When you’re looking to move, either by selling your home or buying a new one, one of the first steps involves meeting with a Realtor®. Your agent will be the person who guides you through the process and acts as your lifeline throughout the buying or selling process. They will offer advice and work hard to put you in the best financial position possible. During your first meeting with a Realtor®, make sure you come prepared with the right questions to learn about the process. With a little preparation, you can both get off on the right foot and move forward with a clear idea of what the agent will do. Here are a few things to expect (and do) during your first meeting with a Realtor®
Be Prepared to Talk About FinancesIf you want your first meeting with a Realtor® to be productive, then you need to have your finances in order. You can handle many of the preliminary financial questions on your own before you even find a real estate professional who you trust. If you are looking to buy a home: consider getting pre-approved for a mortgage. You should also figure out how much home you can afford to ensure that you don’t go over budget. Knowing these limits can help your Realtor® find houses to show you within your range and expectations. If you haven't been prequalified yet, right now is the perfect time to ask your agent if they have a lender that they recommend. If you are looking to sell your home quickly: find your deed, your old title policy, any surveys you've completed and a recent mortgage statement. You should also decide what timeline you are on and how eager you are to sell the property. This may involve some discussion with your significant other or siblings if you inherited a home. If you need to sell a home quickly, you'll want to price it more competitively. Right now housing inventories are so constrained that it's not difficult to sell a home quickly, at full price. Related: 5 Tips For Working with a Real Estate Agent to Sell Your House
Discuss Your Must-Haves With a PropertyAlong with the financial discussions around the home buying process, you should also decide what features and styles of a home are most important to you. Do you need a garage to park your prized vehicle? Do you want to be within walking distance of a school or workplace? Separate the must-haves from the would-likes so your Realtor® knows how to search on your behalf. During the meeting, your Realtor® will likely let you know whether these features are realistic. For example, your budget may not be able to handle a five-bedroom house or a house on the beach. Your Realtor® will recommend either increasing your budget or choosing features that are possible within your area. You can also create a list of deal-breakers, like a house that is next to the interstate or only has one bathroom. Your Realtor® will also let you know how realistic these are.
Create a List of Questions for the Realtor®As you prepare for your first meeting with a Realtor®, create a list of questions that you want to ask them. These questions can dig into the home buying or selling process or they can focus on the Realtor’s® qualifications in particular. For example, you may ask the Realtor® how they plan to market your house and what recommendations they would have to prepare it for sale. You could also ask about their pricing strategy, current client base, and the experience with home types like yours. Here are a few questions for home sellers:
- How many homes have you sold?
- What is your "average days on market" over the last year?
- How many years have you been in the business?
- Have you ever had a complaint filed against you with the state?
- What commission rate do you charge and what services does this price include?
- What do you think is an appropriate list price for my home?
- Are there any fees to cancel a listing agreement?
- Have you sold many homes in this area?