10 Questions to Ask Real Estate Agents

Guy Gardiner0

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10 Essential Questions to Ask Real Estate Agents

Buying or selling a property, whether it is an investment or your home, is a significant financial decision, and it’s crucial to know everything you can about the property you’re going to own or sell. Your real estate agent should be a partner with you throughout the process and you should get everything you can out of them. They’re an incredibly useful asset for understanding the market, and how you should price your home or offer. It’s essential to be proactive throughout the process and squeeze everything out of them. In this article, we’ll cover all the important questions you should ask them.

Questions you should ask if you’re buying

Buying a property is a big financial undertaking, and having the right real estate agent, and the right questions can make a huge difference in your experience throughout the process and your success in landing one. We’ve made a list of the important questions you should be asking, which is useful for everyone, whether this is your first home or you’re an experienced homeowner.

  1. How long has the property been on the market?
    This question is great as it can give you an idea immediately of how competitive the buying market is and if the property is fairly priced. Typically, if a property has been on the market for more than 6 weeks, there’s usually a fault within it or it’s unreasonably priced. In Australia, most properties sell within a month of being on the market. If it’s been on the market for a long time, you may have a better chance at being able to negotiate the price down, although you should make sure to inspect the property carefully for any faults that you might not notice on first impression.
  2. What are the standard fees for this property?
    This can include water rates, strata and council fees which can quickly stack up and increase your monthly homeownership costs. You need to make sure that these, paired with your mortgage repayments, are affordable and in line with your budget.
  3. How long did the previous owners live in this house and why are they selling?
    This might help you with the bargaining/offer process as you’ll have more context for the sale. Let’s say you find out the owners have recently purchased and are moving into another property. They’re likely in a hurry to sell this one, which may allow you to bargain for a lower price. There are several other cases as well that you might be able to use to your advantage, so it’s an important question to ask.
  4. What’s included in the sale?
    These may be things such as white goods (such as a washing machine or a dishwasher), furniture and light fittings. You should check what’s included in the sale so that you know exactly what you’re paying for come to the settling date.
  5. Would I be able to get a hold of a property sales report?
    Property sales reports show what similar properties have sold for recently, which can help understand what the price range is for the home you’re interested in. You don’t want to be overpaying for a property, compared to the rest of the local market.
  6. Are there any known issues with the property?
    This is a very important question to ask. It’s not a great feeling to buy a home and find out you’re going to have to spend a fortune fixing up defects and issues that you were unaware of when you inspected the property. By getting ahead of this early, you can estimate the costs of any repairs or renovations that need to be done. You can account for this when making an offer and ensure it fits in your budget.
  7. Has anything been recently renovated?
    Finding out if any parts of the property have been recently renovated can allow you to see if there are any workmanship warranties that are still valid, but more importantly, help determine what the value of the property is. Renovations, particularly those on old properties, can make it a much more liveable space and increase the property’s value.
  8. What are the neighbours like?
    Being a part of a friendly neighbourhood can make a huge difference to the quality of life in your new home. You may also want to check what kind of lifestyle people in the neighbourhood live by, whether they’re young or families with kids, and how that aligns with you and your own lifestyle.
  9. What do you think about the location?
    If your realtor is well-informed about the area, they’ll be able to provide a large amount of information about what the area has to offer. This could include typical pricing, local trends, growth in the area, demographics, and also things like local parks and facilities. Squeezing this information out of the realtor can help you paint a better picture of what it would be like to own this home or property. They may also be able to tell you if the area is on the rise, which could set you up for a good return on investment, should you choose to sell down the line.
  10. Are the sellers negotiable on price?
    If you’re set on your budget for a home and a property that’s potentially out of your reach catches your eye, it’s a good idea to find out whether the seller is open to negotiation on price. Better to get a flat out ‘no’ early than to waste your time looking into a property you can’t afford or don't feel is worth the priced value. It’s important to check regardless of whether it’s within your budget or not, as you should be looking to get the best price possible for the property.

Questions you should ask if you’re selling

Selling a property, particularly your home is a big step and can be quite stressful. Having a reliable and helpful real estate agent can make the journey a lot smoother and more comfortable for you. We’ve developed a list of questions you should ask your real estate agent to make the process as transparent as possible.

