The home buying process is intimidating. Even if you’ve purchased before, the real estate market and practices can change on a dime. In order to make the process less scary, we’ve developed a list of the top 10 questions you MUST ask your buyer’s agent (and why!) when starting the home buying journey. These questions will help you navigate the process better and deepen your conversations with your agent, to make sure that you’re getting all of the information you need to buy for the most in the current real estate market.
- Tell me about the last 3 clients you helped get into contract. How did you help them win? – Asking this question is a great way to learn about other clients' experiences straight from the mouth of your agent. This encourages honesty from your agent and allows you to learn about their process and what drives them when working with a client. If they can’t tell you how they helped their previous clients win, they may not be the right agent to be working with.
- What makes you different from the other agents I've spoken to? – This is another question that encourages the agent to explain their value and essentially sell you on working with them. This question can bring all types of answers, but you want an answer that focuses on the buyer's experience and how they won, not on the agent's success.
- Do you work with more first-time homebuyers, move-up buyers, or investors? – When you’re a buyer, you want to work with an agent whose experience is relevant to your situation. If you’re a first time buyer, you want an agent that is well versed in the home buying experience when it comes to first time purchasers, since you’ll be able to get more relevant detail and work with someone who is most experienced with your type of purchase.
- Who do you prefer as a lender and what's the advantage of working with them? – Many agents have relationships with lenders and can find someone who will be best suited to help you with your lending needs. They can help you find a lender that is going to be great for you, or put you in contact with someone who they work with regularly, which can make the lending process smoother.
- How do you work? Individual vs team? What's the difference? – This question is very important to ask in order to know what resources you and your agent will have access to during your home buying process. If they are a solo agent, their reach may be more limited than an agent that is part of a team may have. This question can also give you an insight into how they work with others and if they are collaborative or combative in nature.
- How do you handle showings? – When it comes to showings, some agents will attend with you and others will encourage you to attend showings on your own. By learning up front how your agent handles showings, you’ll get an idea of what you can expect during your home shopping phase.
- If we are interested in a property, what will you do to help us with our decision/win the house? – This is another great question to ask to learn more about your agent and how they help their clients. You want an agent who is going to put in the best effort they can for you during your home search.
- What's the best way to communicate with you? – Easy communication is key when buying a home, especially in a fluctuating market. If your agent will be most responsive through text, you want to know that up front to make sure you’re using the best form of communication with them.
- What happens once we get our offer accepted? What are preemptive offers? – It’s important to know what to expect throughout your home buying process. By asking upfront about what to expect when your offer is accepted, you can properly prepare for when the time comes, discuss any inspections you’d like to do, and learn about the closing process in a low pressure environment.
- What are your thoughts on the current market? Is this a good time to buy? – Agents will have good insight on the current market conditions and asking this simple question can save you from wasting a lot of time and energy if the current market isn’t good. An agent can advise if you should consider waiting till a late date to start your process when the market is more stable.
And a bonus question that you have to ask any agent you work with: Do you have references/reviews that I can read? – Hearing from other clients what their experience was like working with the agents is essential. Past clients may have run into issues working with the agent at various points in the process that you can’t pick up on in an initial meeting or buyers consult.
Now you’re equipped with the essential questions to ask your buyer's agent and prepared to win when purchasing your home! If you’re a first time home buyer and looking for more information about the home buying process, check out our Real Estate Buyers Guide playlist linked here. And if you’re considering a move to the San Francisco Bay Area, make sure to get in touch with us! We can’t wait to hear from you.