There is always awkwardness at first while determining if the Realtor you are choosing is a qualified agent. There are good questions that buyers can ask to find out how much their agent knows. I include some here but foremost it is about establishing a connection which isn’t all about questions. It can be a gut feeling or just the efficiency in returning calls and e-mails — whatever an individual uses to establish a comfortable relationship. I wouldn’t necessarily ask all these questions like an interview but pick a couple to start the process and establish trust. Regardless, these are basic questions that any qualified agent should know.
- Does your agent thoroughly answer all questions without rushing or treating them as insignificant?
- Are they quick to answer calls and respond to e-mails or text messages?
- Do they point out things about a home to consider like older windows, furnace and possible repairs?
- Are they knowledgeable about the neighborhood and schools? Ability to resell a home should be taken into consideration.
- Realtors should ask you early on if you have a preapproval as this is required when submitting an offer. They will often have people they can recommend.
- Are you locked into the person who preapproves you for the loan? Is there a cost?
- What is the difference between conventional loans vs. FHA?
- What is the process of a home inspection and what to do if there are major flaws?
- What happens after the home inspection?
- If a home is a short sale, are they knowledgeable in the process and how long it will take to close on a home?
- Are they familiar with the first time home buyer credit currently available (until April 30 & closing by June 30)?
- Ask about closing costs as these are often negotiated for buyers on many loans and can cut down on the amount of money you bring to closing.
- Many other questions will arise out of these – don’t hesitate to ask them all.
I often have buyers who will preface a question with “this may be a dumb question”. There are no dumb questions. All buyers, and primarily first time buyers, should be well informed about all the steps. This is a major investment and can be an exciting, confusing, happy and stressful time. It is your time to buy your first home-expect a lot from your Realtor. And remember, everyone is a person first – we can all be stressed in these challenging times-all we can expect if for everyone to do their best.