As we have previously stated, it is incredibly important to do a little research before picking the REALTOR® that is going to work alongside you during your entire home buying or selling transaction. While there are important qualities and traits to look for in a REALTOR® there are also some necessary questions to ask during the interview process. And yes, you should interview an agent! You wouldn’t hire an employee without interviewing them at least once, so why would you blindly hire someone to advise you on one of life’s biggest financial investments? Below are a few questions you should ask a potential Lake Tahoe REALTOR®.
How long have you been in real estate?
How long one has been in the business doesn’t necessarily guarantee that an agent is the best. However, real estate is a career where experience is gained on the job. It is also a constantly changing industry. Having someone who has been in the business for a long time suggests that they have a good grasp on the ins and outs of the business, the local market trends as well as national and global real estate news. This knowledge combined can go a long way when purchasing a home, or selling one. If they are new to the industry, there is still a chance they will bring valuable skills to the table along with a fresh outlook and energy. If these are traits you want and yet you know that the agent’s real estate experience is limited, ask if they would be willing to join efforts with a more experienced agent.
Is being a Lake Tahoe REALTOR® your full-time job?
When searching for a REALTOR® you want to make sure that real estate is their main focus. In a town like Lake Tahoe, there are several REALTOR®s who have second jobs. While this isn’t a bad thing, you want to know that you and your property is among their top priorities. You also want to know that they are available “upon demand” to handle unexpected questions, time-sensitive issues and the flexibility to work with your personal schedule.
What designations do you hold?
There are certain designations, such as CRS® and GRI, which require REALTORS® to take specialized real estate training in addition to the minimum requirements to become licensed. This extra training shows dedication not only to their clients and career, but a love for the industry in general. One of the most important certifications you should be looking for, when interviewing Lake Tahoe REALTORS® is the Lake Tahoe Local Area Governmental Agencies Specialist. This is a certification achieved by demonstrating a minimum level of knowledge in regards to the various local agencies such as the Building Departments, TRPA, US Forest Recreation Cabins and more.
How many homes did you and your real estate brokerage sell last year?
The answer given to this question will give you a good idea of how much experience a Realtor has. Keep in mind market conditions when asking this question. A fabulous, experienced agent could have had a slow year due to market conditions and a mediocre agent could have had a great year because it was a seller’s market and the demand for homes was high. Be sure to do your homework and ask where you can view testimonials from prior clients.
What was the average amount of days it took you to sell a home and how did that compare to the overall market?
A REALTOR® should have these facts on hand and be readily available to present these upon request. Additionally, they should be able to provide a comparison of the current market statistic from the local MLS. Once again, there could be factors present that don’t reflect the Realtor’s ability to do their job, so keep that in mind.
What were the final sale prices of most of your listings and how close was that to the initial asking prices?
While there can be some extenuating circumstances present, such as a hot real estate market or a sssllooowwww one, this is one indication of how a skilled REALTOR® prices their listings and markets them to suitable buyers.
How will you market my home?
There are so many amazing resources and tools at Realtor’s finger tips these days that you want someone who is aware of the best innovative marketing tools and the most effective ways of using them so they reach suitable buyers. You don’t want someone who’s going to put a For Sale sign in the yard, hold one open house and then hope the house sales within 24 hours. Seek a Realtor that has cutting edge technology at their disposal and isn’t afraid to use it.
Can you recommend service providers who can help me find a mortgage, make repairs and assist with my home’s needs?
A good REALTOR® will usually work with the best in the industry and therefore give you quality referrals. Typically they will suggest a few different providers for each category and be able to give you a little insider info on each one.
What’s your business philosophy?
This is one of those questions that doesn’t really have a right or wrong answer. However, it will give you valuable insight on what a realtor’s goals and priorities are and you can get a good idea if you are both on the same page.
How do you update your clients on the transaction and how often?
Like the above, this doesn’t have a right or wrong answer. Most agents are good at updating their clients based on their requests, but it is good to know how often a Realtor finds it necessary to touch base with clients, and how they do it. With so many ways to communicate these days, everyone has a preferred method. Do you want your agent to call you on a specific week day with an update, or are you fine with a text update only when something major happens? Be sure to gauge their reaction to your request. If they seem noticeably disappointed at your need for a weekly face to face meeting, you may want to search for a Realtor that is ok with a more personal approach. A quality Realtor will be focused on a good working relationship with their client, and that means communicating in a way their client desires.