What should I ask my real estate agent?

Qualifications are important. However, finding a solid, professional agent means getting beyond the resume, and into what makes an agent effective. Use the following questions as your starting point in hiring your licensed, professional real estate agent:

  1. Why did you become a real estate agent?
  2. Why should I work with you?
  3. What do you do better than other real estate agents?
  4. What process will you use to help me find the right home for my particular wants and needs?
  5. What are the most common things that go wrong in a transaction and how would you handle them?
  6.  What are some mistakes that you think people make when buying their first home?
  7. What other professionals do you suggest we work with and what are their credentials?
  8. Can you provide me with references or testimonials from past clients?

What are the steps?

  1. Decide to buy.
  2. Hire your agent.
  3. Secure financing.
  4. Find your home.
  5. Make an offer.
  6. Perform due diligence.
  7. Appraisal comes in at or above your sale price.
  8. Loan is approved.
  9. Close.
  10. Protect your investment.

How much can I afford?

Your lender decides what you can borrow but you decide what you can afford.

Lenders are careful, but they make qualification decisions based on averages and formulas. They won’t understand the nuances of your lifestyle and spending patterns quite as well as you do. So, leave a little room for the unexpected – for all the new opportunities your home will give you to spend money, from furnishings, to landscaping, to repairs.

Deciding how much you can afford should involve some careful attention to how your financial profile will change in the upcoming years. In the long run, your own peace of mind and security will matter most.

Should I know what I want already?

Before the home search begins, your real estate agent

will want to know as much as possible about the features and amenities you desire. To help your agent better serve you, analyze what you want and what you need in a home’s features and amenities.

Features include things like age, style, number of bedrooms & bathrooms.

Amenities are things like a security system, fireplace, pool etc.

Where should I buy?

Where you buy not only affects the home's current and future value, but it also affects your lifestyle. Your agent will be able to conduct a more targeted home search if you outline your preferences in neighborhoods and nearby amenities. 

Consider things like:

  • Urban, suburban or rural
  • School districts
  • Proximity to the airport etc..

New or used: Should I consider new home construction?

Whether to buy an existing home or have one built is yet another decision to make during the home-buying process. If you decide to go with new construction, a real estate agent can be a powerful advocate in your corner as you negotiate upgrades, a move-in date and other terms with the home builder. The most important factors are selecting a builder and negotiating costs upfront.

Why do I need a real estate agent?

Seven main roles of your real estate agent

  1. Educates you about the market.
  2. Analyzes your wants and needs.
  3. Guides you to homes that fit your criteria.
  4. Coordinates the work of other needed professionals.
  5. Negotiates on your behalf.
  6. Checks and double-checks paperwork and deadlines.
  7. Solves any problems that may arise