Having representation from areal estate agent can make the process of buying a home so much easier. Not only can a real estate agent help match you up with potential homes, but he or she will be able to assist you in negotiations, closing, and everything in between. Before you commit to a real estate agent, however, there are a few questions you may want to ask either over the phone or during an initial meeting.
What is Your Commission Rate?
If you'll be selling a home at the same time that you're buying, you'll definitely want to know what your agent commission percentage is. This is the total percentage of your home's final sale price that the agent will collect and split with the buyer's agent upon closing. Most real estate agents hover between 5% and 6% for the commission, but this can vary, so it's a good idea to get it in writing.
Do You Represent Buyers or Sellers More?
Some agents work more with sellers, whereas some have more experience in assisting buyers. If you're buying and selling simultaneously, you'll want an agent who has plenty of experience with both sides of the coin. On the other hand, if this will be your first time buying a home, you'll want to find an agent who works the majority of the time with buyers. Bonus points if you can find an agent who often represents first-time buyers!
Will You Show Homes Without a Pre-Approval Letter?
Most real estate agents will require that you send proof of mortgage pre-approval before they will begin showing you any homes. The purpose of this is to make sure you're serious about buying so that nobody's time is wasted. If you're against getting pre-approved this early in the game, you may need to shop around for a bit to find an agent who doesn't require this.
How Familiar Are You With X Neighborhood?
If you have a specific neighborhood in mind in which you'd like to buy your next home, you'll be better off with a real estate agent who has specific experience with homes in that area. Don't hesitate to ask your agent how many homes he or she has helped buy or sell in a specific neighborhood; they should be happy to share this information.
Taking the time to ask these questions can ultimately help you choose the real estate agent who best suits your needs.