Smart consumers interview potential real estate agents before deciding on whom to hire. Just as you are sizing up the potential for a good fit, rest assured that the real estate agent will likely be interviewing you, too.
1. How Long Have You Been in the Business?
Experience is valuable, but that’s not to say that freshly licensed agents aren’t valuable. Much depends on whether they have access to competent mentors and the level of their training. Newer agents tend to have more time to concentrate on you. Some agents with 20 years of experience repeat their first year over and over. Other 20-year agents learn something new every year.
2. Will You Please Provide References?
Everybody has references. Even new agents have references from previous employers.
3. What Are the Top Three Things That Separate You From Your Competition?
A good agent won’t hesitate to answer this question and will be ready to fire off why she is best suited for the job. Find out what area they consider themselves experts.
4. May I Review Documents Beforehand That I Will Be Asked to Sign?
A sign of a good real estate agent is a professional who makes forms available to you for preview before you are required to sign them. If at all possible, ask for these documents upfront.
5. How Much Do You Charge?
All real estate fees are negotiable. Typically, real estate agents charge a percentage, from 1% to 4% to represent one side of a transaction: a seller or a buyer.
6. What Haven’t I Asked You That I Need to Know?
Pay close attention to how the real estate agent answers this question because there is always something you need to know, always.
Clients visiting our office often ask for a list of “all available properties.” The first question I ask is to determine whether they will be renting out the property. Only some areas within the Town of Mammoth Lakes are zoned transient rentals (check the town’s website). Many people are not aware most single family homes cannot be rented out on a nightly basis. This narrows the search considerably.
After discussing the pros/cons of various areas, the next step is for the potential buyer to determine goals for the property. If income/cash flow based, ask your agent for any receiveables provided by the seller. Keep in mind most of these reports show “gross” income and there will be a percentage you will pay to the property management company plus any utilities or fees not included in the Home Owners Associate fees.
Property management fees vary greatly as do the services provided. Some fees can be as high as 60% of gross income but often these offer greater name recognition and advertising presence which could increase the number of rentals booked for your property.
Ultimately your short and long term goals are key in selecting the property. It is easy to get swept up in the emotions – my advice is to slow down and secure a real estate agent in your pursuit to make an educated decision.
Broker Associate – DRE #01904399
The Village at Mammoth