Buying a home is a long-term investment that will pay off for years, if not decades. Here are 20 first time homebuyer questions every buyer should ask real estate agents before and during the screening process to ensure you’re dealing with the right realtor for your needs.
If you don’t ask the correct questions and do your homework before buying a home, you may find yourself in yet another “wig” situation, this time with even more disastrous consequences. That’s why having a reliable real estate agent is important.
First Time Homebuyer Questions to Ask Your Realtor
Choosing the right agent is necessary to safeguard your homebuying success. In 2021, % of home buyers purchased their homes through a realtor, thus choosing the right agent is vital to achieving your homebuying success. First-Time Homebuyer Questions to Ask Your Realtor
1. How long have you worked as a real estate agent?
An agent that has been in the industry for a long time will be able to anticipate problems and will have tried and proven negotiation techniques. They’ll also have built connections with other real estate agents.
2. Each year, how many homes do you help buyers in making a purchase? How many homes do you help in closing in total?
According to the National Association of Realtors, real estate brokers close an average of ten properties every year. It could be a red flag if your agent is well below that.
3. Do you work as an agent full-time or part-time?
Full-time agents are more likely to be able to dedicate more time to working for you than part-time real estate agents. Part-time agents are fairly prevalent because commissions can be profitable but often unreliable. Working with someone who is juggling a second job or is semi-retired can be unpleasant, and it might put your home sale or purchase at danger.
Make sure they’re a full-time agent; not only will they have a better understanding of the market, but they’ll also be more likely to react to you quickly and without interruptions. You’ll have to schedule your viewings and questions around their time, not yours if an agent has another job and helps you on the side. When it comes time to make an offer or negotiate, timeliness and availability are critical.
4. Do you have experience working with both buyers and sellers?
Many agents specialize in either buyer or seller representation. While it’s ideal to locate someone who focuses on one area, an agent who works in both areas may be able to provide valuable insight on both sides of the transaction.
5. How many buyer clients do you currently have?
This is a line that should be trodden carefully. A high number of clients may indicate that your agent does not have enough time to devote to you, while a low number may be cause for concern.
6. What is the buyer-to-seller ratio that you represent?
Getting a sense of the buyer-to-seller ratio will provide you with some insight into your agent’s skills. If they have a diverse customer list, it could indicate that they are well-versed in all sides of the process.
There is no magic number to keep an eye on. Kauffman, on the other hand, believes it’s more about fit and whether their response aligns with what you’re searching for.
7. From the first home you visit together until the closing table, how long do you normally work with buyers?
Though few buyers find their dream home right away, your real estate agent can make a big difference in how long it takes you to find it. Many factors influence how long it takes to find a property; nevertheless, you should be cautious if your agent works with clients for six months or longer on a regular basis.
8. Is it possible for me to view your professional license?
This may seem self-evident but always work with a licensed professional. There are numerous scammers running all over the world!
9. Do you have any references I might contact?
You’d probably call a new employee’s references if you hired them, right? Make sure you’re vetting your new agent with the same care you’d give any other employee. Be wary if they can’t provide you with a list of satisfied customers.
Online reviews, according to Kauffman, can also be beneficial because they demonstrate how an agent interacts with clients. “You can determine if this individual is a people person and if it’s going to be a good fit for you by reading the reviews,” she says.
10. Have you guided buyers in finding homes in these areas?
Your real estate agent should be well-versed in the location you’re considering. What types of homes customers demand, what types of homes sell, and so on vary by community. Make sure your agent is familiar with the neighborhood where you wish to buy.
11. Have you assisted buyers in finding homes in these price ranges?
Price ranges can have a significant impact on how a home is promoted, as well as how agents view them. If your budget is $300,000, an agent who specializes in multimillion-dollar listings is less likely to pay attention to you.=
12. Will I be working with you one-on-one or in a group?
It can be unsettling to be handed off to an associate after entering an agent-buyer relationship with the expectation that the agent will handle you personally. Make it obvious who you’ll be dealing with the most, what your agent will handle personally, and what will be delegated to their support team.
13. Could you suggest (fill in the blank)?
Your agent should be able to recommend a mortgage broker, appraiser, inspector, real estate lawyer, general contractor, moving firms, and anything else related to real estate. The network of your agent could be just as significant as their team.
14. What is the procedure for your commission?
Before engaging into a partnership with your agent, have a good grasp of how they are compensated, just like you would with any other financial transaction.
Typically, purchasers do not pay commissions to real estate agents. The seller pays their broker’s fees, and the commission is split with the buyer’s agent. The proportion varies by agent and market but both the buyer’s and seller’s agent commissions are typically around 6%.
15. What strategies do you use to assist purchasers to compete in this market?
Breaking through the competition is critical if you’re trying to buy in a competitive market. Inquire about how your prospective agent plans to help you stand out in a sea of offers.
16. Can you walk me through the home-buying process from beginning to end?
For first-time homebuyers, the process can be lengthy and confusing. Ask your agent to walk you through the procedure from start to finish and take notes, being sure to ask for any clarifications you might need along the way.
Showings, offers, what occurs during a house inspection, what happens after an offer is accepted, what happens during the closing process, what is the timeframe from start to end — and anything else you can think of are all ideal topics to address.
Once you’ve discovered a home, you’ll have a lot of questions. Ask the following:
1. Is it possible to see a CMA for this home?
To determine the worth of a home, a CMA, or comparative market analysis, looks at roughly ten comparable homes in the region. A CMA is necessary to establish whether the home you’re considering is priced appropriately for the market.
2. Are there any major red flags about this residence that you see? What are your biggest concerns?
Take advantage of an agent’s experience and expertise. An agent can often spot faults with a home that a buyer might miss.
3. What kind of offer will ensure that this house is yours? What kind of offer would be a suitable place to start negotiating?
If you’re in a competitive market, a low-ball offer might not even be considered by the seller. If you’re in a market where you can negotiate, you don’t want to make a ridiculously high offer and risk overpaying. An agent with experience should be able to advise you on what to offer for a home and why.
4. What if the inspector discovers something?
Is there anything more frustrating than finding your dream home only to realize it has termites? Certainly not. Discuss how your agent will handle unforeseen issues with you. To compensate for any flaws discovered during the inspection, arrangements can usually be worked out with the seller in the form of repairs or concessions.
Wrapping it Up
Choosing the right realtor is vital whether you’re a first-time homeowner or moving into your second or third home. A realtor can help you find your ideal property while also ensuring that you are protected at all times. However, you must feel at ease with them and fully trust them with this significant investment. These questions will assist you in doing so, making the home-buying process as simple as possible and successful.
If all goes according to plan, your agent may become a valuable resource for you for years to come. In 2020, 91 percent of buyers stated they would use or recommend their agency to others. A top buyer’s agent, on the other hand, can make your transaction a little more comfortable and less nerve-wracking.