Questions To Ask a Realtor When Buying or Selling in London Ontario
Your decision to buy or sell a home in London, Ontario, involves more than looking at two or three houses, making an offer, and moving in.
Working with the right real estate salesperson will make a massive difference in your satisfaction metre!
Unless you have experience interviewing people (and real estate salespeople in particular), you won’t always know what questions to ask.
Tip: Make sure he or she is not telling you just what you want to hear.
Question #1: How Long Have You Been a Real Estate Sales Person?
This question will reveal more than just years in the business. We have all heard of 10 years of one year experience! You want to delve down into the number of transactions, average price range, specialized areas and types of homes they’ve purchased or sold. You also want to know how productive they’ve been in each year in practice.
( Did you notice I did not say practising real estate? I squint my eyes when a lawyer says he/she has been practising law for 15 years! You would think after 15 years they would know something and not still be practising! )
Some Realtors in business less than five years may have more skills than others in the industry for ten years or more! However, do they have the money, time, and work ethic to help you drill deep here?
Question #2: What Qualifications Do You Have To Sell Real Estate?
Yeah, just because you have a real estate license, what skills have you chosen to be above average? How often do they invest in improving their skills and keeping up with technology and other industry trends?
Experience should also carry over to negotiating and financial skills. And don’t forget the ancillary experience required for real estate, such as work ethic, dependability, reliability & financial integrity.
Question #3: Tell Me About Your Personal Real Estate Operation?
This is an open-ended question designed to get your Realtor talking about his or her business. You want to know how much they’ve invested in their business as it relates to giving you the outcome you want. For example, do they have an assistant to take home inquiries when they’re not in the office? Do they have a private office either with the broker, or are they on their own? Their website or their brokerage’s?
Here’s what you’re looking for: The more a salesperson invests in his or her success, office, and systems, the more he/she will be able to commit to you.
Are you part-time? Successful Realtors do not need to supplement their income. I get calls every week from Realtors asking if I would take them on part-time, and while I have compassion for them, I have found that if one is dedicated to this profession, it can be a 50-70 hour week or more to look after your clients!
Question #4: Can You Give Me A List Of Client References To Call?
A Realtor who doesn’t accumulate a list of satisfied references either doesn’t do much business or doesn’t provide the kind of service or follow-through you need. Recommendations don’t always need to be past clients. Get professional references as well: bankers, mortgage lenders, appraisers, lawyers, etc.
Question #5: Do You Have a Buyer System?
Does your salesperson have a Buyer Program that educates you with up-to-date buyer strategies and is proactive in finding you a home? I can’t tell you how many times buyers contact me through one of my listings to see a property or get information.
Their agent hasn’t made the call or appointment, and they say they haven’t talked to him or her in a week or haven’t been able to get a hold of him or her for a few days!
Question #6: What Systems Do You Have For Tracking The Home Market (Buyers) Regularly?
A crucial question. As a buyer, you want to know his or her competence in understanding specific areas’ values. They also need systems to keep you continually up-to-date with opportunities in the market. You want them to have more than “access to the Multiple Listing Service.”
How often do they preview homes in your price range or desired area? How often do they talk to neighbours or participate in other activities in those areas?
If a real estate salesperson does not have specific systems for measuring and reporting these items, perhaps you should consider someone else.
Question #7: Do You Guarantee Your Performance?
Some Realtors® will give you a blank stare at this question. If they do, you might want to consider taking your business elsewhere. Why? Because you need to know if your interests are aligned.
Is the salesperson willing to stake his or her successful outcome with yours? Why shouldn’t your Realtor guarantee his/her performance?
A professional guarantees their services for two reasons: 1) They’re confident they can perform because of their experience, commitment, and work ethic; 2) it’s the only way they do business! If you buy a television, it’s guaranteed. If you buy a car, it has a warranty!
Question #8: Can You Refer Me To A Reputable Mortgage Lender, Banker, Appraiser, or Real Estate Lawyer?
This question reveals how active a Realtor is and how well connected they are as a professional. At some point in the buying or selling process, you will need the services of a reputable, competent lender, appraiser, lawyer, etc. If a salesperson is active, committed, and diligent with their practice, he or she will be able to give you a few names of each right on the spot.
Question #9: What Percentage Of Your Business Comes By Referral?
Here’s the “$64,000 question!” Competent, well-known sales professionals get a large part of their business from satisfied past clients and members of their sphere of influence.
If they get less than 75% of new business through referrals, it may be because:
1) The quality of service they offer is not up to standard (hence, people don’t feel compelled to refer to them after a transaction);
2) They lack the marketing experience or skills required to market for referrals (which means they may not bring vital skills to your purchase);
3) They don’t cultivate contacts in their business (which means they won’t have many people to speak with about your home). Clearly, past clients’ best way shows their gratitude for outstanding service is by referring their family, friends, and associates.
Question #10: How Many People Do You Speak With Each Day About Real Estate?
This question will tell you how connected one is and how active they’ll “talk-up” your home to buyers or find a home for you by talking to other Realtors and possible home sellers. An energetic, successful Realtor talks to a minimum of 20 people a day about real estate.
There Are “Real Estate Agents”…And Then There Are Committed Professionals. Which One Do You Want Representing Your Interests?
Wisdom is not something you learn; it is something you become!
Question #11: “Why should I work with just one salesperson?”
“Why don’t I do it myself, go to Open Houses, use the listing agent because it will be cheaper, and I can make my deal ?” are thoughts that go through many buyer’s minds.
All rational thoughts, but do not lose the perspective of why you are buying a home in the first place. Thinking that you will get a better deal by working with the listing agent is not valid! Lawyers cannot act for both parties; why do you think that is? So why can buyers and sellers use the same agent? Who is protecting whom?
If you find a home on your own, know that the listing Realtor represents the seller, not you! A question you have to ask yourself is. “Is this person going to represent my interests?”Think about this: If you had to go to court, would you use the same lawyer the opposing side was using? I think you know the answer!
Question #12: What does it cost as a buyer to use a real estate salesperson?
The compensation that a Realtor receives typically comes from the seller’s proceeds. In other words, there is no cost for a buyer to use a Realtor in the traditional agent/buyer relationship.
Question #13: “Can my sales representative give me information regarding properties from other companies?”
If that other company is a member of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), most real estate companies are. For Sale by Owner (FSBO) properties are not listed on MLS, so a Realtor likely would not be able to provide information regarding them. However, a top agent will contact that FSBO (because he is working for you!) and have access to research that property.
Question #14: “What about new homes?”
Again, a good Realtor can take you through the homes you have selected and negotiate on your behalf. Remember, the new home salesperson is representing the builder, not you!
Question #15: “Can I go to open houses without my REALTOR?”
Yes, but make sure that that you indicate that you are working with someone already. This will prevent unwanted follow-up calls or pressure from other realtors.
Question #16: “How do I find out about new properties?”
Depending on your preference and urgency, a skilled Realtor will have a system to ensure you instantly receive new listings that match your criteria. As well, an agent with a vast network of contacts will know about properties that may be available soon but not yet on the market.
Question #17: “When I find the right property, then what?”
A very good Realtor® will do the following:
The answers to the above questions should give you a good feel for the Realtor’s commitment and competency you’re thinking about using. Buying and selling real estate should not be taken lightly; we are talking hundreds of thousands of dollars to entrust that hard-earned money with just anybody. And selecting the wrong Realtor, the wrong lawyer, the wrong home inspector or lender can cost you a lot of money, headaches, and wasted time.
Well, that’s it; I hope that by reading the above pages, you now understand the process better and why it is vital for you and your family that you choose the best Realtor for you and to do so wisely!