The relationship between the buyer/seller and their realtor is a special one. Going into the home buying or selling process, you’ll want to make sure that your realtor is the right fit for your needs.
Here are 4 smart questions that you should ask a potential realtor prior to working with them.
What neighborhoods or home types do you specialize in?
One of the first pieces of information to learn about your realtor is what types of homes do they typically sell, and where do they do most of their business.
Let’s say you’re in the market for a home that is around $600,000. The median home price in College Station is around $330,000 as of October 2022 according to Zillow, so you’re in a higher asking price bracket than the typical home buyer.
Let’s say you’re also looking for a home in a specific type of subdivision with specific amenities – master-planned with access to a golf course.
For both buyer needs, you’re going to want to make sure the realtor you’re working with has worked in that college station real estate market tier and that they’re familiar with those subdivisions.
How to Ask
Before you speak with your realtor, it’s best to have a really good idea what type of property you’re looking for and what your price range is. From there, you can directly tell them, “Hey, I’m really looking for this type of property at this price range. Is that something you’re familiar with?”
Do you represent buyers, sellers, or both?
New homebuyers might not be aware of this, but realtors can represent both sides of a real estate transaction: buyers and sellers.
There are different responsibilities that come with each.
Buyers agents are supposed to be advocates for those looking to purchase a new home. They are there to get the best deal for their clients. Usually, that means getting the lowest price and ensuring that the property is quality and the sellers have all the right documents in place.
On the other hand, sellers agents are there to represent the sellers’ best interest, which often means attaining the highest sale price for the property. Sellers’ agents are instrumental in getting the house set up for showing, getting all the necessary documents in order, and working with the title company and buyers’ agent to see the sale through.
Because the responsibilities are so different, it’s important to understand how your prospective College Station realtor typically likes to work. Do they typically represent buyers? Sellers?
It’s not uncommon for realtors to have experience representing both sides of the real estate transaction.
How to Ask
This question is very, very common and realtors shouldn’t be surprised to hear it. Just ask away!
How many home sales do you handle each year?
When working with an experienced College Station realtor, it’s important to get an idea of how many real estate transactions they handle at a given time. You don’t want to work with someone who is taking on too much business, and you don’t want to work with someone who doesn’t have enough experience to navigate the real estate sales process.
The ideal number is somewhat subject to how much homes are selling for, but my professional recommendation is to find a realtor who has a few years under their belt. In terms of the number of real estate transactions per year, the healthy amount is between 4 – 8 a year.
In that range, your realtor will be active in the market with plenty of bandwidth to handle you as a client.
How to Ask
This is another question that realtors shouldn’t be surprised to hear, so just ask away.
Are you an individual, or do you work with a team?
The last question that you should ask your realtor is whether they work as an individual or as part of an agency, brokerage, or College Station real estate team. There are various benefits that come with each, so you want to make sure that their status is aligned with your needs as a buyer/seller.
The benefits of working with an individual realtor is that you typically get more flexibility and more focused attention. When working with realtors who are part of a larger team, you’ve often got a bigger machine working on your behalf. It might feel a little more impersonal, but you also have a team that specializes in different aspects of the real estate process, so things might move a little bit quicker.
How to Ask
You’ll most likely know the status of your potential realtor prior to meeting with them. It’s often stated on the website whether they’re part of a team or work as an individual. If it’s unclear from their online presence, feel free just to ask them during your first meeting or phone call.