Since as far back as Aristotle, we’ve known the importance of asking the right questions to get the answers we need. And that applies to real estate just as much as it does to philosophy. The answer most of us need, whether we’re buying or selling, is the answer to this one question: Which agent is the right real estate agent for me and my situation, the one who can do the best job for me? But to get the right answer to that question, you will first have to ask a series of other critical questions. So here’s what to ask your Tampa Bay real estate agent?
How long have you been in the business?
Length of experience in a certain industry or business is no guarantee of ability and expertise, but it does help to narrow the field. So you will definitely want to ask your Tampa Bay real estate agent about her experience early on. Here’s how industry pros explain it: “While it is true that experience doesn’t necessarily equal success, real estate is a commission-based business and it would be very difficult for an agent to survive for a long time providing awful service.”
How many clients do you have on average?
Now you won’t ask your Tampa Bay real estate agent this question because you have any real interest in the number of her clients. Rather, what you are trying to find out is whether she will actually have enough time to devote to you and your property to ensure a good job. You don’t want to be shuffled in among dozens of other clients.
Still, just because a prospective agent works with lots of clients, that doesn’t necessarily mean that an agent is a bad choice. In that case, take it a step further and ask what the agent will do if you need extra time or support or guidance. You also might inquire whether she has other team members who can pitch in and help when needed.
What is your buyer-to-seller ratio?
Many times, agents will work primarily with one side or other of client spectrum – either mostly with sellers or mostly with buyers. Depending on whether you are selling or buying, this can have a big impact on how well the agent can represent you. Still, it’s good if your agent knows how to work both sides of the fence. If, according to industry watchers, you are “looking to sell your current house and buy another, the transaction will be much more seamless should one agent be able to oversee the entire process.”
Are you familiar with my local market?
One very important question you need to ask your Tampa Bay real estate agent concerns her knowledge of and experience with the local market, even the market conditions within your neighborhood. Local markets have their own peculiarities and conditions, so your agent must have intimate knowledge of the local market. But some wider market knowledge is needed as well, real estate pros caution: “when working with that ‘neighborhood expert,’ they may try too hard to fit you into a shoe that doesn’t fit. Find someone who works both in and around your main area of interest.”
What about communication – availability & method?
Frequent communication between you and your agent is critical – without it, your business relationship, your partnership, can never flourish. So be sure to ask your Tampa Bay real estate agent whether she will be available and whether she will be willing to communicate by means of your preferred method, say, by phone or text or email. Your agent should also be willing to make time for in-person meetings as needed. Basically, the agent should be willing to meet the client’s (your) needs.
Can you handle my unique situation?
Not all home sellers and buyers are the same. Some are first-time home buyers, some are long-term investors, others are flippers, and yet others need to sell an estate or probate property. Within whatever category you fall, you need to make sure your agent is equipped to handle your specific needs and unique situation, having the requisite training, knowledge, experience, and professional network. You need to ask your Tampa Bay real estate agent very specific questions about this and don’t let her brush you off with an answer like this: “Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.”
Do you have any questions for me?
A final and important question you must ask your Tampa Bay real estate agent is whether she has any questions for you. Remember, you will be entering into a business relationship with your agent, and for that to succeed there must a good fit, compatibility, and shared goals. So the questioning can’t be one-sided. You don’t want to hook up with an agent desperate to take any client who crosses her path. The agent should ask you questions to ensure that she can deliver client-centered service.
Cut the Risk Further
These are the basic questions you should ask your Tampa Bay real estate agent, and they can go a long way toward ensuring that you get the right agent. But even so, things don’t always work out as planned. A good way to increase your odds of finding a great agent is to contact a network of top-notch agents. We can assist you with this.