When finding a realtor many buyers do not know where to start. It is always great to get references from friends, family, or coworkers, but if you are moving from out of town and into a new area this can be tougher. Living in the DC Metro area, I have found that many people are new to the area, just as my wife and I were 15 years ago. When we relocated here (her from Connecticut and me from Pennsylvania) we didn’t have any resources in the area to rely on. Here are the three best questions you can ask prospective Realtors to see if they are a good fit for you and your needs.
1. How many transactions have you done in the last 12 months?
This question can tell you a lot. Not only their level of experience but how seriously they take their business. There is nothing wrong with working with a newer agent that doesn't have hundreds of deals under their belt. But if you ask this question and a newer agent is open and honest about their level of experience, you know you have someone that you can trust that will be honest with you, which is vital in this process. Also “Knowing Your Numbers,” matters. You will be dealing with many technical and financial terms during this purchase. If the agent has no idea of their own numbers, how can you expect them to be able to focus on your numbers during the transaction?
2. Would you mind if I called two of your past clients for a reference?
Of course, they will give you others that had a pleasant experience, but it will allow you to ask questions about their professionalism and things that will be important to you when buying your future home.
3. How would you help me navigate the process of competing with multiple offers for a house that I want to put an offer on?
This will show you if the agent has a plan. There are many strategies that can be used when competing and if the agent can provide you with a variety of options and explain how they have navigated multiple situations in the past, you will know that they have the knowledge that will help you win. You will also be able to gauge if this agent will be looking to push you or if they are willing to understand your needs and advise you accordingly.
While there are many questions you can ask these are a good start. Regardless of what you ask it is important to interview agents on the buying side. Many people will only interview listing agents, but the buying side is just as important. Come into your meeting with a plan and with as many questions as you feel you need to ask. A true professional will not be bothered or frustrated by you gathering information to make the best decision for your purchase.