It’s important to make sure that you hire the right realtor when selling your home or buying a new one. The realtor you work with will largely impact the kind of experience that you have, as well as the results you end up with. Ensuring that your realtor is competent and highly qualified is essential. Read on to learn more about the most important questions you should ask a realtor before hiring them for your next real estate venture.
1 – Experience
Assessing the experience of your realtor is perhaps the most significant factor in predicting the kind of experience you’d have with a real estate agent. A realtor with years of experience will know how to navigate common (and unusual) situations that may occur in various real estate transactions. Of course, the location of their past experience matters as well. Because each city is unique, it’s important to know whether a potential realtor has relevant experience in the area. For instance, you probably wouldn’t want to hire someone who recently relocated to the city where you’re interested in buying a home. Ask your realtor how many years they’ve been in the real estate business. As a follow-up question, also ask how long they’ve been working in their specific region. This will give you a good base of information and will help you decide if the realtor in question is right for you.
2 – References
Don’t be afraid to ask your realtor for references. Testimonials from people your realtor has worked with in the past can put your mind at ease. By providing references, your realtor will be giving you access to previous clients. Learning more about the experiences of previous clients is a great way to predict what kind of experience you might have with any given realtor.
Once you have the names and contact information of previous clients from a potential realtor, make sure to actually follow up with them. It can be time-consuming, but arrange a meeting or phone conversation where you can ask about the experience they had working with the realtor you’re interested in. It’s a safe bet that the kind of experience a reference had while working with the Pleasant Hill realtor is a good indication of the kind of treatment you could expect.
3 – Credentials
It’s always a good idea to ask a realtor about their credentials. Any high-quality real estate agent will have a license and certifications that are current and appropriate for the state they’re working in. You may assume that a realtor has the appropriate credentials, but double-checking is always wise.
4 – Past Listings
When looking for a Pleasant Hill realtor, be sure to ask about past listings they’ve represented. Seeing the kinds of homes that your real estate agent has sold or helped clients to purchase in the past will provide valuable information. This can help with your decision of whether or not to hire a particular realtor. If you see homes similar in style and price to the one that you’re hoping to sell or buy, it may be a good indication that your realtor has the experience required to help facilitate a successful transaction for you.
Find out if your realtor has experience facilitating sales and purchases of homes in similar price ranges in your area, or the city you’re interested in. If so, this is a good indication that your realtor will have success in representing you and helping you to buy or sell your home.
5 – How Many Clients
You may also wish to ask your realtor how many other clients they are currently working with. This is a bit of a tricky question and there may not be a right answer to it. A large number of clients can indicate success, but may mean that a potential realtor will have fewer resources to devote to you. A small number of clients may mean that your realtor will have more time for you, but could indicate a lack of demand. Make sure that you follow up this question with clarifying questions in order to better understand the answer that a realtor provides.
6 – Turnaround Time
If you’re buying a home, you may want to ask Bay Area realtors how long the process generally takes. If you’re selling a home, a similar question may be wise. Of course, there’s a bit of luck involved, and the market goes through ups and downs, but a seasoned professional should be able to give you a general estimate regarding the time frame you can expect for your real estate transaction. This can help you to mentally prepare for the upcoming weeks or months ahead.
But if the realtor you’re interviewing has a history of commonly working with clients for more than six months, this may be an indication that they’re unable to complete transactions in a timely manner. This might be a red flag for you, especially if you’re in a hurry to get things done. Any realtor who has a history of successfully selling homes that don’t linger for months on the market is generally a realtor worth considering.
7 – Connections
When interviewing a Pleasant Hill realtor, also ask about other connections they may have in the industry. After buying or selling a home, you may be in the market for services like general contracting, mortgage brokering, or a moving company. Ask your realtor if they have connections to people or companies who provide these services. If so, this can alleviate stress for you because you know they’re reputable. In other words, you’re not starting from scratch all over again.
If a realtor has personal connections to businesses that you may need to call upon during or after the process of buying or selling your home, this may be very beneficial for you. A real estate agent can be a valuable resource when it comes to creating professional connections that are trustworthy. As in any industry, a mutual connection can often help transactions to move along more quickly and smoothly.
8 – Commission
Ask Bay Area realtors how their commission works. It’s important to understand what percentage of the home’s price they take, and what you may be responsible for. Being aware of all the financial details up front will help you better plan and prepare for the steps ahead.
In general, buyers do not usually pay agent commission fees. For both the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent, the commission should be somewhere around 6%. Commission does vary by agency and location. However, you may want to do some research if the commission rate is much higher than 6%. It’s important to be aware of every financial consideration when buying or selling your home, so you benefit from the best deal possible.
9 – Availability
It’s a good idea to find out how available your realtor is throughout the week. You may wish for your realtor to be available to you anytime you need them. Some realtors are more available during the week than others. Ask your realtor what their availability is like, as well as the best time to call. Additionally, find out if they’re available on weekends, after hours, and during the evening. Knowing when they are available is good information for you to have in order to plan your interactions ahead of time, and avoid frustration.
Real estate does not end on the weekends or after business hours. Showings can be scheduled, offers can be accepted, and deals can be made at any hour of the day. In fact, movement in real estate often happens during off hours. You may also require communication for other reasons during weekends and evenings. For this reason, it’s important to know when your real estate agent is available. A good Bay Area real estate agent will be responsive, transparent and upfront about their availability.
10 – Process
Ask your realtor about their process. Meaning, ask how buying or selling a home usually works, from start to finish. It’s likely that the steps will be very different depending on whether you’re buying and selling a home. Each realtor does things a little differently, so it’s a good idea to get a sense for how a realtor intends to handle your real estate needs, and if you find their approach suitable. As someone with copious amounts of experience, your realtor will be the most knowledgeable person on the end to end experience.
Your realtor is not only a guide in the home selling or home buying process. They are also a personal contact you will be interacting with on a regular basis until you buy or sell your home. When interviewing a realtor, make sure that you connect on a personal level. Because you will be working closely with your realtor for a period of weeks or months, it’s important that you connect well with them in this way. It’s also important that they have clear communication skills, so you understand the way they explain the real estate steps you will be working through together. Real estate transitions involve large sums of money, so it’s essential that you communicate well with your agent.
Pleasant Hill Realtors
To find the best Pleasant Hill realtor for you, contact us. The Laura Wucher Real Estate team is the premiere real estate agency in the Pleasant Hill region, with experience in closing over $100 million dollars in residential real estate. Laura Wucher has been consistently ranked in the top 1% of agents in Contra Costa County and is driven to deliver exceptional results. With over 25 years of experience living in the Bay Area, she has a unique insight into the requirements and specifics of the area. Contact us for your home buying and selling needs. We look forward to working with you.