I hate to say it, but some folks put more thought into buying a piece of fruit than ensuring competent and even exceptional representation when buying a home.
For example. People have many tests they will subject a watermelon to before they buy it. How does it sound when you thump it? Is it flat or discolored on one side. Is it on the top or bottom of the pile? Is it a “Texas Striper” or “Hybrid Seedless”? And the list goes on.
But when it comes to a home purchase of a quarter…even half a million dollars or more…a purchase that will affect financial, relational, educational and many more aspects of life for possibly decades, the National Association of Realtors reports that 67% (nearly 7 in 10) of buyers use the first agent that happens to be there when the need arises; no questions asked.
So here are a few questions that will help you to cut through the “hype” and help you make an informed decision when selecting an agent to represent you.
1. “How many homes have you personally, not your brokerage at large, closed (closed means to personally represent or actively lead the team for a client who bought or sold) in the last 12 months?”
2. “Will you provide the list of homes you’ve closed in the last year?”
3. “Based on the last 12 months, going forward, how many offers do you anticipate writing before our offer is selected and what strategies will you employ to minimize repetitive rejections?”
4. “How many of the clients you’ve listed as helping in the last year have provided testimonials that we can read?”
5. “Can you help me to understand credit and financing concepts and find competent and experienced resources in these areas that we can trust?”
6. “How will you help us prepare and plan to be successful in purchasing the right home, even if we’re not ready yet?”
7. “How will you help us interpret and analyze the mountain of data and raw information that we will be exposed to and ensure that we are comfortable making the best informed purchase decision we can?”
8. “Give us a recent example of your negotiation skills and how it benefitted your client.”
9. “What are the market conditions in the price range and area we are interested in?”
10. “Why should we select you to represent us? Especially if we are going to purchase new construction when the Builder’s Sales person does all the work?”
After your interview think about and consider the following:
Industry experts estimate that 7% of the agents close 90% of all purchases and sales of homes. Average agents might close 2, 3 or 4 homes per year and Champion agents close 3, 4, 5+ homes per month.
Did the agent answer questions thoroughly and competently?
Did the agent use statistics and charts (ie actual data) to support their position and opinion?
Would you hire this agent because they demonstrated confidence, experience, knowledge and a care for helping you successfully meet and/or exceed your needs and goals?
Did the agent explain the contents of and ask that you initial, a simple 1 page Disclosure that informs the public of what a broker’s responsibility is to their clients? Presenting this Disclosure at the first meeting where there is a serious discussion is actually required by TREC (Texas Real Estate Commission)!
Did the agent ask you for a commitment to work with them exclusively as your Buyers Representative – in writing? The Buyer’s Representation Agreement is a requirement of Article 9 of the Code of Ethics from the NAR (National Association of Realtors); it sets expectations and provides clarity for all parties. Remember, this is most likely a transaction that will approach or exceed half a million dollars! Setting expectations is key!
Many agents will not even bring up “the agreement”, or the Disclosure because they are afraid it will scare away their prospects. The bottom line is if an agent can’t abide by TREC rules and the NAR Code of Ethics, can’t explain their value to you, and sell you on their competency, service, and value of their presence, why would you trust them to represent you during the selection and negotiation process of your largest single financial asset?
Did the agent seem anxious to run out and show you homes at any time BEFORE you have properly planned and prepared, or set expectations? If so, it may be a sign of desperation and/or inexperience and a sign of trouble to come.
Finally, remember you are seeking competent, trustworthy, experienced representation that will always act in your best interest. So, after interviewing and gathering the evidence and facts, the final question you ask is a question you ask yourself: “Do I really believe that I and my loved ones will be best served with this agent’s representation?”
I hope this was helpful. The Disclosure discussed above can be viewed by Clicking Here. It is not uncommon for people to be hesitant to sign an “Agreement” locking them in to an Agent. We understand that hesitancy and that is why QUE provides an “EASY OUT” written into all of our Agreements. If a client feels we are not doing what we said we’d do, we give them an unconditional release. We are committed to providing the best representation as perceived by the client. And if we aren’t, we will get out of the way, period.