Selecting an agent to help you through the entire home buying process is as important as determining how much home you can afford and where you want to live. The best thing you can do when selecting your personal real estate agent is to choose someone who has a personality that fits with your own. You will be spending a lot of time with that person, so liking him or her is a major plus!
Consider asking the following questions when interviewing an agent:
- Are you a REALTOR®?
- There is a difference between a real estate licensee and a REALTOR®. A licensee who is a member of the National Association of REALTOR®s is bound by the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice associated with the industry and may be disciplined for violating it. Their duty is to treat all parties honestly and fairly.
- How does the process of purchasing a property work?
- Your agent should be able to explain the process of locating a property, placing an offer on a property, the inspection process, the closing process and more. Your agent can tell you what your responsibilities are during the transaction.
- Can you assist in determining my purchasing power?
- An agent should have a general knowledge of lending and financing but should not determine your financial buying power. You should inquire about lending options and financing terms with a qualified lending professional. Your agent may assist you in locating a few for you to choose from.
- How will I know what price range to look in?
- After you begin the loan application process, an agent should be able to narrow down a price range with the proper information from your lender. At this point you may begin narrowing your area criteria, as well as begin your “needs assessment” with your Agent.
- Do you have training and education?
- Most states have strict laws regarding licensing and continuing education. Your agent should be able to give you up-to-date information, should be committed to continuing education, and should always act professionally.
- Can you give me any references?
- Be certain that your agent is willing to give you references or let you contact past clients.
- What can I expect as far as communication?
- You will want an agent who listens to your goals, explains and identifies problems and answers all of your questions. Communication is key, so ask your potential agent how he or she plans to inform you of issues or concerns throughout the transaction, as well as timelines and deadlines.
- How do you get paid?
- Inquire about the fee structure and representation. Most Buyer’s Agents earn a commission and are paid by the seller but still represent the buyer. Ask your agent to explain the process.