Picking the right Realtor is one
of those critical issues that can cost or save you thousands of
dollars. There are very specific questions you should be asking
to ensure that you get the best representation for your needs. Many
Realtors would prefer that you don't ask these questions, because the
knowledge you'll gain from their "honest answers" will give you a very good idea about what outcome you can expect from using
a Realtor. And let's face it
- in real
estate, as in life - not all things are created equal.
Are you a full-time professional REALTOR? How long have you
worked full time in real estate? What professional designations
do you have?
Knowing whether or not your Realtor practices real estate on a
full-time basis can give you a piece of the puzzle in foreseeing
scheduling conflicts and,
overall, his or her commitment to your
transaction. As with any profession, the number of years a person has
been in the business does not necessarily
reflect the level of service
you can expect, but it is a good starting point for your discussion.
The same issue can apply to professional designations. Do they invest
in their self to keep up with technology and industry trends?
Also you can start off
by asking friends or neighbors for recommendations
and don't stop at the first candidate. Ideally, you'll want to
interview at least three professionals before
you commit to working
with one of them. Even if you like the first one you've interviewed,
you still want to interview a couple more and if you still like the
first one after that, then I would hire them.
What type of business relationship would we have?
You should understand from the beginning your relationship with your
Realtor what type of relationship exists. In Colorado all real estate
required by law to let consumers know whether he or she is
working as an agent for the buyer or seller or as a transaction broker.
If you hire a real estate
broker as an agent, you are the principal and
the broker is your agent. An agent owes duties to the principal
which include utmost good faith, loyalty and
transaction broker may assist you through out the real estate
transaction with communication, advice, negotiation, contracting and
closing but is
not an agent or advocate for you. A transaction
broker can be hired by a seller, buyer or both.
Also when a seller or buyer hires a real estate broker, either
agent or transaction broker, that broker may communicate with the
opposite party (buyer or seller) and provide certain assistance without
the obligations of the brokerage relationship.
You should expect an oral and written disclosure of that brokerage
How will you keep in
contact with me during the process, and how often?
Its reasonable for you to set your expectations in accordance with how
your Realtor conducts business. You may be looking for a Realtor who
will call, fax,
or email you every day to tell you about prospective
buyers who have seen your home. On the other hand, your Realtor may
have access to systems that
will notify you automatically each time a
new visitor tours you home (which could happen several times a day or
several times a week). Asking this extra
question can help you to
reconcile your needs with your Realtor's systems, which makes for a far
more satisfying relationship.
Do you have a personal assistant,
team, or staff to handle different parts of the sales transaction? What are their names and how will each of them help me in my
transaction? How do I communicate with them?
It is not uncommon for high real estate sales producers to hire people
to work for them or with them. They typically work on a referral basis,
and, as their
businesses grow, they must be able to deliver the same or
higher quality service to more clients.
You may want to be clear about who on the team will take part in your
transaction, and what role each person will play. You may even want to
meet the other
team members before you decide to work with the team
overall. If you needed help with a certain part of your home sale, who
should you talk to and how
would you communicate? If you have a
question about fees on your closing statement, who would handle that?
Who will show up to your closing? These
are just a few of the
many important considerations in working with a team.
Can You Refer Me To A Reputable Mortgage Lender,
Banker, Appraiser, Inspector, Home Warranty Company, or Lawyer?
question reveals how active the Realtor is, and how well connected
professionally they have made themselves by associating with reputable,
competent lenders, appraisers, title companies, home warranty company,
etc. If your
Realtor is active, committed, and diligent with their
should be able to give you a few names of each right on
Do You Have A Formal And
Written Marketing Plan?
If you’re a seller, you want to price your home correctly, and be
regularly updated with important buyer activity. How many calls did you
get on your home
this week, what marketing strategies did you use, how
many home visits from other real estate professionals did you have (and
what were their comments),
how many people visited your open house?
How would you develop
pricing and marketing strategies for our home? Will you commit to
the marketing strategy in writing?
Pricing a home correctly is the single most important factor in
determining if a home sells quickly, or at all. Although location and
condition also affect the
selling process, price is a primary factor.
Access to all current property information is essential, and sometimes
a pre-appraisal will help. Ask your Realtor
where he or she obtained
the information to create the market analysis, and whether your Realtor
included For Sale by Owner homes, foreclosed homes, and
sales in that list.
Who determines where and
when my home is marketed/ promoted? Who pays for your advertising?
Ask your Realtor to present to you a clear marketing and advertising
budget, and how those dollars will be spent. Ask if there are other
advertisement/marketing media that are also available but not
mentioned in the budget/plan, and who pays for those. Request samples
of the various media
that your Realtor proposes (such as Internet Web
sites, print magazines, and local publications).
How will you get paid?
How are your fees structured?
This is an issue that can also be related to agency. In many areas, the
seller still customarily pays all Realtor commissions through the
Sometimes, REALTORS will have other small fees, such as
administrative or special service fees, that are charged to clients,
regardless of whether they are
buying or selling. Be aware of the big
picture before you sign any agreements. Ask for an estimate of
costs from any Realtor you contemplate employing.
Do you have a performance
guarantee? If I am not satisfied with your performance, can I
terminate our listing agreement?
Understand that, especially in the heavily regulated world of real
estate, it can be increasingly difficult for a Realtor to offer a
Sometimes you may find a Realtor who is willing
to guarantee that if you are dissatisfied in any way with their service
they will terminate your listing
agreement. If your Realtor does not
have a performance guarantee available in writing, it is not an
indication that he or she is not committed to perform.
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