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What questions should a first time home buyer ask when interviewing real estate agents?

  • April 09 - Newport Beach
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Answers (9)

Profile picture for aracz
Hi,

Also ask them how many clients they are working with at the moment, to see if they have time for you, and make clear the type of communications you prefer.

All the best,

Arpad

 
  • May 02
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Profile picture for Chris Boyles
1.  You should ask is if they work in the area you are looking to buy in.  You want an agent who knows the market and what homes are currently on the market.  
2.  How long have they been in the business?
3.  Do you do this full time or part time?  You will want someone who does this full time, the good properties go very quickly and the last thing you want to happen is you want to see a house that just came on the market and they can not get you in the home for a showing because they are working another job.
4.  What is the process of buying a home?  They should explain in detail on the process to buy a home
5.  Leads to the next question, what is the first step?  Talking to a lender and getting your pre approval done is first, I recommend going with a local lender that you can sit down with and go over the different loan options.  The last thing you want to do is call a chase or bank of america through a 1-800 number.
6.  What are my options in my budget and area that I want to be in?  They should be able to tell you what you can expect to get in the area you want to be in that is in your budget or tell you that it is not possible and recommend other areas that will work within your search criteria.
7  What paper work needs to be signed to get started?  An Information About Brokers Services should be presented at this time and a Buyer Representation Agreement.  A Buyers Rep Agreement is stating that you are a client of the Realtor and not a customer, this is not stating that you have to purchase a home with in the time on the agreement, just a contract showing the relationship between the buyer and the Realtor.  Without this agreement, you are customer to the agent and not his client, he can not fully represent you without having this in place.
  • May 01
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Profile picture for BungalowMo
I've only purchased once.  In this process, my first agent seemed SO ready & willing to help.  I gave him the bottom line on what I wanted & what I could afford.  2 maybe 3 BR & no more than 250k

He sent me emails several times a day...4 br...5 br!  450k....370k...blah blah.  Finally I asked him what the bleep he was doing.  I'm a single person with no kids & I do not want or need a McMansion.

When he finally found me a townhouse, it was a lot closer to what I wanted, but was also $300k.  The sellers would not budge on a thing & when I was at their office, his loan officer kept shoving papers in my face & telling me to sign this & that.  I kept stopping him & asking what it is...he just kept saying "it's ok...just sign this..."

I stopped this entire thing...it was all so pushy & wrong!  I left.

8 months later I found my dream home from an agent who was a doll, did not waste my time or hers &  her loan officer was SO patient & walked me through everything in a slow, methodical process.

Bottom line...You will know it's the right agent if you feel a mutual respect & they aren't showing you properties that are way out of your price range & basic footprint/size you're looking for.  If you cannot get your questions answered at all or they're pushy...RUN.
  • April 30
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Profile picture for user011495616
Thanks everyone....I really appreciate the advice! Starting my California home search....wish me luck!
  • April 10
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You should ask any question that's important to you, but the most important things to know about an agent - after you've determined that they're honest, ethical, and trustworthy, is:

1. they have the experience to help you select and evaluate the best home for your needs,
2. they are excited about working with you,
3. they have the time to devote to you.

After you have covered those basics, the next thing to qualify agents on is their communication skills - how well do you understand them, and how well do they understand you - because the vast majority of real estate problems have their roots in misunderstandings.

All the best,
  • April 10
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Profile picture for hpvanc
Here are a couple I would start with:

1.    Do you work exclusively in a buying/purchasing capacity when you represent a buyer? (if yes proceed to #2, if no end the interview)
2.    What does working in a buying/purchasing capacity mean to you?
3.    What technical credentials, qualifications and verifiable competencies do you have for assisting in the completion of the due diligence?

If they get the buying/purchasing versus sales/selling questions to your satisfaction, you may want to explore this one:

Do you have a compensation arrangement that is an alternative to collecting a sales commission from the listing agent? (if you want the agent to truly and fully work for you as a buyer)
  • April 09
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Some is what you ask, but some is beyond the actual words so listen to the responses.  For example, an agent who answers the questions you ask wins over one who hasn't responded to your question. For example, if you are asking about buying, the answers should be about buying!

For some ideas, here's a link to Zillow's buyer's roadmap.

Here's an interesting article by an agent about agent referrals.
  
  • April 09
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Just as you are sizing up the potential for a good fit, rest assured that the real estate agent will likely be interviewing you, too. Be wary of agents who don't ask you questions and probe for your motivation. You wouldn't work with just any agent off the street, and good agents are just as selective about their clients, too.

Check thier licensing with the department of real estate!

1. How Long Have You Been in the Business?
2. What is Your Average List-Price-to-Sales-Price Ratio?
3. What is Your Best Marketing Plan or Strategy for My Needs?
4. Will You Please Provide References?
5. What Are the Top Three Things That Separate You From Your Competition?
6. May I Review Documents Beforehand That I Will Be Asked to Sign?
7. How Will You Help Me Find Other Professionals?
8. How Much Do You Charge?
9. What Kind of Guarantee Do You Offer?
10. What Haven't I Asked You That I Need to Know?

Good luck with your home search!
  • April 09
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Profile picture for amyweeks
I would ask how many first time homebuyers they have worked with before. And if they are familiar with the areas that you want to look in.

I would also ask them to walk you through the process before you get started.

I would be happy to find you a great agent in your area if you lik.

Amy Weeks, Associate Broker
Keller Williams Metro Atlanta
[Removed by Zillow Moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy.]
  • April 09
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