You have made the heart felt decision to buy or sell a home. Life is busy and selling or buying is a hefty task for you to take on. On average, most people only buy or sell real estate a couple of times in their entire lives. Now that you are ready, hiring the right Realtor should be at the top of the list. Yes, most of us have a family member or a friend that “might” be able to help, but let’s be real – unless you know they are fully committed to the job as a full time agent and are the best at what they do, you may want to rethink who you are choosing and why.
Why should you care? You are about to embark on a transaction that involves more than 15 professionals (and their staff) to help get you to the settlement table. Coordinating and managing these professionals is a job in and of itself. A great Realtor can not only bring professional insight on the home selling or buying process, but they will also coordinate and manage all the professionals during the process. You deserve a high level of service and below are some key questions you should consider asking a Realtor prior to engaging their services.
1. How long have you been in the business and how many transactions have you been involved with? You will know more about their experience by how many transactions they have been involved with. The number of transactions a Realtor has completed = knowledge of the market place and ability to create successful sales. For example: A 15 year agent has participated in 25 transactions during their career, but a 5 year agent has participated in 75 transaction during their career. It’s the transactions that create the experience, not necessarily the years of service.
2. Are you a full time Agent? The level of service and communication you receive is key. Hiring a Realtor that is committed to the job as a full time venture, should be at the top of your list. Most of the professionals involved in the transaction work M-F, 9am to 5pm. Your Realtor will need to be able to communicate and coordinate with these professionals to provide you the highest level of service and simplify what is needed from you. If an agent is only able to help you on their lunch break or after they are done with their other job, things can easily get out of control or fall through the cracks. You deserve the commitment and attention a full time Realtor can provide.
3. How will you communicate with me? Cell phones, email, video, text and social media have really changed how Real Estate is done. While they all provide a level of efficiency to the process, the pace at which things get done has increased tremendously. Your Realtor should be able to accommodate your style of communication. If you are someone who likes to email, then a phone call or text may not be the best way to communicate with you. If you can’t answer the phone during the day due to work, then you really need someone that is willing to email or text you instead of calling. If you are out of the area and can’t see a house, a video tour of the home can help a lot too! Realtors have all sorts of services available to them, including electronic signature services. This not only saves you paper and ink, but time – there’s no need to print, sign, scan and email anymore. Understanding what tools and resources your Realtor has available to them can save you a lot time. Be sure to ask and make sure you are working with someone who can accommodate your preferred level of communication.
4. What will it cost me to sell or buy this property? Understanding your cost up front counts. Buyers usually don’t pay commission directly, but sellers often do and the costs can vary from agent to agent. If you are selling a home, it will be important to understand and know what you are getting for the fee. An agent may charge less than another, but that does not mean they all provide the same services and resources. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Also ask for a breakdown of estimated closing costs, as they are different from state to state, and can also differ depending on if you are buying or selling. Understanding this upfront, can save you from “unforeseen surprises” later in the transaction.
5. Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction? While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction (with proper disclosures), it’s important to understand where your Realtors obligations lie. Have your Realtor explain their agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party. At the end of the day, we all want the highest level of service and someone to represent our best interest. Make sure your expectations can be met.
Buying and selling a home is an exciting time. It can be fun, too, however surrounding yourself with professionals that will meet your needs will be key. A Realtor providing a high level of service will have surrounded themselves with other professionals in the field alike, whom they will be referring along the way. You may only buy or sell a home 2-3 times in your life – why not ask for the best?
Choosing the Realtor that is the best fit for you can make all the difference! At JS Realty, we are committed to being leaders in our industry to ensure all of our real estate clients have a positive experience. If you want experience and integrity in your real estate partner, we are the experts you’re looking for. Contact us today – we would be happy to speak with you!
The JS Realty Team – not only serving Brambleton, serving all of Northern Virginia.