Questions You Should Ask
Regardless of whether you want to sell or buy property, it can be helpful to seek the advice and expertise from a real estate broker. If you are not particularly familiar with the real estate market, you could be forgiven for feeling a little apprehensive of just relying on the word of a so-called expert. This is why it is important to vet real estate brokers and one way you can do this is by asking questions that will tell you a lot about their ability and experience.
How Long Have You Been In Business?
This is perhaps common sense, but it is nevertheless essential that you ask them how long they have been in business. It’s not just the number of years they have been practicing that you should be interested in, but how many buyers/sellers they have worked with and if those clients had similar needs to yours.
You should ask if they have any references or testimonials they could share with you or even contact details of previous clients, so you can investigate from the horse’s mouth what they are like to work with.
What Types Of Properties And Geographic Area Do You Handle?
As different geographic areas and property markets have their own unique quirks, it is wise to ask real estate brokers where their expertise lies. After all, using the services of a realtor who only has experience handling rural properties is no good if you are looking for a city-centric condo.
What Methods Of Communication Do You Use?
Communication is a key factor when it comes to buying and selling real estate, as a breakdown in communication for just an hour or two can result in missed opportunities such as the property of your dreams. Therefore, it is vital that the real estate broker you choose to work with can contact and be contacted quickly, regardless of whether it is by fax, phone, text or email.
It is also important to ask who will be your main point of contact, as many busier real estate brokers work with a team of sub-agents and assistants, who handle the more day to day tasks. This could mean that you may not have access to the real estate broker you choose, and can be a deal breaker if you feel more confident with the realtor you met with on your initial appointment.
How well do you know the market?
A good estate agent will have access to market data tools particularly about what is known as comparable data. Comparable data will reveal how much similar properties to the one being marketed would have sold for based on historic data. This data may stretch to properties that are in the same street or may pair based on style, bedrooms and suburb location.
The last thing you need is your property being put on the market at an understated market value by an unscrupulous estate agent looking for a quick sale and quick commission payout.
Conversely you probably don’t want your property being brought onto the market at an inflated price if this means that the property won’t attract any interested buyers. It’s important that the background research has been undertaken to ensure that the right price is asked for your property.
How will you market my property?
It is important that the modern agent has more than a shop window to market your property. In fact, in today’s technical world having a window is probably the lowest item on your check list as a web presence is far more important.
It is likely that the trends have changed from the traditional days when the only way you would be able to look at available property was to obtain the property pages from the weekly supplement in your local paper to visit all the agents in town personally and make direct enquiries.
Imagine the pain if you were interested in buying a property outside your town without the Internet to help you. If you had to move say 200 miles away because of a job transfer you’d probably have to spend a weekend in that town looking around all the agents and collecting all the property publications you could get your hands on. All that on top of then having to view the properties you like. Nightmare. Thankfully we now all have Internet access and can visit central portal sites like Rightmove to look at the portfolios of all the agents in your town consolidated onto one site.
If you have any problems with your estate agent it is important to know the appropriate channels to use to launch complaints if things are not rectified. This government page contains a list of different associations that you can contact.