These three questions to ask a real estate agent will help you find the right fit and can make your home-buying experience that much more rewarding.
There are three important questions to ask a real estate agent when deciding who will help you buy your home. Knowing which questions to ask a real estate agent before choosing one to work with can make or break your home-buying experience.
There are a lot of great agents out there, but it’s important to find the one that’s right for you. Buying a house is often an emotional, and sometimes stressful, undertaking. Your agent should be someone who inspires confidence and puts you at ease, not someone who makes the process more frustrating. Therefore, you need to focus on the right questions to ask a real estate agent.
As a homeowner and real estate agent, I’ve been on both sides of the home-buying journey. I know how important it is to find the right fit and asking the following questions will help you do just that.
Questions to ask a real estate agent before you commit to working with them:
What’s your communication style?
This question for a real estate agent may seem strange to ask. However, communication is important in mortgage transactions. You want to make sure that you and your agent are on the same page about when and how you’re going to be in touch.
Most agents these days are big texters. Because we can’t always pick up the phone, especially if we’re showing a house to another client or sitting with them at their closing, texting is a great way to get your questions answered fast.
Having said that, some people – myself included – like to actually talk things out. I’m a lightning-fast texter, but I love to get on the phone with clients and talk through their questions, concerns, options and ideas. So, when a client asks if it’s OK to call me, I’m thrilled!
But every agent is different. Some communicate mostly through email or have hours during which they’re less likely to respond. You want to find someone who communicates via your preferred methods, and on a schedule, that works for you. Buying a house can be stressful under the best of circumstances, and you don’t want to be wondering why your real estate agent isn’t responding to you amid everything else you have on your mind.
What types of borrowers do you work with?
Asking this question of a real estate agent will set you up for home-buying success. If you know that you plan to buy a home with a particular type of loan – VA or USDA, for example – ask your real estate agent whether they have worked with similar buyers in the past.
Why does it matter? Because these loans have specific property requirements that need to be met in order to qualify for your loan. For instance, USDA loans can only be used to buy homes in USDA-designated areas. You don’t want your agent to show you houses in a neighborhood where you can’t use your preferred type of financing.
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you may prefer to work with someone who helps a lot of people buy their first homes versus someone who typically focuses on vacation homes or investment properties. You want your agent to be tuned into your needs and the types of support that will best help you through the home-buying process.
Along those same lines, if you’re thinking of buying a fixer-upper, ask if your agent has any experience with these properties. Have they bought a fixer-upper themselves? Have they helped other borrowers purchase them?
There’s a lot to consider if you plan to renovate a home, and it’s best to work with a real estate agent who knows what to look out for in a property and what questions you should ask before you put in an offer on a home that needs some TLC.
Do your personalities align?
This isn’t something to ask your real estate agent so much as it’s a question you want to ask yourself. It’s important to feel comfortable with and confident in your agent, so think about whether you trust this person. What does your instinct tell you? Are you willing to spend months chatting back and forth with this agent? Do you feel like you can talk to them openly about your home-buying preferences?
Again, every agent is different, and so is every buyer. Some people prefer a straightforward, down-to-business, transactional relationship. Others want to develop more of a rapport.
In my case, it often feels like I’m my clients’ best friend who also happens to be their real estate agent. If they’re upset, they tell me about it. If they’re worried about an offer, we talk it out. If they’re ecstatic after finding the perfect house, we’re celebrating together. My clients tend to call me and confide in me throughout the process because that’s my personality and that’s what they want in an agent. But you may feel differently, and it’s important to work with someone whose personality aligns with yours.
One way to figure out if you and a particular agent have a similar vibe is to check out their social media. Many real estate agents are on Instagram, TikTok and other social platforms. You can often get a feel for their personalities and working styles there.
If you check out my TikTok, you’ll hear me talk about the housing market, home décor, and all things Maryland crabs and crushes. It’s easy to get a sense of my personality before you work with me, and that’s the case for a lot of other agents, too.
As you scroll through their content, ask yourself whether this is someone you’re going to feel comfortable asking questions and opening up to throughout the homebuying process.
The bottom line on questions to ask a real estate agent
Don’t be shy about asking your real estate agent about their working style, communication preferences, their stats – anything you’re curious about. Buying a house is the biggest purchase most people ever make, and your agent is the one who will help you find and negotiate for that house. You will be doing yourself a huge favor by asking the questions you need answered and choosing someone you’re confident will get the job done.
The information in this article contains personal opinions and may not entirely represent those of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation NMLS#2289.
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