Buying or selling a house will have ramifications that last for years (or decades) to come. Hiring the right real estate agent who brings experience, professionalism, and expertise to the table can make a huge difference.
Depending on the information that your real estate agent gives you, a great agent can bring your search time for a home way down or help you maximize the value you can sell for. Choosing the right agent is a critical step to ensuring your success. As you’re considering candidates, keep in mind these questions to ask a real estate agent.
1. Do you see any major red flags with this house? What are your concerns?
An agent will often be able to see problems with a home that a buyer or seller may not catch, so take advantage of their experience and expertise.
2. What other concessions should I ask for or expect to make?
A concession with an offer is a request that the seller pays for something as a compromise to the buyer. Concessions can range from the seller paying to fix an issue that was caught on the inspection to paying a home warranty for a year. It’s an opportunity for the seller to sweeten the deal and get it closed, and it’s especially common in a buyer’s market.
3. How much earnest money should I offer / ask for?
Earnest money is a deposit paid when you enter into a contract to buy a home. If you’re in a seller’s market, earnest money can go a long way toward locking in your contract as a buyer. For sellers, a larger earnest money deposit can help to weed out flakey buyers.
4. What happens if the inspector finds something?
When it comes to homes, stuff happens. Termites take up residence, foundations crack, water seeps in, and plumbing goes bad. Talk with your agent about how they’ll handle unforeseen problems. Usually, terms can be worked out in the form of repairs or concessions to make up for any issues uncovered during the inspection.
5. What happens if the house appraises under the offer price?
If the appraisal comes in low, you’re not necessarily out of options. Ask your agent for their recommended tactics if the appraisal comes in lower than you anticipated.
6. What are closing costs? How much will they be?
Closing costs are expenses involved in buying a house that don’t include the price of a property; they include attorney fees, lender costs, title fees, and more. Getting a handle on how much potential closing costs will be is important so you don’t end up with a gut punch in the end.
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or selling your second or third house, hiring the right agent is crucial. An agent can make sure you find your perfect home or get the best value for your existing home — and that you are protected every step of the way. But it’s essential you feel comfortable and fully trust them with this important investment. These questions will help you do that and make the process easy and successful.