Please, do yourself a favor… find an agent you can trust and rely on them to be a professional. The MLS system in Florida is set up so that the seller is already paying the fees for any agent that brings them a buyer, so you might as well pick the person you want to work with. And no, going with the list agent doesn’t get you a lower price.
Finding an agent you can trust is an important step in finding the right house. They will tell you if they can see defects, advise you on price, etc.
9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a REALTOR®
1. How long have you been in residential real estate sales?
Is it your full-time job? While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate — like many other professions — is mostly learned on the job.
2. How many homes did your real estate brokerage sell last year?
By asking this question, you’ll get a good idea of how much experience the practitioner has.
3. How many days did it take you to sell the average home? How did that compare to the overall market?
The REALTOR® you interview should have these facts on hand, and be able to present market statistics from the local MLS to provide a comparison.
4. How close to the initial asking prices of the homes you sold were the final sale prices?
This is one indication of how skilled the REALTOR® is at pricing homes and marketing to suitable buyers – or how good a negotiator they are for their buyer customers. Of course, other factors also may be at play, including an exceptionally hot or cool real estate market.
5. What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home?
You don’t want someone who’s going to put a For Sale sign in the yard and hope for the best. Look for someone who has aggressive and innovative approaches, and knows how to market your property competitively on the Internet. Buyers today want information fast, so it’s important that your REALTOR® is responsive.
6. Who do you work for?
While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where the practitioner’s obligations lie. Your REALTOR® should explain his or her agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party.
7. Can you recommend service providers…
who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and help with other things I need done? Because REALTORS® are immersed in the industry, they’re wonderful resources as you seek lenders, home improvement companies, and other home service providers. Practitioners should generally recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with or receive compensation from any of the providers.
8. What’s your business philosophy?
While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the agent and determine how closely the agent’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.
9. How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction?
How frequently? Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but it reflects your desires. Do you want updates twice a week or do you not want to be bothered unless there’s a hot prospect? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit?
Remember – you want to work with an agent who is an expert AND one you feel puts your interests FIRST, every time!
(special thanks to REALTOR.com for their materials used in this post)