Asking questions is crucial to making an informed decision. Being experts in the Los Angeles real estate market who foster close relationships with our buyers and sellers, we’re sharing the top questions you should be asking your real estate agent when buying a home.
1. “Can you please send me the recent comps for the home we just viewed? I love it and I want to make an offer!”
Compare to recently sold properties in the area!
Don’t base your decision on the listing price! Reviewing comparable market data will give you an advantage when it comes to the amount you want to offer for the home, as well as insight to the potential return on your investment should you ever sell. Home prices are based on what a buyer is likely to pay for a dwelling, and also depends on other factors such as location, finishes and amenities, to name a few.
“What is comparable market data?” This is a pricing strategy that will consist of 3-5 listings that are similar to your proposed purchase property and that have sold in the last six months to a year. You’ll find details like square footage, lot size, zoning, finishes, and upgrades. Now see how they compare to your dream home, based on the similarities and differences you can add or subtract respectively and come up with a value. On top of that your agent will be able to help explain or answer any questions about upgrades to plumbing and electrical, or the previous selling price. Ultimately, this will make you feel good about your purchase and prevent buyer’s remorse.
Here are some other questions a buyer should ask their real estate agents:
2. “Do you have reviews or referrals from past clients?”
A picture is worth a thousand words, so is a review!
Requesting a review should be one of the first questions a Realtor® is asked by a would-be buyer, and for good reason. Client reviews are highly personal and sometimes emotional — the good, the bad and the RAVING. Real estate is an emotional and personal experience and likely the largest purchase you will ever make. Reviews or referrals will tell you how a business, or in this case, your agent, has made his clients feel before, during and after close. Let your voice be heard and consider those who have gone down this path before.
You can find reviews from many sources online such as Yelp, Facebook, Google +, and typically the agent‘s website. On a side note, it is always a great idea to leave a review of your experience to let others know what they can expect when working with an agent.
3. “Do you have relationships with vendors I may need before, during, and after the home buying process?”
Don’t watch your dreams wash away!
A real estate agent is one piece to a very large puzzle that you’ll need to build when purchasing a home, and in the years during home ownership. Your agent should have vetted resources at his or her disposal. With a home being one of your most valuable possessions, you will need to handle it with care and for people who work on your home to do the same. There are quality companies out there that provide outstanding service and the last thing you want to do is pick a property inspector or a handyman at random. It is likely your agent has already seen their work and can vouch for it! The last thing you want is a leaky faucet!
You will need these vendors during the inspection phase, from a general home inspector to a termite specialist, and you will need them to act quickly. Remember most escrows last only 30-45 days. Home specialists will be providing you with reports on the home so you can make a well-informed decision to move forward, order more reports or negotiate a credit based on the results you are given. There is generally an inspection period to which these reports must be finished and reviewed prior to the time specified in your contract. On average it’s 21 days with financing and 10 days for all cash buyers. However, in real estate everything in negotiable.
4. “Who pays the agents’ commission?”
It is customary for the seller of the property to pay the commission for both his agent listing the property as well as the agent who brings the buyer to the table. However times are always changing and customs are being evolved and reconsidered. Commission on a property is always negotiable and if there is no commission offered to the buyer’s agent you may responsible for paying their fee. The great thing about commission is like everything in real estate, negotiable.
Negotiations can be uncomfortable but are necessary to get what you want.
Don’t worry, the customs have not changed yet and more often than not the seller will still pay the commission, however knowing what leverage you have can make all the difference.
Consider this: If the seller has agreed to pay the commission, your agent’s fee will be paid by the seller,In today’s market, though, the competition to buy a home is fierce. Properties are constantly receiving multiple offers, and often above asking price! Additionally we still see many offers being paid in all cash, which is king, and hard to contend with if you are using traditional financing. Wouldn’t you think a home owner would consider your offer with more weight should you agree to pay the agent who helped you find the home? This might be a strategy that could save you thousands, depending on your price point, simply as a gesture of good faith!
5. “Who else will I be working with should I work with you?”
Here is our team!
In today’s real estate market agents work with assistant,s transaction coordinators and other agents. This can definitely work in your favor because the cost to you is the same and you will have more people at your fingertips to answer quick questions or show you property.
It also means you will be working with different personalities. It is important that you meet the entire team before deciding on this agent, as you will likely be dealing with everyone. But more eyes on the market means more options for you!
These are just a few important questions you should ask your Realtor®. Don’t be scared to ask any questions, even if they are ‘silly’ or repetitive. As a buyer it is your responsibility to satisfy yourself with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision. Along with the house, your memories of the buying experience will last forever.