Choosing A Realtor

Different strokes for different folks.

Many agents will claim a lot of the same things.

You need to do your homework and be confident that the one you choose is not just “up-to-snuff,” but the very best at what they do. Here’s a comprehensive list of questions to ask a real estate agent so you know who you're signing up with.

“Don’t work with somebody because they say they will cut their commission. Use somebody you feel confident is going to give you the best results.

Can You Pass Along a List of Referrals?

Like a license, every agent should be able to provide a list of reliable referrals. I encourage people to ask for referrals outside of real estate. Former bosses provide well-rounded feedback because they’ve worked with him or her in different settings and circumstances.

How Long Have You Been a Real Estate Agent?

It's fair to be cautious of new agents, but it’s not a deal-breaker if they have stellar referrals. Be far more cautious if an agent is juggling a long list of clients. The complexities in a real estate transaction are many, and it's important that your agent has enough bandwidth to give you ample focus and attention so that you don’t get lost in the shuffle.

How Do You Plan to Sell My Home? / How Do You Plan to Find Me a Home?

Every Realtor should enter a partnership with a concrete marketing plan that shows you (1) the details of how your home will be marketed, or (2) what makes him orher most qualified to help you find a new home. Coldwell Banker offers powerful resources and technology that connect them to more than 900 websites (even top competitors only offer about 70).

What Resources Do You Have in Your Network?

Experienced agents should, at a minimum, be able to recommend the following: a lawyer specializing in real estate, mortgage advisors, insurance companies, inspectors, handymen, home-stagers, house-cleaners and movers. Part of the benefit of working with a real estate agent is access to a vast, experienced network.

What are the Closing Costs?

It costs money to make money. Be prepared for the up-front costs you may have when selling or buying a home. The total costs will depend on the final sales price, but an agent should be able to provide a reliable estimate of the money you need to have on-hand to cover a range of costs including attorney fees, title fees, appraisal fees, broker’s commission and more.

What’s the Best Way to Contact You?

A Realtor should never be out of touch, within reason. He or she should be open to your preferred method of communication (whether email, phone call, text, etc.) so that you’re receiving communication the way you prefer. They should also ask how involved you want to be in the details. Some individuals prefer that their Realtor handle as much as possible. Others like having full transparency to every detail at every stage of the process.

Have You Worked in This Neighborhood?

Communities differ greatly in terms of what types of homes sell. If an agent has experience in your specific neighborhood, it’s a major advantage. It means he or she knows the market and is a stronger negotiator for you. If they haven't, give them a chance to prove what they know.

Will I Be Working with You Directly or with a Team?

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting comfortable with an agent and then seeing someone differentat every meeting. That said, it’s good news when a real estate agent tells you he or she is the only agent, but that they have a team of associates who handle things like the closing process (and, if you’re a buyer, the pre-approval/mortgage and homeowner’s insurance processes).

What’s the Right Price?

A comparative market analysis is step one of determining the right price for your house. Additional info, like an area market report, can also help. A Realtor should be able to explain - in detail - why he or she is recommending a given listing price. They should then provide you with a recommended range and give you the power to choose the price you want.

Can You Explain the Process From Start to Finish?

A real estate transaction can seem long and complicated. A good Realtor should make you aware of what you can expect from start to finish – and he or she should do it at one of your very first meetings. This includes negotiations, home inspections, what happens after an offer is accepted and the related paperwork and timelines.

How Do Your Realtor Fees Work?

You need to understand ahead of time how to pay your Realtor for their work. Typically, agents work under split commission. That means that, when the seller pays a listing agent, that agent will split that payment with the agent who brought the buyer to the home. Many Realtors may also charge a broker's fee. This helps them cover the cost of the marketing they do for your property if you're selling (photos, paidads, etc.).

How Can We Best Work Together?

The agent-seller relationship is a partnership. Ask what you can do to help. This helps ensure that your goals and motivations are aligned. A good agent will let you dictate how involved you want to be, but should at least request that you stay engaged in their weekly recaps, whether it’s a face-to-face meeting, phone call or email. This helps prevent any are no surprises later and makes sure you stay on the same page.

In closing...

Smart consumers will interview several potential real estate agents before they decide on which one they want to work with. A lot of it comes down to your gut, so listen to their pitch and  trust your instincts.

Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services

6305 University Boulevard

Moon Township, PA 15108

C:  724-875-8097

O:  412-264-8300