Thinking of Hiring a Reat Estate Agent?

Dated: July 25 2020

Views: 951

I'm going to answer the questions like I would in an interview with potential buyer clients. Keep in mind, some of the questions are specifically related to the market of the moment or a specific market (and I will note that in the answer). There is a lot of information in this blog, and I am happy to sit down and go over any this information with you face-to-face.
I’m sharing these questions to help buyers hire the right for agent for the job. I’m answering the questions as a “pre-interview” so buyers searching in the Austin area can get to know me before we set up an official meeting together.
Thanks for reading!
Experience Questions:
• How many people are you currently assisting in finding a house? usually have at least 3 or 4 buyers that I actively work with at a time. 
• How many buyers will you work with at one time? How many sellers? The maximum number of buyers that I will work with at one time is 4.  I have an awesome team of agents to help me if it’s a busy time in the market. (I'm not sure how agents work this business individually anymore. I'm a big fan of team work). I've had 6 listings at one time. Typically, agents can handle more listings than buyers. Buyers require 5-10 more hours of work on average. 
• Will you be representing other buyers who are looking for homes in the same area and price range as we are? This situation DOES happen, but it isn’t common. I talk with both buyers about the situation and do what they want me to do. If either of the buyers is uncomfortable with the situation, I have an agent on my team step in to help them.  I've never had two buyers be exactly alike in their wants and needs (even though they are alike in price range and area). 

• How many homes, on average, do you show your buyers? 
This depends on the market. In a buyer’s marketthere are more homes to see. It’s not uncommon to see 5 -10 homes. In a seller’s market, it's usually closer to 5. My goal is to always listen to my client, making sure the homes I show fit their criteria-this saves a lot of time for everyone.

 Have you sold homes in the locations we are looking? 
I've sold homes in Austin and in every suburban city surrounding Austin, from Georgetown to Buda. I'm in my 11th year in the business (as of 8/2010) and have lived in North and South Austin as well as Leander.

• What percentage of the homes you've sold or located are in our search area? 
This will be specifito the buyer that is interviewing me. I’m happy to provide this information.

• Do you specialize in a certain area of town? 
No, I work all of Austin and the surrounding areas. I can advise you to make a good investment and smart real estate decision in any area of town-that is if you have already picked the area of town you want to live. Many times I am advising on this question first.

 Do you have a price-range you specialize in?
 No, I'm in this business to help people, no matter what price range they are needing.

• How many homes did you sell in the past year as a buyer's agent? 
As of 7/2020, I have sold over 150 homes and 73% of them, I represented the buyer. 

• How do you stay up on current trends? Do you take classes or frequently attend training? I attend classes monthly. If something is happening or about to happen in the market, I know about it (thanks to my office and the amount of business that we do). Be wary of the lone agent that doesn't have a large, supportive broker. Unless the agent is constantly researching and reading the news (who has time for that when you are out showing homes and doing business?), I doubt she has the current trends that I do being with alarger broker.

• How do we know if this is the right time to buy? 
This is a question that I will help each individual buyer analyze. Considerations include whether you have been renting or own a home. 
• Will you help us decide if our desired price range is appropriate? Can you help us choose a good price range? This part of the process is where I rely on my favorite lender to help guide you. I CAN direct you to areas that are best for the price range in which you are pre-approved by a lenderI also advise my clients to choose a price range with a monthly payment they are very comfortable paying. I counsel buyers to be as conservative as possible. I want home-ownership to empower you, not stress you out when you make your monthly payment. 

• How will you help us determine if our down-payment is appropriate? 
This will depend on the financial and real estate market. At the moment, it is such a strong seller’s market that showing at least 20% down on your offer will communicate to the seller that you are a strong buyer and will help us when we are competing against other offers, but 20% isn’t always necessary.

• How can you help us determine if an offer we make is good one? When you want to make an offer on a home, we will discuss the sold prices of comparable properties and current market conditions. I can help you write an offer according to the negotiation style you want and rate of success you desire. 

• How will you handle multiple offers? 
Thankfully, I am very successful at winning in multiple-offer situations for my clients. I have some strategies that we can discuss and implement if you like. Remember, you are the boss. I am going to present you with the options and tell you which one I think is best.  Ultimately, you are in charge of deciding how we handle the multiple offer based on my consultation. 

• Tell us about the inspection process. How do we renegotiate the offer if the inspection reveals a problem? Will you attend our inspection? 
I have a list of inspectors that I work with regularly. I will get bids and availability from them and then let you choose whom you want to move forward with (unless you have an inspector you would like to use already). I may or may not attend the inspection. I do recommend buyers attend the inspection to learn more about the home. I will come by and review with the inspector at the end of the inspection if this is recommended by the inspector. If repairs are necessary, this is how I suggest we negotiate: 1. Any repairs that are lender required.  2. My buyers’ safety is of the utmost importance to me. If there are any items on the report that may affect your safety when you move in, we will request them to be repaired.   3. I will get you estimates on the repairs, so we can either ask the seller to make the repairs or discount the sales price. I can also negotiate money towards closing costs so that you may complete the repairs. 

• What are the average closing costs your buyers have had recently? Are there possible hidden costs we might encounter? 
Average costs to buy a home will be:
2-3% of the home value that you will need to bring to closing on top of your down payment. The lender will give you an estimate showing you the fees involved. Other costs to expect: $400-$600 for home inspection, $600 if home is on septic (pumping and inspection), many older homes need a plumbing test $400, and $400-$600 for appraisal once under contract, 1% of sales price will be needed for an earnest money check (this will be credited back to you at closing) and $150 - $400 for termination option money check. The earnest money and option money checks are presented at the time the offer is made.  
Misc. Questions
• How are you compensated? 
The Seller's Agent/Broker pays me a commission only if the home closes.

• Will you always be the one showing us houses and contacting the seller's agent? Absolutely

• How accessible are you since we may have to act within hours on a property? How often will we talk to you? You can text/email/call me anytime. I have a team of 7 agents and we are able to help you see a home if we need to within hours of it hitting the market.

• How much notice do you need if we want to look at a home? Some homes require an hour and others need up to 24 hours.   

• How will you search for properties that may not be listed in MLS (those sold by the owner)? I'm always on the hunt for "coming soon" properties. I will also call other dominant and active agents in the area to find these properties.

•Can represent us in a for sale by owner situation? Many “For Sale BOwner” sellers are agreeable to paying a commission to a buyer's agent. I will call on your behalf to get more information and set up a showing. If the FSBO does not want to work with agents, I can step back and still help keep you protected through the process. I've been very successful working with FSBO sellers and my buyers to make a deal work.

Final Questions
• What expectations do you have of us as the buyer?  Honesty. I am and I expect the same from my buyersI won’t try to pressure you into buying a home. I will give you the information you need to make the best decision for you and your family. Buying a home is a journey. I will make it as pleasant as possible.
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Tara Lopez

Tara Lopez moved to Central Texas from Lubbock in 1994. She was raised in the restaurant business and understands the value of excellence in customer service. She is married to her life-time friend, C....

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