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Five questions to ask before hiring a real estate agent

Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Issue 51, Volume 17.

FALLBROOK – Want to sell a property quickly? Looking for the perfect dream house? Hoping to get the best deal possible during the complex process of buying or selling a home? With so much money – and often, emotion – at stake, going it alone is generally not the best way to reach the goal. The secret for success: work with a savvy real estate agent.

A qualified real estate agent will streamline the process, help one save money and serve as a liaison with the individual’s best interests in mind. But how does one find the right real estate agent? While the choice may seem overwhelming, finding the best one for a person’s unique situation doesn’t have to be time-consuming.

Remember, it is an individual’s expertise and quality service that matters. An agent gets a designated percentage of the sale of a house. Depending on negotiations, this cost may be covered by the seller, buyer, or split by both. It is important to have a representative who will work hard, but also someone that makes a buyer or seller comfortable.

To find the best real estate agent, ask these five critical questions:

How many buyers or sellers has the agent helped in the last year in the area?

An active agent is more likely to be up-to-date on the market, and local and state laws. Furthermore, active agents with experience in the specific neighborhood, or the neighborhood a person would like to move to, are better positioned to help because they can provide unique insight that other less-knowledgeable agents cannot.

Does the agent have advanced training?

Any licensed real estate agent can help a person or family buy or sell a home. But an agent who has advanced specialty training is better qualified to assist. For example, an agent who is an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR), has enhanced training focusing specifically on buyers. An agent who is a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) has special training to deal with short sales and foreclosures. RE/MAX United agents, on average, have more certifications and extra training to better serve buyers and sellers.

What services does the agent offer?

While the majority of people Advertisement
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shop for homes online first, having someone with your best interest at heart through the search and sale process can save time and money. A buyer’s agent should help schedule showings, assist with negotiating the price of the new home, guide one through the paperwork, be there at the closing table, and provide insight through any contingencies during the process.

For sellers, an agent should help set the price of the home based on a competitive market analysis (CMA). It is important to ask the agent how he or she plans to actively market the home (websites, videos, direct mail). Also inquire about assistance with staging and hosting open houses. Then, when the offers come in, the agent can help with the decision on which one is the most viable to accept.

Who else will the agent have working on this?

The person one hires should do most of the work, but there may be interaction with a support team, too. Additional team members may include mortgage brokers, home inspectors, or contractors.

How often will the agent communicate?

Whether selling or buying, ask how often the agent will communicate and make sure that commitment is in line with expectations. For buyers: Would a person like to be called when new homes come on the market that may be of interest? Is it important for an agent to check in regularly? For sellers: Would it be important to hear from the agent only after a buyer has toured the home, or is it important to be kept in the loop on a weekly basis regarding the market?

Buying or selling a home is a complex process most people do only a few times in their lives. Hiring the right real estate agent from a reputable company like RE/MAX United can provide the best edge so buyers and sellers can achieve the best quality for their money as possible.

To learn more about the home buying or selling process and to review the qualifications of local experienced agents, call or visit RE/MAX United at 1667 S. Mission Rd., Fallbrook. Phone: (760) 731-2900. To view listings and more information, visit



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