By Maggie Bloom
Buying a new home can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. From deciding about the best location to ensuring the foundation is sound, making sure you have the right advice is crucial to making a good investment in your future home. To help you make that all-important decision, we have compiled a list of key questions to ask your real estate agent.
What is your experience in real estate?
This is an especially important question, as it will help you decide which real estate agent is right for you. You should know if your real estate agent only works part-time or if they are working with numerous clients. You also want to know if they are new to the field and do not have much experience. While being new to real estate is not necessarily bad, it could mean they don’t have the expertise needed to help you with your specific home buying needs. Make sure that you are not one of several clients they are working with. This could spell disaster if you need your agent to be flexible and meet with you around your schedule.
Do you work collaboratively with your team or do you work alone?
Several agencies now are switching to a model in which you work with a primary agent, but you also have access to other team members, if they are unavailable. If you are looking to buy in a market where houses move quickly, you might want to think about finding an agent who works collaboratively. This will help you get in to see more houses quickly. And you might be able to make an offer on the home before another buyer.
On the other hand, for many, buying a home is a very personal experience. If you would prefer to work one-on-one with your real estate agent, mention that upfront. Ensuring that you are on the same page with your real estate agent can limit or eliminate conflict and confusion later in the process.
Can you explain your fees?
Typically, an agent is paid only when a home is sold. Often, the total commission fee is around 6 percent. You want to make sure that the fee or commission for your purchase is comparable to other real estate agents in the area. Make sure you are not paying too much or too little for the advice you need from a real estate agent.
What is the home offer process like?
Making an offer on a home is just the start of the next part of the home buying process. You should ask in-depth questions and get a feel for what exactly you should expect. For instance, if you are looking for new houses for sale in Edmonton, you might have to put in an aggressive offer to get the home you want. However, if you are looking to buy in a market that is much more friendly to buyers, you might be able to put in a lower offer on your dream home.
Your real estate agent should be the local expert on the housing market. And they should be able to tell you what the typical process is for putting in offers and how often the buyers they work with are successful.
What can I do if my funding falls through?
This can be a nightmare for buyers. At this point, you have likely gone through the prequalification process. And while it can be a challenge to overcome, you should know what to expect and how to handle the hurdle, should it become an issue. Usually, funding issues arise because there is a discrepancy in the appraised value of the home and the offer price. When this happens, the buyers and sellers can choose to renegotiate the price of the house. If all else fails, you might not be able to purchase the home and you could lose your earnest money. A good real estate agent should be able to tell you both best- and worst-case scenarios of this type of situation.