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If you’re preparing to buy a home in Chicago, working with a real estate agent is a smart idea. An agent can help you find the homes in the location and price range that match your needs. If you really want to get the most from your agent, there are a handful of questions that can help you maximize the relationship.
Could you provide references?
Especially if you’re not being referred by family or friends, asking for references is never a bad idea. If you have a few agents to choose from, this can instantly help you select the best match for you. Talk to one or two past clients and see what their experience was like. Find out if the agent went above and beyond and how they responded to challenges. If you’re working with a more established agent, you can do the research yourself and read online reviews to get a better sense of their services.
Do you specialize in working with home buyers or sellers?
Most agents work with both, though top agents often specialize in one or the other. A buyer’s agent, as opposed to a listing agent, will have a wealth of experience in working with homebuyers. That experience can make the process more effective and streamlined and reduce a lot of the stress that goes into finding a home. An agent with a buyer-to-seller client ratio of 7 to 3 or higher is usually a great bet.
How many buyers did you help close in the last year?
When you get down to it, you want an agent who will deliver. Sure, it depends on finding the right Chicago property, but you want to know that your agent has had success in the past. This can help assure you that they’re qualified and capable of giving you the service you need.
Do you work solo or as part of a team?
While there can be perks to both, it’s nice to know up front if you should expect to work with a single person throughout the process or with a team of different people. Working with a solo agent makes it easy to establish a relationship since you’ll be communicating with the same person every time. When you’re working with a team, you may be able to get a bit more attention. Determine which is right for you. Even if you don’t have a preference, it’s a good idea to establish this dynamic ahead of time.
How do you find homes that match my wants and needs?
If you’re looking for your Chicago dream home, you’re going to want a helpful agent on your side. A key thing to discuss is their process for working with clients. Many top agents will provide client surveys to nail down exactly what it is you’re looking for. You want to find an agent who is committed to helping you as an individual client and who is interested in personalizing the search to meet your expectations.
How do we stay in touch?
Perhaps back-and-forth texting is frustrating and phone calls are your preferred mode of conversation. Or, maybe vice versa. Perhaps phone calls are an interruption to your day, and texting often makes the most sense. Find out how your agent works and if they’re willing to adapt to your communication needs. Clear, frequent conversations with your agent can really help to speed up the process, and establishing this ahead from the get-go is smart for all buyers.
It doesn’t need to feel like you’re grilling your prospective agent, but if you want to find the right home for you in Chicago, it’s not a bad idea to have some questions ready. Before you officially commit to working one agent, consider asking a few of these questions to make sure you find the right fit.