  1. How long have you been in real estate?
    Your home will likely be your largest financial asset and you want to make sure you’re selling it the right way. Having an experienced realtor is quite important and they will understand the current market and the market trends. Asking how many years of experience they have is a good method for understanding what their skillset may be able to achieve for you. Whilst years of experience are good, you need to clarify which type of properties they typically sell. A realtor that mainly sells commercial real estate is not as good of a match for someone selling a home as a real estate agent that sells homes, as you can imagine.
  2. What properties do you typically sell, what have you sold recently?
    Make sure to check what kind of prices they have advertised and then sold for, particularly in their recent sales. Comparing the asking price and sale price can be a measurement of the success of the realtor. You’ll be able to see their track record when it comes to selling properties similar to yours, including time on the market and the selling price.
  3. How long will it take to sell my property?
    Often this question will be met with an answer like ‘it’s difficult to say’, but this can be a good way to tell if an agent is honest, as one that makes empty promises to sell fast with no evidence to back it up could be a warning sign. Your agent should be comparing your property to similar properties within the local market, to aid you in estimating how long the selling time might be.
  4. What’s the best time of year for me to sell my property?
    This could be any number of factors from seasons that buyers typically purchase during, to maximising natural light to create more appeal for buyers. There are a variety of factors, so it’s important to ask your realtor for their advice and you could be making selling your property a bit easier.
  5. What is your marketing strategy and how are you going to be listing my property?
    A key part of the sale of your home is how it’s marketed. Potential buyers are going to need to be able to find your property and have it appeal to them in order to progress through the home buying process. This is one of the responsibilities of your real estate agent, who should have a comprehensive marketing plan to attract potential buyers. This should be through real estate websites, as well as potentially using social media, signboards and newspaper advertising.
  6. What price do you think I'll be able to sell my property for?
    This is an important question to ask as it can demonstrate how well the realtor knows the local market. You’ll be able to dive into how well they know the area and your type of property. If they’re familiar with your type of property and area, they may be able to anticipate any obstacles you might face as you try to sell, and also give a better estimate of how much it may sell for. You should also ask the realtor if the area is in a buyers or sellers market. They should be able to provide you with a list of homes, that are similar to your own, and have recently sold or are currently available in the local area. This can give you a better idea of how to price your home so that you get a fair price and it doesn’t sit on the market for a long time.
  7. How do you think I should sell my property?
    There are several ways that you could sell your property, the most common being auction, private treaty and expression of interest. Each of these methods has its own advantages and drawbacks and can be influenced by things like location and market conditions. Your real estate agent’s answer can reveal how much they know about the local market and can provide immense benefits in the sale of your home.
  8. What do you recommend I do to make my property more appealing to buyers and improve my chances of selling?
    Once you’ve found out what the real estate agent is estimating the selling price to be, it’s time to see if there are any ways that you can make the property more appealing and increase the selling price. This could be small things like a thorough cleaning, a fresh coat of paint on the cupboards, or a tidy garden. You may consider doing renovations, big or small, that make the home feel more inviting and appealing for potential buyers. It’s dependent on your own individual budget and whether it’s a positive investment, essentially it makes you more money than it costs you. However, even when renovations can cost more and reduce your earnings from selling a property, it can increase the speed of selling, which in itself is a benefit.
  9. What do your realtor fees include?
    Agent fees typically range between 1.5% and 4% in Australia, so it’s important to know how much you’re paying and what you’re paying for. Of course, this is the agent’s commission, but as we spoke about previously, the property will need to be marketed and this may be covered in the fee. You should make sure to compare the total costs of all the services each agent offers, alongside the realtor’s reputation, and commission.
  10. Is there anything else I should know about?
    This could cover a wide range of things such as: how the agent will keep in contact with you, if they work alone or as part of a team, any additional fees that may pop up, and what you can do if you’re unhappy with the service you’re getting.
    All of these can be discussed during your interview with the agent and can clarify any things that you’re particularly interested in/concerned about. Don’t rush your decision-making, the selling process is something you should feel comfortable with.

Finding a good real estate agent

Independent real estate agent review website Rate My Agent is a great place to help you find the best real estate agent for you. Your agent should be a part of your team, helping you by providing the best service for your specific needs.

Disclaimer: YouBroker is not affiliated with Rate My Agent.

We’re here to help you along your home buying journey, with a streamlined process to help you get into your home. Visit our get started page to get your finances sorted, faster.

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