Purchasing a home is one of the biggest investments most people make in a lifetime. Fortunately real estate commissions are nearly always paid by the seller, therefore there is no reason for a buyer not to use a reputable and trustworthy buyer’s agent for every step of their home purchase transaction. Before you select a buyer’s agent there are some important questions you should ask. Let us take a look at a few of them.
How long have you been engaged full-time as a residential real estate buyer’s agent? Experienced agents will be happy to answer this question and obviously the longer they have been in business, the more experience they will have. Although the length of time they have been in the real estate business is no guarantee of their ability, it is still a good yardstick by which to measure their expertise and reliability.
What credentials and certifications do you have as a buyer’s agent? This is where choosing a Realtor over a real estate agent is an important decision. REALTORS® have certifications from the National Association of REALTORS® and also Accredited Buyer Representative Certification which allows them a more advanced education than a typical real estate agent. There is also a Certified Buyer Representative designation that lets clients know that this is a buyer’s agent with superior skills and training.
May I have the names and phone numbers of six of your most recent clients? Asking for references and testimonials allows you an opportunity to speak to your buyer’s agent’s previous clients and find out how they felt about working with him or her. This is an excellent way to gain insight into how well the agent communicated with clients and how well the transaction was handled. If your agent is reluctant to offer this information, there may be cause for concern on your part.
What are your fees and how do you get paid? The fees for buyer’s agents can vary and although the seller generally pays such fees it is important to understand how much they are and exactly how they will be handled. It is always preferable to understand from the very beginning how your agent will be paid and whether there is room for negotiation in the fee structure.
How will we keep in touch and what are the steps we will follow during this transaction? It is critical that you know exactly how to reach your agent and that your agent is accessible and available to you easily and quickly. You should know each step of the home buying process and be able to ask questions and voice concerns. An honest conversation about what you expect and are looking for will help to ensure that your communication styles are compatible and that you have selected an agent you can work with.
This is a brief list of questions you should ask any potential buyers agent but you should formulate some of your own questions and make a point of asking them.