Working with a Realtor or real estate agent is an important step every home buyer and seller should do to ensure success, especially if you have never been through the process before. It’s even more important, though, that you know what questions to ask a Realtor before hiring them to represent you.
Use these questions to ask your potential Realtor about their professional experience, success as a real estate agent, current client commitments, knowledge of your neighborhood and areas of expertise. For unique situations like foreclosure, short sales and finding a home with very specific criteria, you want to make sure your Realtor can handle the process with confidence.
- What are the pros and cons of using a Realtor?
- Are you also a broker and/or a Realtor or an agent?
- Do you own your own home?
- How long have you been a full-time real estate agent?
- How many people are on your team?
- Will I be working with other members on the team, or will I have just one agent?
- Does each team member at your office work independently, or is it a team dynamic?
- Do you work primarily with buyers or sellers?
- Do you represent buyers and sellers on the same home?
- What is your area of expertise? Can you give examples of helping others who were in a similar situation?
- What is your preferred method of communication? How often should I expect to hear from you?
- At what point am I obligated to work with you?
Buying a home can be a confusing experience, so finding a Realtor who will walk you through each step and reduce your stress is key. You need to find someone who is willing to work with your budget, will listen to your needs and will work with the owners or listing agent to make sure you are getting the exact home you want.
Creating a budget:
- How do I set a budget for a home?
- Do I need good credit to buy a home?
- How much should I budget for the downpayment and closing costs?
- When do I need to get pre-approved for a mortgage?
- Do you have any local lenders you can recommend that fit my needs?
- Are there any local home loan programs, grants or tax credits I should know about?
- Do you normally work with people in my price range?
- How many homes have you closed in my target area this year?
- What fees will I be paying in order to buy a home?
- What services do you offer beyond negotiations and escrow?
- Do sellers or buyers pay closing costs?
- Do you charge any buyer admin or processing fees after closing?
House hunting and negotiations:
- What do you charge me for your services and are there any additional misc. fees that you charge (broker, admin, etc)? *This should be ZERO.
- What should I expect the buying process to look like?
- What neighborhoods will you be able to show me homes in?
- Will you be able to help me find the best neighborhoods for my family size, commute time, hobbies and lifestyle?
- Will you be able to refer me to trusted vendors, like mortgage brokers, lenders, and movers, if needed?
- What legal issues and/or processes do I need to be aware of as I buy a home?
- What if I am interested in a for sale-by-owner property?
- How quickly do you think I can find a home?
- Will you provide comparables that will help me determine how much I should offer?
- Will you be helping me write an offer and make negotiations?
- What are the pros and cons of buying a home in foreclosure?
- What are the pros and cons of buying a home that is a short sale?
- What do I need to know about the inspection process?
Questions to ask a realtor when selling your home
Current homeowners will want to find a Realtor who will know how to market (and sell) your home for the best price, bringing several qualified buyers through your door. Here are some questions to ask that will help you find a great Realtor and prepare for the selling process:
Listing details and fees:
- How do I determine the value of my home and set a listing price?
- How much should I expect the selling process to cost me?
- Can you tell me what fees I’ll be responsible for?
- What legal issues and/or processes do I need to be aware of as I sell my home?
- What is the best time of year to sell? What tactics will you use to help me get the best price if we aren’t in peak season?
- What sets your marketing apart from others?
- What repairs and renovations will I need to make before I list my home?
- Will you hire a professional photographer to shoot my home?
- Would you recommend hiring an interior designer or staging firm for open houses?
- What do you do to attract and sell other agents on my home in order to attract buyers?
- Do you have other listings (both higher and lower in price) that you may be able to attract buyers from?
- Where will you be listing my home?
Preparing for the selling process:
- What should I expect the selling process to look like?
- What is the average time you expect to sell a home like mine in?
- How many homes have you closed this year?
- What percentage of your listings sold last year?
- Will you be able to refer me to trusted vendors, like staging experts, contractors and movers, if needed?
- Do you have a list of professionals I will need to work with in case there is any electrical, plumbing or landscaping work I need to do?
- What outside factors, like interest rates, might affect the sale?
- Will I need to negotiate with potential buyers?
- What factors do I need to consider when it comes to open houses?
- Do I need to get insurance to protect my belongings and home during open houses and showings?
- Can I live in my home while it’s listed for sale?
- Will you personally be answering buyer phone calls?
- If circumstances change, will I have the option to cancel my listing with written notice?
- Will you guide me through the process between selling and settling?
- What do I need to consider when reviewing offers?
Taking the time to ask these questions will ensure you hire an experienced Realtor and get you better prepared to buy or sell.
Many great Realtors have plenty of happy clients who are willing to refer them. So, you can start by asking friends or family members who have recently bought or sold a home who they recommend. You can also attend open houses, keep an eye out for signs in the neighborhood you want to live in or talk to one of our qualified Colorado Springs Realtors who would be more than happy to answer your questions.
Just remember, while it might be tempting to hire the first person you talk to (or your family friend who does real estate part-time), you want to talk to a few people and make sure you are finding the right Realtor for you and your home.