If you’re getting ready to make a move, whether buying or selling, chances are you’re also in the market for a Realtor who can help you wade through the waters of a complex real estate transaction in a fast moving market. You may be familiar or friendly with the Realtor you’d like to enlist, or you may be starting from scratch, hunting on the internet or asking for recommendations from your friends or family. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to fully understand the person you’re going to saddle up with for this wild ride. It’s important that you’re armed with a few important questions to ask a potential Realtor, since they will will be your go-to advocate from beginning to end and beyond. It’s imperative that you find a good fit, both personally and professionally, so that you can get the most from your real estate experience.
Questions to Ask a Potential Realtor
“Are you full-time or part-time?”
It may seem like an obvious question, but real estate is a flexible career that allows any level of participation. You should know upfront what to expect from your agent. A part time agent may be perfectly capable of handling your transaction but will most often have another job that pays the bills – you need to know that that other job will take priority over your deal. If you are comfortable with waiting for your Realtor to get off work to respond to your questions and needs, that is fine. On the other hand, a full-time Realtor will be more responsive, communicative and able to handle your needs, especially in a quick moving market. If you select a part-time Realtor, expect part-time results.
“Who will handle my needs from beginning to end?”
Again, it is a simple question, but many home buyers or sellers might not understand how some agents organize their ‘team’. Some agents have a slew of assistants, transaction managers, or other agents to help with their workload, different teams have different levels of success. If you’re working with a team, you need to understand that the Realtor you sign up with may not be your main point of contact throughout the process. It is likely that after you go under contract on your purchase or sale, your file will get pushed along to a transaction manager or assistant. If you aren’t comfortable with an unlicensed assistant handling the biggest transaction of your life, you might want to enlist an agent who will handle the entire process from beginning to end. There is generally a more consistent level of professionalism when you enlist a Realtor who will be yours from contract through closing.
“How long have you been in business?”
This is somewhat of a trick question. Sometimes, duration in the business does not necessarily equal experience. You could enlist an agent with 20 years of experience, who averages selling one house per year, or an agent who has 1 year of experience, but sells 20 houses. It’s all relative. A newer, less experienced agent can and will get the job done, so long as you trust that they have the resources and support to solve your problems. Similarly, experience in the business does not necessarily mean that the Realtor will be the right fit for you. Like the previous question, you need to know that your Realtor will have time for you – an experienced agent with dozens of clients at any given time might not have the time necessary to meet your needs. Utilizing this question will help you find your best fit.
“Tell me about this market.”
Ok, while this isn’t a question, we’ll call it a leading statement. You want to know that your Realtor is up to speed on the market and knows the trends and stats without flinching. A lesser agent will rely on generalities while an intelligent and involved Realtor will give you specific statistics, strong direction and sage advice based on your unique situation. If you don’t get a strong or clear answer, your BS meter should go off.
“What makes you different?”
In the Northern Colorado market, there are literally thousands of Realtors and even more licensed real estate agents. There are big brands and small independent brands (like Ascent) that can serve your needs in completely different ways. This question is meant to weed out the Realtors who aren’t special, who don’t have a unique identity or value proposition. Plainly put, your Realtor should know what makes them different or unique, or they shouldn’t be in the business. Whether they use their brand backing, a unique personality trait, an impressive marketing package or a special above-and-beyond service to differentiate themselves, any Realtor you enlist should be able to answer the question.
Bonus Questions to Ask a Potential Realtor
“How will you communicate with me?” – Set the expectation on how you’ll connect most often: phone, email or text.
“Where are you involved in the community?” – A Realtor who is fully involved and invested is a Realtor who is committed to building a better community.
When it comes down to it, one of the best questions to ask a potential Realtor is, “Do you have any referrals or recommendations from past clients?” Don’t rely on online referrals (some of which are paid for), ask for the names and numbers of a few past clients and do your homework to find the best fit. If you’re interested in selecting a Realtor, please contact one of our very qualified agents – you’re armed with all the questions you need!
About the Author: Jared Reimer is a native Coloradoan and an Associate Broker at Elevations Real Estate in Old Town Fort Collins. He’s a community advocate, business champion, blogger, leader, tireless volunteer, innovator, thinker and expert on all things real estate in Fort Collins and surrounding Northern Colorado. You’re likely to find Jared spending quality time outside with his wife, Kacie, and young son, Hudson, or sharing a beer or two with a friend throughout Fort Collins. Call or text Jared at 970.222.1049 or email him at Jared@TheCraftBroker.com