8 Questions To Ask Your Agent

What You Need To Ask Your Realtor

Everywhere you look there are advertisements for real estate agents. So how can you tell the good agents from the not so good agents? Here are 8 things you should ask your agent before you hire them. Good agents want you to ask these hard questions, because good agents can answer them.

Are you a Realtor?

Not all real estate agents are Realtors. Members of the National Association of Realtors have to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Professional Standards of Practice. So you can be assured that if your real estate agent is a Realtor, you are working with someone of integrity and accountability. Realtors are typically better prepared, better trained, and more committed to their profession. With the element of accountability, they have to be. Ask your agent to show you their Realtor membership card.

What certifications do you hold?

Nearly all certifications are designations of Realtors, not real estate agents. Certifications require advanced training and or experience in different areas. When you work with Realtors that hold designations, you are working with someone committed and dedicated to their profession and to their clients to be the best and most competent in their field.

Sellers, ask your Realtor. . . What is your personalized marketing plan for my property?

All good Realtors prepare marketing plans uniquely designed for the property they intend to list. The marketing plan can vary greatly depending on market conditions, condition of the property, and the motivation of the sellers themselves. Ask your Realtor for the marketing plan personalized to your property.

Sellers, ask your Realtor. . . What will your marketing budget be for my property?

It costs money to market a home effectively. Depending on the market conditions it can cost a lot. Any agent who is not prepared to give you a percentage or dollar amount they plan to spend on your home, should never be hired. Because what most sellers don’t realize is that these expenses and costs are incurred by the agent not the company. So make them give you a written budget in conjunction with their marketing plan and hold them accountable to it.

Buyers, ask your Realtor. . . Do you plan to preview homes for us?

Good buyer’s agents will have given their clients a written questionnaire of their wants and needs in a home, then take that wish list with them to preview homes that will work for them. Otherwise, the buyer’s agent is taking the lazy way, providing minimal service and showing you what they want you to see, not necessarily what you want to see. Previewing homes is time consuming and can be expensive, but it is what quality buyer agents do.

Can I call your Broker?

All real estate agents have a broker to supervise them and that are responsible for them. Today’s real estate world is moving towards small office inexperienced brokers or mega-brokers. Some offices have hundreds of agents and they have little to no contact with their broker. Others operate from a very small office that has a broker with little experience or knowledge to assist their agents. Unfortunately it only requires a person to be a real estate agent 2 years to get a brokers license in this state. Ask your Realtor how long has your broker been in the business and if they have the experience and knowledge, and are available to support the agent and the transaction.

Can you provide testimonials?

Every good Realtor has a great appreciation and fondness for their past clients and are eager to share their names with you. So don’t be surprised if at the end of your transaction, they’ll ask you to be an advocate too.

What is your specialty?

Real estate agents typically categorize themselves as residential or commercial agents, which are vastly different and entirely separate disciplines. Some residential agents prefer to specialize in just buyers or just sellers. Ask your Realtor about their specialty.
Agents that like to specialize in listings have sophisticated marketing strategies, and will invest the money necessary in marketing your home successfully. Agents that like to specialize in buyers will invest a significant amount of their time previewing to find the perfect home for their buyers.

Full Service Company

What Does Full Service Really Mean?

You hear more and more the term Full Service batted around, almost to the point where it takes on a generic connotation. Nothing could be further from the truth. And full service is not just limited to negotiating your contract.

Education & Training

Real full service companies and agents have spent tens of thousands of dollars, and thousands of hours becoming expert and competent in their field. Representing you is serious business and is one good agents and companies do not take lightly.

Many agents go far beyond the minimum requirements of education by obtaining advance degrees or designations to prepare themselves even more thoroughly for their clients. Designations like CRS, CRB, ASP, and ABR.

When you are making a major decision to buy or sell, you are going to be involved in legal binding contracts that could cost, or save, you tens of thousands of dollars. You need to know the person in your corner is up to the task. It’s like the old adage; “Do you want to hire a lawyer, or do you want to hire a good lawyer?”

Price, Preparation & Presentation

Since the beginning of real estate time, there have been 4 factors, and 4 factors only that affect the sale or purchase of a home. Price, preparation and presentation. The fourth is the real estate agent and their marketing plan, but we’ll get to that later.

