needs to be available to you if you want to see a home (within reason of course). If they have a large number of buyers they are representing (or homes they are selling), it may be difficult for them to take you to see a house on short notice.
Ask them about their other buyers and sellers to get an idea of how busy they
Use These Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent That You Are Considering
If you are planning to buy or sell a home, use our list of questions to ask a real estate agent of every potential agent you meet with. Don’t just settle for the first person you get a referral for or the first person who shows up in search results. Find an agent who is experienced and will work for you.
If you are in need of an agent in Alexandria, contact us today. You can easily schedule a time to talk about buying a home or selling your home (or both) with our online scheduling tool.