According to the National Association of Realtors, 87% of home buyers purchase their homes through a real estate agent or broker.
While it can be tempting to avoid real estate commission fees by going it alone, it is generally advised that you hire a real estate agent if you are buying or selling a home unless you are a real estate professional yourself. Even though the fees can be pricey, you will often end up with a better deal in the long run. Real estate agents can help your house sell faster and for more money, while they can also help you get a better deal on the buying side.
That being said, all real estate agents are not necessarily created equal. You will want to shop around for the best agent because it will have a big impact on your real estate market experience.
Are you wondering what questions you should ask when you are hiring a real estate agent? If so, stick with us while we look at seven crucial questions.
1. Are You Licensed?
The real estate market is incredibly competitive across the country right now. This means that you need a legit agent that you can trust. Do not simply trust your gut when it comes to hiring a real estate agent, instead you should look into their licensing and make sure their record is clean.
Different states have different requirements when it comes to what it takes to become a real estate agent; however, most of them include taking a prelicensing course, an exam, activating the license, and joining a real estate brokerage. It is important to make sure that the agent you sign on with is fully licensed in your state.
2. How Much Experience Do You Have?
When you are buying or selling a home, it is not the right time to do your coworker's friend a solid by being their first client. In this scenario, you want to hire a real estate agent who has been working full-time in your local market for at least four years.
Do not take on a real estate agent who only acts as an agent as a side hustle. You want someone who is fully engaged in this as a career and who has plenty of experience in your market.
There are some things that you can only learn on the job from experience. Someone who has at least four years of experience will have already made many of the mistakes they are going to and learned from them. If you find an agent who has been working in your market for ten or more years, then that would be the most ideal.
You also want to make sure that the agent specializes in the location you are in. Local knowledge is key when it comes to pricing homes, making offers, and negotiating.
You can also take this opportunity to ask them how many homes they close on each year. The ideal scenario is to have an agent that closes more homes than 90% of the agents in your market. This would mean, in most places, closing on about 35 houses each year.
3. What Do Your Past Clients Say?
You will definitely want to get some references from any real estate agent you are considering hiring. Actually, contact these references and have a list of questions ready to ask them. Listen to the experiences they have to help you make the right decision for you.
If you find that an agent is being slippery or outright refusing to provide a list of previous clients, that is a major red flag. You will simply want to move on at that point and find someone else.
4. Do You Have the Capacity to Support My Needs?
There are huge real estate brokers and tiny ones all across the country. Depending on what you are looking for, you will want to make sure that the agent you hire has the resources necessary to achieve your real estate goals.
The ideal scenario is a real estate agent who can offer you undivided attention. If an agent has too many clients and not enough staffing, resources, and capacity, you might find that you are not getting the support you need in the home selling and buying process.
5. Who Will Be My Primary Point of Contact?
Another thing you will want to consider is communication style. You might find that a real estate agent is very experienced, has a great track record, and knows your area like the back of their hand; however, if there is something that rubs you the wrong way about how they communicate, you might be better off finding someone whom you feel more comfortable working with.
You will want to ask any prospective agent who your primary point of contact will be. The real estate market is a fast-moving place, and the last thing you want is there to be confusion about who to talk to about what. It is common for top-notch agents to have teams that work under them, so you will want to make sure that you have one dedicated person whom you can reach out to with any questions and concerns.
It is also a good idea to get a guaranteed response time from your agent and their team. Having an agent wait to return your call for three days can mean that the house you are interested in is already under contract. Make sure that they will move at the pace you need before signing on.
(Wondering how to sell your home fast? Check out this complete guide to learn more.)
6. What Sets You Apart From Other Agents?
Real estate agents are required to take continuing education courses, but many will also seek additional certifications. There are many certifications they might have, including being a Realtor, CRS, ABR, SRS, or SRES.
For example, a real estate agent with a SRES certificate has completed training in helping sellers and buyers over 50 years old. If you are a senior looking for your retirement abode, this might be perfect. If you are buying your first home as a young couple, that might not be nearly as relevant.
An ABR is an Accredited Buyer Representative. This means that the agent has completed specific training in order to best represent buyers. An SRS certification stands for Accredited Seller Representative, which involves training for representing sellers.
Check out this article if you are wondering how to find the best real estate agent when you're selling your home.
7. What's Your Commission Fee?
Asking about the commission fee is more important if you are selling a home than if you are buying one. This is because the buyer is not usually the one footing the bill for the agent's commission. Real estate agent fees come out of the final sale price, and the standard is 6% of the sale price.
This 6% commission is usually split between the buyer's agent and the seller's agent.
It is a good idea to discuss these costs openly with your agent before signing on. You can therefore avoid surprises down the road. While it can be tempting to cut corners and try to save a little money when you are dealing with real estate transactions, it is often worth paying for a high-quality real estate agent.
With a better real estate agent, you can get a better deal on the house you are buying or profit more on the house you are selling. At the end of the day, paying a little extra in commission might be well worth it for a better financial transaction overall.
Hiring a Real Estate Agent: Use Our Tool to Find Top Agents in Your Area
Unless you are a real estate professional yourself, it is pretty much always a good idea to hire a real estate agent when you are buying or selling a house. That being said, you want to make sure you hire an agent who acts in your best interest and helps you get the best deal possible.
The real estate market is incredibly competitive these days. If you choose to go it alone without a real estate agent, you might find it difficult to even schedule showings at houses you are interested in.
You can search for and find top real estate agents in your area with Hommati.com. As we have learned in this article, hiring a real estate agent is not a decision that you want to take lightly. It is worth taking the time to find the best possible real estate agent for your needs so your real estate transaction goes as smoothly as possible.
If you are looking for top real estate agents in your area, use our free tool here.