Whether you’re buying your first or fifth home, or selling your current home, it's a stressful time. Regardless of your stress coping mechanisms, the best way to feel comfortable with the process is to ask your realtor a few important questions before signing on the dotted line.
The Most Important Question To Ask Yourself About Your Realtor
Do you trust your realtor?
Buying or selling, homes are an investment. If you’re working with someone you don’t trust, the process can be costly, time-consuming, and energy-draining.
There are a lot of realtors. Plain and simple. The good news for you is that you get a choice of who you hire.
You do not have to work with the first realtor you work with.
If you do not connect with your realtor, you are not obligated to work with them. The home purchase or selling process can take months so you want to work with someone you like and can stand for a couple of weeks. Hey, we're just being honest.
Questions For Your Realtor If You're Buying A Home
There are near endless questions you can ask your realtor but these are a few of our favourites.
What is your experience level?
Most people will go to a trusted source, like a friend or family member, for a realtor. Maybe that friend or family member is a realtor. Regardless of how you connected to your potential realtor, it is still a good idea to ask what their experience level is and what others' experiences have been.
Ask your realtor about how long they have been in the industry and the realty team they are connected with. Even if they are just entering the realtor world, their company can still offer support with your purchase or sale.
Are there future changes coming to the neighbourhood?
Perhaps the neighbourhood you're looking at will also be home to a new transit or a mega mall. Whatever the case, you don’t want to move somewhere that won’t provide a return on your investment in the future.
Now, we know it's impossible to predict the future, but usually, these projects take years to plan and build. Your realtor should know what's planned for the neighbourhood.
Would your realtor buy this house?
Your realtor has seen a lot of houses during their career, both good and bad. It should raise a red flag if your realtor has any reservations about answering this question.
Questions For Your Realtor If You’re Selling Your Home
When you're selling your home, the stakes go up with your realtor. Now there's a commission involved, potential profit on your home, and coordinating the purchase of your next home. What should you ask your realtor if you're selling?
What is your commission, with tax?
Don’t be afraid to ask your realtor what their fees are and what you get for that cost. Does it include having your home professionally staged or for photography for the website?
Asking this question upfront will help you figure out your selling price as well as you can include the realtor's commission.
What are you going to do to sell my house?
Marketing isn’t just for cars or ketchup! Ask your realtor what marketing strategies they will use to get your home sold. Do they have a website with property listings that your home will be added to? Do they use social media to promote homes for sale? What about a newsletter for potential buyers? Ask to see what marketing they have done for homes in the past to get an idea of what to expect.
AND make sure to ask, are any of these services going to cost more?
How long do your homes typically stay on the market?
Sometimes you have a lot of time to sell your home. Other times, you need to sell it quickly. Ask your realtor how long their homes typically stay on the market, and what the average is for your neighbourhood.
If your realtor often sells a home quicker than the average, it doesn't always mean a positive thing. It may mean they are listing at lower prices, which means you won’t get the proper value for your home.
Can you recommend a home inspector/handyman or contractor/real estate lawyer?
Your realtor likely has a long list of contacts for other services buyers and sellers need, like inspectors, contractors, and lawyers.
If you trust your realtor, then usually using their connections is a great option. However, if you're looking for a second opinion, your mortgage broker also has a great list you can reference.