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I've been researching the best ways to search for a home, and questions have come up about real estate agents. Getting a good real estate agent could potentially save you thousands of dollars, but I'm wondering how? What do I need to ask a real estate agent when I am considering hiring them? I found a real estate agent website that offers a free top ten list of questions to ask, but it of course requires a sign-up with information so the real estate agents can contact you. What should I be looking out for?

Here is the list that I read about if looking to use an agent for selling:

  1. What makes you different? Why should I list my home with you?

  2. What is your company's track record and reputation in the market place?

  3. What are your marketing plans for my home?

  4. What has your company sold in my area?

  5. Does your Broker control your advertising or do you?

  6. On average, when your listings sell, how close is the selling price to the asking price?

  7. On average, how long does it take for your listings to sell?

  8. How many Buyers are you currently working with?

  9. Do you have a reference list of clients I could contact?

  10. What happens if I'm not happy with the job you are doing to get my home sold?

What would I need to ask a real estate agent if I'm considering using them for buying a home? Or do I even need one for buying?

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Your list of ten question is focused on selling a house, yet the rest of the question and the labels are focused on buying a home. The questions you want to ask in the two cases are different. –  mhoran_psprep Aug 25 '12 at 17:22
    
Obviously I got the wrong perspective here! I am trying to buy a home, but i'm stabbing in the dark for what I need to talk to Agents about when I'm trying to Buy! –  meltdownmonk Aug 25 '12 at 18:45

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

This is not an exhaustive list, but based on past experiences, I would ask:

  • How are they paid, and by whom? This will usually be a standard percentage, paid by the seller, but best to go in eyes-open.
  • What schedule do they prefer for showing houses? Week nights? Weekends?
  • What neighborhoods are they familiar with and comfortable showing in?
  • What pool of listings do they pull from? The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) or just their company's proprietary ones?
  • If you find a listing on Craigslist or see a For Sale sign, will they represent you in that case? (Assuming you want them to)
  • Do they have experience finding homes for people of your family size/income/expectations?
  • Will they be exasperated if you are picky about houses, or want to haggle over price, or inspect/alter the contract? (if you care about these things)

I'm sure there's more, but these are details I've learned to look at.

Of course a big factor is trust, as Chuck Conway mentions. You may want to go with a friend for this reason. Or, you may want to go with someone else, to avoid frustrating a friend if you think the house hunt could run for a long time or be difficult. But either way, trust goes a long way.

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Closing costs are not always paid by the seller. Traditionally, mortgage closing costs and buyer's agent fees are the responsibility of the buyer. However, it's the seller that's (hopefully) getting a big pile of cash from the home sale; many first-time homebuyers don't even have the 20% down. Given that, and in the current buyer's market, the seller is often expected to cover the buyer's costs. That does not have to happen; the seller is free to refuse any offer, even an advantageous one for them, for any reason at all. –  KeithS Aug 28 '12 at 21:43

I bought a home last year. The first thing for me was trust. I asked my friends and family for referrals. Second, was the connection. Did he or she understand my needs and what I am looking for.

In the end it worked out great. We found a home that was exactly what I wanted and where I wanted for 50k below market. The agent knew the property was a great deal and showed up with an offer ready to be signed in the advent we wanted to make an offer.

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How does this answer relate to the question? –  blunders Aug 27 '12 at 3:20

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