Ask Your Realtor
Buying a house will most likely be the biggest financial transaction you will ever make. What makes it even more important is that you are not only investing your hard-earned money (and future earnings) but basically investing all of yourself. Your new home will be where you eat, sleep, entertain, perhaps raise a family, and, nowadays, even work. This space will be sacred for you and your loved ones. Obviously, this makes the decision important, stressful, exciting, and scary all at once.
Information is paramount in feeling comfortable enough to make the leap and start the next chapter of your life. Your understanding of the market, your own finances, local taxes, schools, overall neighborhood vibes, are just a few of the things that you’ll need to have a firm grasp on.
Choosing the right realtor will go a long way in ensuring you are in the best hands to help guide you through the process. Here are some of the best questions to ask your realtor as you begin your journey.
Questions To Ask Before You Hire a Realtor
How long have you been an agent?
With a decision of such magnitude, now isn’t the time to do your friend’s friend a solid and use someone with little to no experience. An agent that’s been in the business for a good amount of time will be able to anticipate problems before they arise and have tried and tested negotiation techniques. Hiring a full-time agent, as opposed to someone selling houses as a side gig, is also recommended.
Do you work with both buyers and sellers?
Many agents work as either buyer specialists or seller specialists. While it’s great to find someone who specializes, an agent who does both could offer some great insights on either side of the process.
How long do you usually work with buyers, from the first home you see together to the closing table?
While it’s very rare a buyer finds their dream home immediately, your realtor can play a huge role in the length of time it takes to find your perfect home. Many things factor into how long it takes to find a home; however, you should be wary if your agent habitually works with clients for six months or longer.
Have you helped buyers find homes in a specific area and within specific price range?
Your real estate agent should be knowledgeable about the area you’re looking at. Communities differ in terms of what types of homes buyers want, what types of homes sell, and so on. Make sure your agent knows the area where you want to buy. Additionally, price ranges can dramatically alter the way a home is marketed, and can also alter the way agents view them. You’re less likely to get attention from an agent who specializes in multimillion-dollar listings if your budget is $300,000.
Questions To Ask After You Have Hired Your Realtor & During Buying Process
Can you explain the home buying process from start to finish?
The process can be long and complicated for first-time homebuyers. Ask your agent to explain the process to you from beginning to end, and take notes, being sure to ask for clarifications you need along the way. Some good topics to cover are: how do showings go, how do offers work, what happens during a home inspection, what happens after an offer is accepted, what happens during the closing process, what is the timeline from start to finish — and anything else you can think of.
What offer will guarantee this house? What offer would be a good jumping-off point for negotiations?
Particularly if you are in a competitive market, an offer that is too low may be completely dismissed by the seller. If you’re in a market where negotiation is possible, the risk in making an offer that is too high is very real. An experienced realtor will have a good idea of what to offer and why.
What happens if the inspector finds something?
When you are close to the finish line, nothing is worse than finding your dream home and then having structural problems discovered during inspection. A realtor with experience will know how to handle any unforeseen problems. Generally, these problems can be resolved with the seller.
What happens if the appraisal comes in under the offer price?
If the appraisal comes in lower than your offer price, a knowledgeable realtor will have tactics at hand that will help ensure you are not getting fleeced. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a deal-breaker if an experienced realtor can help guide you through the process.
At Fishtown Real Estate, we specialize in Residential & Commercial Sales and Rentals, as well as Property Management, and Real Estate Consultation. Contact us today at FishtownRealEstateLLC@gmail.com or (215) 427-2400!