FOUR KEY QUESTIONS
TO ASK ANY PROSPECTIVE AGENT...
INCLUDING A FRIEND OR RELATIVE
Most people have no idea how to select a real estate agent. And we have to admit we didn't either on our first home. We went with a friend. Most people do. Or a relative. Now, a real estate transaction is not as important as brain surgery - and we certainly would not automatically pick a friend or relative for that - but there is an awful lot at stake here. It's not just that you want the right house, to be treated fairly, and work with someone that is competent - it's that there is a bunch of money here. It may well mean the difference between retiring earlier or later. And despite how much we say we love our jobs...when it comes nearer retirement, we would almost always rather do it sooner than later. The decisions you make in real estate over your entire life will have a great impact on you and your family. Best to do it right.
Here are 4 questions to ask any prospective agent. And please don't pick a relative or a friend because they are a relative or friend. Subject them to the same rigor that you would anyone else.
- Ask about the market - what's happening. Do they sound like they know what they're talking about? Your gut is a good judge here.
- Ask them about the areas you want to buy in. It's NOT important that they live there or know when the library opens - but they do need to know about what homes sell for and how long they are on the market. Do they sound like they know what they're talking about? Your gut is a good judge here.
- Super question: Ask them how many months' supply of inventory there is AND is it a buyer or seller's market. (the answer is seller market at 4 months or below, buyer market at 5 or 6 or above). Do they sound like they know what they're talking about? Your gut is a good judge here.
- Tell them what your down payment is and your max budget per month and ask them to tell you approximately what you can afford. They should be able to give you a rough number. Do they sound like they know what they're talking about? Your gut is a good judge here.
Many people think real estate transactions are simple and can be handled by anyone. They're not, and they can't be. There is a host of legal issues, and lots of money and moving parts. Think on it - you really do owe yourself and your family a little due diligence on this.