Whether you’re planning to buy or sell property this summer, you’ll want to work with a real estate agent to guide you through the process. While you may have a neighbor or cousin who works in real estate, it’s a good idea to vet potential agents to ensure the best fit for your needs, since it’s hardly a one-size-fits-all proposition. Here’s a look at questions to ask.
1. How long have you been in the business?
First, ask about the agent’s experience. Have they helped others with needs similar to yours? Also consider the difference between a part-time real estate agent who sells a few properties for friends and relatives and someone who treats it as a full-time business venture. There a lot of agents out there that do this part time, and they can’t provide the level of service that somebody who is doing this day in and day out can provide.
2. What geographic areas and types of properties do you handle?
Consider not only what agents tell you but also the way they brand themselves online. Many agents are now active on social media with YouTube channels, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and more, allowing you to do your own research.
Ask about other types of expertise, too. If you’re a veteran or active duty military member, you may want to work with someone who has special training to understand how Veterans Affairs financing works and the challenges of frequently relocating. If you’re a first-time buyer, you may want to find someone who works with lots of first-time buyers and has the patience to do some hand-holding.
3. How will you communicate with me?
A communication lapse of a few hours can mean the difference between an accepted offer and a missed opportunity. With that in mind, choose an agent who responds quickly in the mode of communication that works for you, whether it’s email, text, phone or fax. Communication is especially important for buyers house-hunting from afar.
Also ask who will be your main point of contact, because some busy real estate agents use a team of assistants or sub-agents to handle day-to-day tasks, and you may not have direct access to the agent you choose.
4. Can you share references?
In addition to interviewing potential agents, talk to their buyers or sellers. Every good agent should have a list of past clients they can share with you if needed.
Also ask what portion of business comes from referrals or repeat business. If an agent mainly works on referrals or repeat business, that can be a positive indicator that prior clients were satisfied.
5. What will it cost me to sell this property?
Buyers often don’t pay commission directly, but sellers often do and the costs can vary from agent to agent. For instance, here at Platinum we offer 1% percent listings for sellers. A standard commission in the Las Vegas area market is 6%. If you’re worried that bringing up the commission topic will be uncomfortable, simply ask, “What will it cost me to sell this property?”
It’s also a good idea to ask where the property will be listed and how many websites the agent participates in. Will the agent list the property on his or her YouTube channel or Facebook page too? And if so, how many followers does he or she have?
These questions can help you get a sense of the agent’s process and personality.
If you’re interested in buying or selling in the Las Vegas area, give us a call at 702.545.0020.