You've decided to finally take the leap and purchase your first home...so now what? You know you need a REALTOR, but how do you find one and not just anyone, but a good one. A company interviews you to ensure you are the right fit for the job before investing money to train you. So why wouldn't you want to do the same and interview REALTORS for the job of finding you the right home?
I would encourage you to interview at least three REALTORS before making a decision. You want to make sure they will fit your needs. By asking these important questions up front, you'll save time, money, and hassle.
- How long have you been in residential real estate? Is this your full time job?
Real estate is learned on the job and experienced agents can share insight that newer agents may not know yet. Also, keep in mind, there are a lot of agents out there that do this part time, which means they normally can't provide the level of service that somebody who is doing this day in and day out can provide.
- Do you have any designations or certifications?
Real estate professionals have to take additional specialized training in order to obtain distinctions and certifications. These help define the special skills that an agent can apply to your particular real estate needs. For example, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS). CRS is the highest credential awarded to residential sales agents, managers, and brokers. Not only are there classes, but they have to also meet a transaction requirement. In other words, not everyone can obtain a CRS designation.
- What's your business philosophy?
While there’s no right answer to this question, their answer will help you determine their goals and whether they align with yours or not. This also gives you the chance to find out why they are in real estate and what drives them to succeed.
- How many buyers did you represent last year?
This will help you gauge how much experience they have and how well they know the market. You want to find a REALTOR who is up to date on the market so they can find the best house, in the right area, for your price range.
- What portion of your business is referrals or repeat business?
If the agent has a large portion of their business coming from referrals or repeat business, that can be a positive indicator that clients were happy with their service and would recommend the agent to family and friends.
- Can you recommend service providers?
A practicing real estate agent should be able to recommend service providers for mortgages, home repairs, etc. An ideal agent will have a network built that they use and trust so you won't have to worry.
- How will you communicate with me?
The best answer here is a question. A real estate agent who pays close attention to the way you prefer to communicate and responds accordingly will make for the smoothest transaction. If you prefer to text, then they should make an effort to communicate by text. They will also be mindful of how often you would like to hear from them and how quickly you respond.
- Can you provide me with a few references of recent clients?
Hearing from recent clients can help give you an idea of what to expect. An agent may tell you they would do this or that, but hearing it from past clients helps make it more concrete that you can count on the agent to perform as they said they would.