Buying a home is one of the most significant investments you will make in your life. If you have only a surface understanding of how real estate transactions work, then you are likely relying on the knowledge of your REALTOR®. With that in mind, you must trust your real estate professional to act in your best interest. Before you decide who you want to work with, consider asking these five questions to your prospective REALTOR®.
“Do you have references from past clients?”
If your real estate professional has worked with home sellers or home buyers before you, odds are they have references. A reputable REALTOR® should be more than happy to provide you with the names and numbers of previous clients. If you’re looking in a specific neighbourhood that they’ve sold houses in before, those are the people you’ll want to speak with. Typically, you can find testimonials and five-star reviews online, but in the case that there’s nothing on the interweb, then just ask! If an agent seems hesitant to provide you with contact information or specific testimonials, you might want to keep looking.
“Can you recommend some trusted professionals?”
The reality of buying a home is that there are several professionals involved beyond just your REALTOR®. Consult with your real estate professional about referring you to their professional peers. Having a reputable lawyer and a trusted lender will make the buying process easier for you. Asking your REALTOR® if they know of a reputable home inspector is another excellent question! Odds are, if they’ve worked in the industry for a while, they will have a list of names and numbers to pass your way.
“I am eager to live in X neighbourhood; what do I need to know about living there?”
This question goes beyond what stores are nearby or if there is a playground within walking distance. This is your chance to ask your REALTOR® specific questions that they should have no problem answering for you. Questions like whether or not the neighbourhood you’re looking at is a buyers’ or sellers’ market or how long homes in that area end up sitting on the market. Any full-time, knowledgeable real estate professional who has been in the industry long enough should be able to provide you with numbers and technical information that will assist you in the buying process.
“What are the best times to contact you?”
Avoiding future could-be problems is optimal! Establishing boundaries between you and your REALTOR® will be beneficial in the long run. That being said, if you’re looking at buying a home in a market that is moving quickly, it’s essential to be able to contact one another as soon as possible. Setting an expectation before you even begin working together is good practice. Maybe your real estate professional is away from their phone on certain evenings due to family events, well then you can understand when they don’t return your call right away, for example.
“What can I do on my end so that we are successful?”
It’s not only up to your REALTOR® to do the heavy lifting. You will have to do some of the leg work, so staying on the same page as your real estate professional is vital. Asking them what you can expect to do when working together is good practice! If you’re buying during a competitive market, you will want to have all your ducks in a row. Your REALTOR® will probably tell you to be prepared to make an offer and have your financing more or less solidified. Odds are, you will sometimes be viewing properties last minute, so expect to be needed even when not scheduled in. If it’s a buyers’ market, viewing as many properties as possible will be in your best interest.