There are a over 5,000 real estate agents in Charleston out there today. Chances are you may already know one from within your own social circle and you can get referrals from neighbors, friends, and family members. So how do you choose the most qualified person for the job that you also think you will work well with? In order to make this decision, be prepared in advance and ask about their expertise and real estate experience.
Here are a 15 questions to think about in order to determine if an your Charleston SC agent will be the right fit for you:
1. What percentage of your clients are buyers (vs. sellers)?
Agents are typically focused on either buyers or sellers and while every agent can handle either side of a transaction, it's good to know where their experience lies.
2. In which neighborhoods do you primarily work?
Some real estate agents focus on particular areas of Charleston to specialize in the real estate in that particular neighborhood. They'll have an idea of home prices, averages, solds and similar data off the top of their head.
3. Will I be working with you directly or handed off to anyone else other than you?
In other words, will you handle all aspects of my transaction or will you delegate some tasks to a sales associate or administrative assistant? A knowledgeable assistant can be invaluable, but you want to make sure you can connect with your agent regularly.
4. Do you work full-time or part-time as a real estate agent?
We've mentioned this one before - some agents are full-time dedicated Realtors, while some have another full-time job in addition to being an agent. Take some time to think about which would suit your needs better.
5. How many homes have you closed in my neighborhood?
It's a good idea to be aware of how many homes have closed in your neighborhood, and especially if this particular agent has closed sales in your chosen neighborhood before. Knowing the market and comps can give you an advantage when it comes time to close.
6. How many other buyers are you representing now? How many sellers?
Hint: the busiest agents often are the most efficient.
7. Is your license in good standing?
You may want to know if an agent has had grievances filed against them or committed ethics violations. Many states provide this information online.
8. How many years of real estate experience & education do you have?
Experience and continuing education typically make for better agents.
9. Are you also a broker?
A Broker ultimately has more experience than a Realtor as you're required to have 3 years of under your belt and pass the Broker exam to garner the certification.
10. Can you provide me with the names and phone numbers of past clients who have agreed to be references?
Insights from past customers can help you learn more about an agent and give you a greater comfort level.
11. What separates you and your company from other agencies?
Knowing what your agent will do for you above and beyond other agencies will help you determine if they are the right fit.
12. What type of support staff or resources do you have?
This could include anything from technology, marketing, individual website design for your listing, in-house staging, design, lenders etc.
13. What strategies will you use to market my home?
Ultimately you're not looking for an agent who will take photos with their smartphone, upload them into the MLS system and hope it sells itself. Make sure the agent you choose to sell your home is actively and strategically marketing your home to the right buyers.
14. What technology do you use?
The phrase "time is money" rings true in the current real estate market. Having tablets with electronic signing capabilities is important —it helps submit an offer very fast and that can be critical in a heated real estate market.
15. What will be my biggest challenges in this process?
You want to hear from the agent an honest assessment and realistic expectations, as issues could arise with inspections and repairs. For example, ask about problem solving skills - 90% of real estate is about problem solving - not selling.
Note: More than anything else, the ideal real estate agent for you is an experienced professional who knows your market, acts in an ethical manner, answers all of your questions, addresses your concerns and, most importantly, will listen to you and be your teammate throughout the entire process. If you're buying in the Charleston area you'll want an experienced Charleston Realtor. Start your search by finding out everything you need to know and see how we can help you in the process ...
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