Top 7 Questions to Ask a Buyer Agent
By Joshua Ferris
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Not all that long ago the concept of buyer agency (a real estate agent representing the buyer only in a transaction) was relatively uncommon to the real estate industry because, at the time, most agents represented the sellers of property or both parties. Buyers of real property were in need of a real estate professional to represent their needs exclusively and buyer agency was born. Fast forward to today, there are tens of thousands of agents who represent buyers in real estate transactions so here are seven questions to help you find the right buyer agent for you.
- How many homes have you sold in the past year?
The real estate industry is home to over one million practicing professionals and each agent can choose whether to work part-time or full time. Sometimes you have an agent who may be licensed to help friends and family sell real estate and other times you have the full time professional who assists in the buying and selling of dozens of properties each year.
Find out how many properties your buyer agent has participated in the sale of over the past 12 months to get a better idea of how much experience they have in today's real estate market.
- How many times have you represented the buyer only in a home sale over the past year?
The representation ratio is as important to the agent's ability to help you as their overall sales experience. Ask your buyer agent how many times they have represented the buyer only in a real estate transaction because buyer representation and seller representation are two very different concepts.
- What area do you sell the most homes?
When you begin looking for a home you will need to narrow down where your ideal living areas will be. Using an agent with extensive knowledge of the area you're most interested in will aid you in finding the right home much faster. There are many real estate agents who specialize in one county, city or even one town!
- What's the most you have negotiated off a home's price in the past 12 months?
Part of being a buyer agent is negotiating the best price possible for your buyer client. When interviewing your buyer agent you should know what their most recent successes have been for other buyers because there's a very real chance you will see similar results.
There are agents who constantly push for the maximum possible price reduction before you purchase a home and there are also agents who will be happy if you buy a home at asking price without negotiating at all. It's your money and future so knowing their negotiating success is crucial to your investment.
- What type of incentives are being offered by builders and homeowners right now?
During down markets you will find a lot of home builders and sometimes even homeowners who offer incentives to entice you to purchase their home. Incentives can range from the seller paying closing costs and HOA fees to car leases and free appliances.
- Do you have a network of contacts that I can use to make my buying process easier?
Who your buyer agent knows really does matter. What happens if you need a new home inspector at the last minute? Having a solid network of contacts will help streamline your home buying process making it much less stressful for you.
- How quickly can I expect a response from you?
A big concern for home buyers is what is going to happen once you do start the home buying process. Will your agent be available by phone, text or email? Will you have to wait three days for a response? These are important questions to ask before you choose your buyer agent.
Joshua Ferris is an associate real estate broker in Orange County NY and specializes in both Monroe New York and Newburgh New York real estate. Learn more about Orange County by visiting Josh's Monroe New York real estate guide and Orange County NY Real Estate search.
Article Submitted On: December 10, 2008