Real estate agents aren’t all the same. When you’re buying or selling real estate, you’re hoping for a smooth process and a positive outcome. Can your real estate agent deliver both? Yes, maybe he or she can deliver a rock-bottom closing price (if you’re the buyer) or a sky-high closing price (if you’re the seller), but what was the process like in between? Did you nearly lose your sanity with the endless hassles, stress, and general frustration? Here are some questions to ask a potential real estate agent.
Does Your Agent Have Experience?
It helps if the real estate agent has some form of experience with houses and land, particularly with the buying and selling of them. Normally, a real estate agent will start by working for a brokerage. Later on, after obtaining the right training and certifications, he may obtain a brokerage license himself, which means that he is able to run his own real estate office. Find out what licenses and certifications he has and how many years he’s been doing this
Experience can mean different things. A real estate agent may have gotten hands-on experience in real estate development or in the construction industry. A real estate developer takes either existing buildings or raw land and develops them into properties that can be either resold or made available for rental—for example, a housing development. A developer will usually be involved in the project from beginning to end. If an agent has experience as a developer, he will have extensive knowledge in real estate.
Of course, experience can also mean that the real estate agent has already been in business for a number of years and has helped thousands of buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals.
Does the Agent Understand Your Type of Property?
Real estate agents often specialize in certain types of properties. Some handle mainly residential real estate while others prefer to deal in commercial real estate. Still others do mainly lots and land. Every type of real estate needs to be handled differently.
However, there are some real estate agents who are jacks-of-all-trades and assist clients with all types of properties—residential, commercial, industrial, land, and residential income properties. Make sure the agent understands your property interests.
Does the Agent Provide Specialized Services?
When an agent has been in the real estate world for while, he may be able to offer additional services, such as personalized consultations on acquisitions, dispositions, and portfolio analysis or assistance with structuring 1031 tax-deferred exchanges for qualified transactions. A 1031 exchange enables an investor to sell or reinvest property while limiting the amount of tax due on it.
Look for a full-service real estate brokerage. This type of brokerage will generally be able to handle every stage of a real estate transaction—listing, buying, selling, and leasing. It can also mean that the brokerage can help you buy or sell any type of property.
Does the Agent Have Your Best Interests in Mind?
A good real estate agent will demonstrate that it’s not just about getting the sale or purchase of a property realized. It’s about you and your goals and dreams. A good real estate agent will focus on building a relationship with you while bringing the best of his expertise and knowledge to the table. Look for one who is willing to go the extra mile.
When making a large real estate transaction, you want both the desired outcome and a smooth, efficient, and drama-free journey to the close. That’s why you want a real estate agent that knows what he’s doing.