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5 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent Before You Commit

I was recently reading a blog article regarding coaching young athletes and what questions parents should be asking before they commit their son/daughter to a years worth of time, effort and money on a specific team or league. The questions themselves were fairly basic and straight forward, but I found myself nodding along in agreement with the author in the points he was making. KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GETTING IN TO!

Now, I understand that is way easier said than done. I don't honestly believe that you can know EXACTLY what you're getting in to in most situations. But I do believe that you can prepare yourself and your family to be in a much better position to meet your goals by doing just a little preparation.

Before you choose to go with a certain real estate agent, do your homework. Here are five questions that you should ask your real estate agent before you commit

1. How do you prepare clients?

The act of buying or selling a home is easy. Going through the process is not. When it comes to being prepared, knowing what to expect, and understanding the different steps of the home buying/selling timeline, a true real estate professional will never leave you hanging. If your agent cannot rattle off how they are going to work with and for you, walk away!

2. How do you communicate with clients?

I'm not sure why I put this dow

n as the second question, as this is arguably the most important question that can be answered. Everywhere you go you hear horror stories of agents not returning calls/texts, not giving feedback, and generally not being available. If your potential agent can't give specific examples of the way he/she communicates or how often, move on. By the way, the answer to the question is "However you prefer to communicate."

3. How do you handle commitment conflicts?

Life happens. People are busy. Family, sports and other commitments are not just an issue for buyers or sellers. Understanding how your real estate professional plans to handle both scheduled and unscheduled conflicts might be something that is important to you.

4. How do you hand dual agency situations? (Representing the buyer AND seller)

This one could be a deal breaker. Depending on how the potential agent responds, you may find yourself with someone who cannot provide ALL of their services and/or expertise. A common issue that may occur when an agent represents both sides of the transaction is that the agent might not be able to give advice on price. Why? Because the agent owes a duty of loyalty to the buyer AND the seller and providing advice on price to one and not the other poses an inherent conflict of interest.

5. How do you utilize technology?

If the person you are asking this to tells you they don't, RUN! It's 2017. SEO and social media usage is the norm. Boosting posts, engaging with prospective buyers/sellers and promoting a professional brand is a must. The days of newspaper ads and cruising neighborhoods to see what's for sale are over. If you expect your real estate professional to utilize technology, don't settle for one that doesn't.

Asking simple questions, such as the ones above, help to ensure that you are not only getting a quality professional, but also helps to set expectations for your home buying/selling process and puts you in the position to meet YOUR goals.

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