There are many fundamental questions to ask when hiring a real estate agent. Whether you buy locally or overseas, real estate transactions are significant lifestyle endeavours and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Not only do you have to navigate real estate markets and find homes for sale, but there is also the selling process, financial transactions, closing costs, commission rate, and more before you even take possession of the property and move in.
Bonafide real estate professionals know how important this is to you. Hence, an experienced realtor will make the process as easy for you as possible. Unfortunately, like any industry, some want paychecks and don’t care about the quality of their work. Hence, we have gathered this list of questions for initial consultations when choosing potential investment agents in the housing market.
Questions to Ask when Hiring a Real Estate Agent
1: How Do You Keep Up to Date with Market Trends?
You wouldn’t go to a mechanic without knowledge of cars and ask them to fix a car, and you should do the same with estate agents. Regardless of local or overseas markets, active agents know about competitive markets for investors and market conditions for all property buyers. Any good realtor will conduct a comparative market analysis and learn about trends in any housing market for lengthy periods. Asking about market trends is also an excellent way to determine their knowledge and commitment to their trade.
2: What is the Home-Buying Process?
Many people don’t actually know how to go about buying a house. First-time buyers have never been through the home-buying process. For others, it could have been many decades since they last bought their family home, in which case rules and regulations have changed. Even investors, who constantly buy and sell properties, are out of their comfort zones when they venture into another country. Any potential realtor should supply step-by-step processes for purchasing a house. Hence, you are always knowledgeable and confident of the next steps.
3: What is their Method of Communication?
Bad communication skills are one of the top reasons realtors fall out of favour with their home buyers. Communication styles should be efficient and smooth to ensure the buyer remains confident. Emails should be answered within 24 hours, and telephone calls should always be returned if the realtor is unavailable to take the call. Successful realtors are communication experts.
4: History of Happy Real Estate Clients
Look at places like Trust Pilot or Google reviews to see the agents’ previous clients. Satisfied clients are the number one sign of a good agent. Dissatisfied clients are also an enormous warning flag. Any realtor with a successful track record will also be glad for you to communicate with previous clients to question their services.
5: It Isn’t Just About the House Price
One big surprise for house buyers is closing costs, which many neglect to consider. Any good agent knows closing costs, property taxes, and title fees. Don’t forget that in many countries, condominium laws exist for residential apartments in buildings or within gated communities. If this is your ideal property type, the realtor should also know about the communal charges that go with that. All successful agents inform their clients of additional payments upfront.
6: Answers to Property Questions
One way to gauge an agent’s knowledge is to watch their response to questions. Ideal answers are specific and on point, quoting facts and figures or giving helpful advice to the home buyer. If answers are vague, the estate agent isn’t in the know. Ideal answers always satisfy curiosity and are a sign of experienced professionals, whether about housing markets, properties you are viewing or local neighbourhoods.
7: Ask About Training Records and Licenses
Alongside their track record with clients, ask prospective agents about their training records. While some countries require real estate professionals to be licensed and certified, others don’t. In addition, their advanced training should always be ongoing. An experienced agent knows that markets, laws, rules and regulations constantly change, and they keep up to date with training so they can make informed decisions.
8: Real Estate Agent Commission Rates and Payments
Ask about commission rates and agent fees on the selling price. In some countries, agents take commission rates on third-party sales based on the list price ratio. But they don’t if you buy directly from the developer. Be sure to know how much their commission structure is, the list price ratio, when the payment is due, and how to pay them so your financial decisions match your budget.
9: Working with Real Estate Attorneys
Some countries don’t require a lawyer, while others do. For the countries that don’t, some people like to save on attorney fees, while others think they are worth their weight in gold. Regardless of whether you use one, any experienced agent will be fully prepared to work with them and give them all they require to carry out their checks.
10: Online Presence and Property Marketing Channels
As well as having direct mail communication, experienced agents should have an online presence as part of their marketing plan and provide additional marketing resources. Their marketing approach should be transparent and across the board. In this day and age, there is no excuse for any professional organisation not to be online.
11: Their Listing Service and Portfolio
The average list portfolio of any agency is plentiful, with various property types accommodating all types of buyers, from budget to luxury. Check the property descriptions for professional photography and detailed information. Are there maps and local neighbourhood information? Is the sale price easy to spot or hidden? If the property is listed elsewhere, like on Zillow or Rightmove, is the original listing price the same or different. Potential buyers should be inspired by property listings, not left frustrated.
