When you are trying to find a reliable, well-connected buyers agent, you may end up interviewing several real estate agents. However, when you first speak to a real estate agent, you should pay attention to the questions they ask you as well as their answers to your questions. The questions they ask you will let you know about their experience, availability, and process. It will also let you know how interested the realtor is in your specific circumstances and whether they will be able to adjust their working style to fit your needs. Below are some examples of questions that flexible, experienced realtors will ask you.
Have you been pre-approved for a mortgage?
In most cases, it is helpful to get pre-approved or at least pre-qualified for a loan through your lender of choice if you plan to borrow money to pay for your home. If you are pre-approved for your loan, then both you and your realtor will have a better idea of what type of home you can afford. This will save both of you time and can also help you avoid falling in love with a home that is beyond your price range.
You do not always need pre-approval before you talk to a realtor, but your realtor should advise you to start by ironing out your borrowing potential before showing you houses.
Which bank are you working with?
Whether you have been pre-approved for a loan or not, your real estate agent will likely want to know what lender you are working with. In many cases, your real estate agent may be able to suggest potential lenders that offer better rates in your area, are more likely to approve the homes you want for a mortgage, or are more likely to work with your current credit situation. By asking you who you are currently working with, your real estate agent is determining whether they should utilize their connections to get you a better deal on your loan.
When is the best time for you to see homes?
Many real estate agents work part time, meaning they have a very strict schedule of when they can communicate with you or show houses. If your real estate agent asks you what your schedule is like before telling you when they are available, it is a sign that they are likely flexible and willing to meet with you when it is convenient for you. This will make house shopping more pleasant for you.
How soon would you like to complete your purchase?
A real estate agent that is in high demand likely has several clients that they are working with at once. They will need to know how much time to allot to you before they commit to working with you. This question shows that they are considering their own schedule as well as their knowledge of the current market to see if it is feasible to close on a home by the date you prefer.
What neighborhoods are you interested in?
Many real estate agents specialize in certain neighborhoods. By asking you this question instead of simply asking what type of home you are looking for, the agent is showing that they are aware of the different neighborhoods and likely have a few neighborhoods where they specialize. If they specialize in the neighborhood where you want to live, then you are more likely to get more information about potential houses before other buyers.
Although your real estate agent may not ask you all of these questions during your initial interview, it is important that they ask direct questions that show an interest in your situation and knowledge of the local real estate industry.