The 5 Most Important Questions to Ask a Realtor
- before letting them represent you.

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1. Why did they choose Real Estate as a career? Is it only a hobby?  Make sure your agent is full time and serious about their career. Ask them about their compensation: Does their broker provide all the overhead so there is no investment by the Agent or do they share in the expenses thus creating a need for them to provide good service. Many Agents are the second income earners for the family, or they just "like people". These are not motivated Agents. Find one that makes Real Estate a full time career and depends on it for a living. Stay away from any Agent that has a vague answer to this question or is in Real Estate just because their other careers didn’t work out or they are semi-retired.

2. Are they computerized? This goes beyond the obvious computerized multiple listing service. If they are not at least on the multiple list system start walking away! Today’s Agent should have as a minimum their own desktop or laptop PC and use it to store client data, record conversation notes and publish flyers. The Agents on the cutting edge operate nearly paperless and utilize computer faxes and high quality publishing and printing capabilities. All serious Realtors have a World Wide Web Site!!!

3. What is their education and training? Do they have specific training beyond the real estate license courses? These courses and many of the continuing education courses required by the state do little to enhance the ability of an Agent to find you a home or sell you one. Look for agents with course work in college related to Real Estate or marketing & sales. Many non credit sales training courses and seminars also provide good training. Course work in business law, contract law, economics and finance are very helpful. You should choose an Agent that is an expert in their field not just picking it up as they go along. Many new agents provide greater benefits to their clients because of their education and past experience.

4. Do they have "Real World" experience? First they should have at least owned their own home at some point; preferably several homes. How can someone help you if they have not gone through it themselves? Also, assuming this is not their first job, have they been in related business fields with similar skill sets? An outside sales rep, advertising copy writer, marketing consultant, etc. will bring much to their Real Estate careers. It may be more difficult for a former teacher, accountant or skilled laborer to transition in to Real Estate. Careful questioning will reveal if they have what it takes.

5. What is their pricing & negotiating strategy? This answer should be "it depends".  There is no fixed % to negotiate on a home, it depends on the market and Seller motivation. Two principles should dominate your purchase price strategy. First if you have been looking at similar homes in a price range you know what you can expect for your money. The market determines price. Secondly your agent should provide you with data on other homes that have sold in the area. This will allow you to determine sale price trends. This data should then allow you and your Agent to determine what you are willing to pay and the best way to get to that price.

These are just a few of the most important things to know about during the home buying process.
Call me, Sam Whiteside, with any questions about buying or selling your home. I will be pleased to help.

This reports is based on personal experience and published articles. It is presented as opinion only and not meant in any way to slander Realtors who do not agree with its content, or to solicit currently listed properties.

Report courtesy of Tom Schroth: RE/MAX North Atlanta. 


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