12: Making Offers on Properties
In some countries, it is acceptable to make offers when buying houses overseas. In this case, ask the agent if they are willing to negotiate on the sales price or if this is unacceptable. Some agents say they list competitive listing prices from the start, especially for off-plan properties.
13: Are they A Full-Time Agent?
An active agent is full-time with their marketing channels, buyers and sellers. They offer additional marketing services and stick around after the sales to finish customer service. While there are part-time agents, this indicates they have other obligations. In addition, in some countries, the part-time agents are not licensed or qualified to sell the property. They do it ad hoc. One indication is they have below-market commission rates, which should be answered with crucial questions about what services they lack.
What to Expect from Estate Agents When Buying Property
So, those are questions to ask your agent. Still, it also helps if you know what to expect and their responsibilities and obligations.
Initial Consultation: The first interaction is typically an initial consultation, which sets the tone. Your property agent should understand your specific needs, preferences, and budget. They will discuss desired property types, location, size, and unique features you’re looking for. This will help them tailor their search to your requirements.
Markets and Finance: Professional estate agents provide home buyers insight into current real estate market conditions. They will explain trends, pricing, and any relevant factors influencing your buying decisions. Your agent should guide you through various financing options, such as mortgages, and connect you with a mortgage broker or lender if necessary. They can help you determine affordability and discuss down payment requirements.
Finding Property: They will manage expectations regarding how long the process might take and any potential delays that could arise. Your agent will regularly provide you with property listings that match your criteria. They should keep you updated on new listings and price changes promptly.
Viewings: Estate agents will schedule property showings for you, considering your availability. They will accompany you to these showings, providing insights into the properties and answering any questions. Good property agents also know about the neighbourhoods you’re exploring. They provide insights into local schools, amenities, safety, and future development plans.
Buying Property: Your agent will draft a formal offer to purchase the property, including the price, contingencies, and special conditions. They will ensure the offer is complete and legally sound. Once your offer is submitted, they handle negotiations with the seller’s agent. They should use their expertise to achieve the best possible terms for you- price, repairs, or other concessions.
Closing Process: Before the closing, your agent will arrange a final walkthrough of the property to ensure it’s in the agreed-upon condition. They will verify repairs or improvements have been completed and assist in preparing for the closing, which involves reviewing all closing documents, including settlement statements and mortgage paperwork. Your estate agent will accompany you to the closing and guide you through the paperwork. They will explain each document, ensuring you understand the terms and fees.
After Sales: Your relationship doesn’t end on the closing day. Your property agent can provide recommendations for moving companies, utility transfers, and other post-closing logistics. If your property includes warranties or guarantees, your agent can help you understand and access them. Good estate agents follow up after the purchase to ensure a smooth transition to the new property. They can address any unexpected issues or concerns that arise.
Summary of Questions
So, they are essential questions to ask your potential agent when you want to buy residential property. From previous transactions to vetting processes to buyer-agent cooperation, be 100% confident when using an agent for this significant lifestyle transaction. If you want to buy property in your home country or abroad and want to find out what we can do, contact us today. Alternatively, start your property search by browsing our portfolio of apartments and villas for sale worldwide.
Choosing a seasoned realtor is critical to successful and stress-free home-buying experiences. Our expertise and local market knowledge enable us to find the perfect property tailored to your unique needs and preferences, ensuring you make a sound investment. We’ll guide you through the entire process, from identifying potential homes to negotiating the best deal and handling all the intricate details. With our dedication to your best interests and our extensive network of resources, trust us to provide a smooth, efficient, and rewarding journey to homeownership.
Also of Interest
Buying Property in Europe: Despite Europe’s open-door policy, many website visits still ask if foreigners can purchase property in Europe. Yes, they can. The complex process requires adherence to various laws and regulations for non-EU citizens. However, understanding the rules and average prices can make purchasing a home in Europe easier for wealthy investors and budget first-time buyers.
Best Countries for Real Estate Investment: Knowing the best countries for real estate investment is not a task to be taken lightly. With technological advancements, increased accessibility, and growing global economies, real estate investing has transcended national boundaries, opening many possibilities for foreign buyers willing to explore beyond their domestic markets. Additionally, one has to look at the future to ensure there is potential for their investment to grow.
How Do Online Estate Agents Work? The main buzz in real estate markets these days is about online agents vs the high street estate agency model. From old-fashioned days when selling and buying houses was a long process via your local agent, the idea of selling property on the internet has changed how the markets work. From traditional high street estate agents to online-only agents, sellers now have more choices to work with, so their property gets sold quickly and smoothly.