Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor®
Philadelphia Main Line Homes and Real Estate
Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties
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Top Ten Questions To Ask Your Real Estate Professional
Choosing a professional to represent you in a real estate transaction is an important decision. The purchase or sale of a home is a transaction involving thousands, or possibly even millions, of dollars. While real estate licensing exams require sales associates to prove basic knowledge of real estate practice, they are no guarantee of competency.
Before selecting a real estate professional, you should interview that individual to make sure you will be represented with the utmost in integrity and professional accomplishment. These are the top-ten questions you should ask a potential real estate professional before deciding on their qualifications:
- Are you part of a Multiple Listing Service? You should be certain to select a representative who can list or find properties using the local Multiple Listing Service in your area. The multiple listing service pools together listings from a number of different real estate professionals and brokerages so that the largest number of potential buyers may become aware of a property. An individual real estate professional may only have a few properties listed or a handful of customers seriously interested in buying. Using a multiple listing service enhances the likelihood that the right buyers will be matched to the right properties.
- What real estate certifications do you hold? Not all real estate professionals have had the same training. Your representative may be a Certified Residential Specialist. This means they have received specialized training approved by the National Association of REALTORS® that enables them to better serve your home buying and selling needs in today's marketplace.
- Is your real estate company part of an international referral network? While multiple listing services establish a central place to post property listings they do little to channel potential buyers. A referral service is usually maintained by a national real estate franchise to generate buyers for properties throughout its network. These referral services may forward wealthy potential buyers from other states and countries that might never know your property was available. Even buyers should be interested in the availability of a referral service because it means the real estate professional you have been working with will be better able to help you find a real estate professional in another area should your plans change.
- What are your "farm areas?" A farm area is the specific community served by an individual real estate sales associate. While a superior sales associate may be able to serve almost any market, it is usually best to find someone who is thoroughly familiar with the neighborhood or area important to you.
- What awards or sales records have you achieved? While sales awards are only part of the profile of a successful agent, they are a good indicator of past success. Awards are typically given for sales volume, number of transaction "sides," and gross commission income. Find out what percentage of that real estate professional's listings have resulted in sales and what percentage of buyers successfully found a home.
- What is the average price of the homes that you have listed? If the average price of the homes represented by the sales associate you are interviewing is significantly different from your own property you may want to consider whether or not that associate is prepared to adequately assist you. If they represent multi-million dollar homes and you bring a modestly priced listing, chances are you could be overlooked. Conversely, a real estate professional who represents mostly modestly-priced property may have difficulty representing a luxury estate.
- Can you reach me in the ways most convenient to me? Some real estate professionals are high-tech enthusiasts on the information superhighway and can reach you through e-mail and even post pictures of properties for you to view on the Internet. Others take the high-touch approach and respond with the information you need by phone or in person whenever you want. Will they offer their pager number, car phone and home number to you? Nothing is more frustrating than being unable to reach your real estate professional during negotiations and closing.
- How does your advertising compare to that of your competitors? All real estate professionals advertise. The question is how much do they advertise and with what success. Ask to see lead tracking reports. Understanding the source of a real estate professional's leads will give you a better idea of how they will represent you.
- How confident are you that you can best represent my interests? Apart from the legal requirements for representation that all real estate professionals should conform to when explaining representation, feel free to ask directly whether this real estate professional feels that they are the best to represent you, that they agree your pricing ideas are realistic, that they will work diligently every day until the transaction you want has been completed. Be sure to find out if the real estate professional representing you is representing you exclusively or may be handling both sides of the transaction.
- What references can you offer? It is a good idea to ask for three recent references from your real estate professional. Ask other customers what they liked most and least about their real estate transaction experience. Find out what strengths and weaknesses they saw in the representation they received.
Remember that as you interview your real estate professional, some answers may lead to additional questions. Probe until you are satisfied. You should negotiate to receive the best representation possible. You should ask your attorney to review any real estate representation agreement before you sign. With so many real estate professionals to choose from, make certain you are working with someone who is a good mix for your needs and personality. The relationship maintained with your real estate professional will make for the kind of comfortable and stress-free transaction that you deserve.
"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: email@example.com. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.
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