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When buying or selling a home in St. Louis, it’s important to find a real estate agent that is a seasoned professional to help you through one of the biggest transactions of your life. Your agent should be knowledgeable and available to answer any questions that may arise. Here are some good questions to ask a potential agent to make sure they’re the one for you.
How long have you been in the business?
Real estate agents acquire the majority of their knowledge through on-the-job training, so it’s important to know how long they’ve been in the business. An experienced agent can offer an enormous amount of industry knowledge and advice. This isn’t to say that all new agents should be avoided, however – you also want an agent that has time for you, and newer agents tend to have more availability because they have fewer clients. Just make sure to ask the right questions to ensure they have the right amount of experience for your transaction.
What is your marketing strategy?
Marketing is key in real estate. As a seller, you’ll want to know the different methods your agent will use for their sales strategy. The more people that view your home, the more likely you are to get an offer. Will the agent stage your home for photos? Will they arrange a broker caravan and open houses? What social media marketing do they use? As a buyer, you may not think that marketing and sales tactics are as important, but they are. Your agent should be able to come up with creative ideas to finding you the deal you’re looking for. Additionally, should you find yourself in a bidding war, your agent will need to sell you as the perfect choice.
How often will we communicate?
Communication is important in any stressful transaction. You want an agent that will be there to give you the good news as well as be confident enough to give you the bad. Discuss your expectations as well as your ideal mean of communication. If you would like to view homes three times a week, let them know. If you want 24 hour notice prior to a showing, tell them that. A good agent will be willing to adjust to your needs and expectations.
How many clients are you working with now?
Homes in St. Louis can go under contract rather quickly, so it’s important to know that your agent will have the time to focus on your needs and get you to the listings you want to see prior to someone else making an offer. Unfortunately, agents tend to lend more of their time to closings, so if you have an agent with a multitude of clients that are under contract, your viewings may not be first priority.
Can I cancel our agreement if I am unhappy?
Usually, when you hire an agent, they’ll have you sign a listing or buyer’s agreement stating that will work solely with them. But what if they don’t live up to the promises they made you? Typically if you’re unhappy with an agent, open communication can fix the problem. With that said, there may be some issues that cannot be corrected, so discussing their cancellation policy is a good idea ahead of time.
How much do you charge?
An agent's commission is never set in stone and can vary anywhere from 1% to 7% of the sale price. A listing agent may charge 3% and the buyer’s agent may also charge 3%. Generally in a real estate transaction, the seller pays the commission. If you’re the seller, it’s important to know what their fees are so you can take that into account when deciding on the listing price of your home.
Do you have any questions for me?
It’s important for your agent to get to know you and understand your wants and needs. Look for an agent who takes a genuine interest in you and your family and that wants to help you succeed in either finding the house of your dreams or in selling your current property.
Finding the right real estate agent can save you time, money, and an enormous amounts of stress. Take the time to ask these questions and choose the person that truly takes an interest in what you’re looking for. How did you find your real estate agent? Share your story with us.