Sellers never want to leave money on the table, and buyers always want to get a deal. That’s never changed, and never will. That’s why pricing your home is critical. You must set a price to bring you maximum return on your property, but still not make it unsaleable to where the buyers will choose another. Homes listed by full service agents and companies will sell for more than those that are listed with flat fee or discount companies. Why? Because the full service agent is better trained and better prepared to negotiate aggressively on your behalf and has spent the time necessary in preparation and research to price your home correctly to bring you maximum return.

Full service real estate agents preview the market constantly, are aware of spikes and dips, know the inventory and competition, tracks what is selling and what is not, and can pass this expertise on to their clients. Because of this expertise they know how to price homes for maximum return.

Properly preparing your home for the market could return you thousands and thousands of dollars. It can even mean the difference between a sale and no sale. Full service agents have the experience to know what to correct and what does not need to be addressed. It doesn’t do you any good to spend money on something that is not going to increase the price or marketability of your home. Conversely, spending a few dollars on something that might return hundreds or thousands when the offer comes in, is something of great value for you to know.

Buyers have choices. Good listing agents know this and can help you present your home for maximum appeal. Don’t underestimate the power of staging your home for example. And today, many full service agents hold ASP (Accredited Staging Professional) designations. Another example of the meaning of full service. A properly presented home will give you the optimum opportunity for the buyers to choose yours over another. Your full service agent can help you with this.

Advertising & Marketing

All companies and agents enter your home in the local MLS, which automatically adds you to some additional websites. But it takes more than internet or MLS exposure to sell homes today. It takes agent networking. The top listing agents calling or communicating with the top buyer agents. It takes open houses, broker opens, newspaper and magazine advertising. Radio or TV in some cases. The more exposure your home receives, the greater your chances for success. Full service companies market your home in more mediums than just the internet. It’s expensive, but it’s necessary and most important of all, it’s the thing to you’re hired to do.

Skill, Knowledge & Expertise

Full service agents have the required skill, knowledge, experience and expertise to “represent” you properly. To give you the counsel and advice you need to help you make decisions. To stand by your side all the way to closing. Full service agents never abandon you after the listing or contract is signed. Full service agents are proud of their profession, take pride in their ability to help their clients, and spend the time and money necessary to become expert at their profession.

Full service agents work at their profession “Full” time. That means they have the time to spend staying abreast of the market, knowing the inventory, know the pulse of the market, knowing how to negotiate aggressively to represent you in the transaction. Anyone can write a contract, but experienced, knowledgeable agents, know them word for word, understand them word for word, and know how to structure and negotiate them on your behalf. You can’t be a part time agent at a full service agent at the same time.

Full service agents will have a comprehensive marketing plan, and a marketing budget for your listing, and want to be held accountable to perform on these commitments. As I said earlier, the 4th element to success is the company/agent you hire. The more committed they are to your success, the greater your chances for success. When they are a full time, full service agent they are prepared, trained and committed to give you maximum service, and financial marketing support, which will result in maximum success for you.

While there are definitely buyers and sellers out there that look only at the cost factor, and we understand and respect that, there are others that understand and respect what we do and the services we provide. If you are looking for full and complete service from start to finish, that will aggressively market and negotiate your property, that is committed to bring you top value or get you the best deal, and that will “represent” you and your best interests at all times, hire a full service company and agent.

RE/MAX Associate Brokers is a full service company with full time, highly trained professionals.

We would enjoy the opportunity to interview for your business.

Realtor vs Agent

What is the difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent?

The difference is significant. First off, let me say that all Realtors are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are Realtors.

Realtors are due paying members of the National Association of Realtors, and their respective State and Local Associations. They are more trained and educated, and hold designations that demonstrates this higher level of training and expertise. Non-Realtors can not hold designations.

Realtors are bound to a Code of Ethics and a Professional Standards of Practice which monitors, governs and enforces the behavior and practices of Realtors, much like doctors and lawyers. So you can be assured that when you work with a Realtor you are working with some one with integrity and a commitment to their profession, and are accountable for their actions.

Realtors also invest in their industry and communities. Through the coordinated efforts of the National Association of Realtors and their state and local Boards, Realtors dues go towards efforts to make and keep property laws and protections in place for property owners and the general public. Protecting Buyer rights and Seller rights. Realtors are also actively involved in communities like relief efforts for victims of recent weather disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes. Sending millions of dollars and manpower to these affected areas and families. Non-Realtors make no contribution towards either community or industry.

Look for the Realtor logo and or the designations that follow their names.

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