Do you need a bigger home?
Is a job making you move?
Are you looking for more space, a more open floor plan or an at home office?
When your situation changes and it is time to buy or sell your property, it is critical to have a professional that you trust and who is going to work hard for you. But how do you know who that is? Only you can answer that, but when you start looking for an agent to work with, there are some things you should consider.
When interviewing agents, consider and ask the following questions. Keep in mind, this is a big deal, and you need the right person in your corner.
How long have you been in real estate?
There is no right or wrong answer for this one, it depends on the connection you make with the agent. You may connect with an agent that has decades of experience. You may connect with an agent that is a high producer. You may connect with an agent that is brand new. There are pros and cons to each situation. An experienced agent has dealt with many situations but may be more set in their ways or not as up to date with new technology and changing laws. A high producer may be able to get your listing in front of more people but may not provide the personal service you want. A new agent is still learning and may not have a big network, but will make you their primary focus. This isn’t to say that each person in the previous scenarios can deliver what the other does. What matters most is that you trust and respect the person you are hiring to sell your home or help you buy a new one.
How well do you know the area?
There are plenty of people born and raised here that don’t know where anything is, and there are plenty of people who moved here ten years ago and are basically a local. What matters is how the agent can use the information and network they have to help you. You need an agent that understands the social makeup, economy, geography and history of the area. You need an agent that has relationships and bonds with attorneys, lenders, contractors, tradesmen, inspectors, and other agents. And it certainly doesn’t hurt to have points of contact at zoning and planning, city hall and the local utilities too.
Do you specialize in what I am trying to buy or sell?
Many agents hold special certifications or designations. Some focus on oceanfront condos, or large land parcels, or million dollar estates. Some may focus on first time home buyers, senior clients or work strictly as a buyer’s agent or as a seller’s agent. Your agent should be able to identify, market and educate you on the most effective way to achieve your real estate goals.
Can you help me understand the market?
Your agent should be able to share an overview of your current real estate market. Understanding the trends, what has happened recently and forecasting the future based on data are important skills that your real estate agent should have in their toolkit. Ask them questions about the current market. Are prices rising or falling? Your approach to buying or selling will be impacted by what your current market is doing, and your agent should be able to educate you on the market. And, more importantly, explain how their plan to help you buy or sell compliments what is happening in the market.
How much do you charge?
The agent that you work with should discuss the Brokerage Relationships that are available for real estate in South Carolina. This should include discussing with you commissions, retainers, and how they are paid. Different agents and brokerages charge different amounts and some even charge a fee to work with them outside of the commissions paid to the buyers and sellers agent. Understand what you are paying your agent and what their services include.
What money should I have upfront?
One of the most important things is understanding what funds you will need to have available. Too many buyers enter the phase of searching for and finding their dream home, but then are surprised that they will need to provide earnest money along with their ratified contract. If you are selling your home, you need to be prepared for any repairs or updates that will help market it more effectively or be requested through the inspection process. Make sure your agent helps you understand what you need to be prepared for financially.
What will be expected of me?
It is important that you be honest with your agent. If you are selling your home and you have limited hours that you can allow showings, discuss this with your agent so that they can understand the why. If your agent tells you what you need to do to best position your home to sell, take their advice. If you are buying a home, you need to be able to respond quickly to lenders and agents.
I am happy to tell you more about myself and how we can work together. Give me a call today!