Know you’re ready to find and buy, but not sure who’ll be best to help get you to the finish line: turning the key in the front door of your dream home? Choosing a real estate agent can feel overwhelming, so buyers beware: be sure to ask potential Grand Rapids realtors these 5 simple questions to find the one who’s right for you:
Must-Ask Question #1:
How (and how often) will you send me new listings?
It’s important to know how an agent plans to keep you well aware of homes that fit your wish list. Will they be setting up a client portal that’ll automate your home search and send you new listings daily? Watching for pocket listings from fellow agents to get you in the door on a potential home ahead of the crowd? Personally scanning the MLS to search for homes that might be just outside of your parameters, but worth a look? Be clear on how your realtor plans to help you sift through a sea of listings to get to the best fit (and get in quickly for showings), especially in a low-inventory market.
Must-Ask Question #2:
Have you worked with buyers in my situation before?
Have a one-of-a-kind situation that might make your home search more difficult? Need to buy a home with the contingency of selling your current one? Have a unique loan arrangement (VA, FHA, etc.) that might impact how things move forward with your mortgage lender? Plan on purchasing a short-sale or foreclosure? Be sure to ask if your realtor has experiencing working with buyers in similar situations, and how they plan to adjust accordingly to help you find the home that’s right for you.
Must-Ask Question #3:
How will you communicate with me?
When looking to buy the home of your dreams, it all comes down to communication. Make sure your agent is well aware of how you prefer to be reached (by phone or by e-mail) and how flexible your schedule is (if you can accommodate same-day or during-the-day showings when necessary).
Must-Ask Question #4:
Are you able to accommodate short-notice showing requests?
In a perfect world, you’d catch the house of your dreams on the market, be the only one interested, and be able to see it on your own sweet time. But in a low-inventory market like our West Michigan one, that’s often not the case. Many homes are under contract within mere days of being on the market, meaning a quick window for showings and, often, multiple offers. Be sure you understand how willing your realtor is to accommodate last-minute showing requests (and if they have a trusted team of other agents who’ll help get you in to see a home in a pinch if they can’t personally).
Must-Ask Question #5:
Will you be helping throughout the whole home search process?
While helpful assistants and trusted teams truly make the real estate world go round, be sure you understand your realtor’s approach and how much they’ll be working with you personally. After all, there’s no point in interviewing a potential realtor and vetting their personality and professionalism only to be swept off to someone else the minute your home search begins. Pinpoint with your realtor how much of the process will be handled by them and how much will be delegated to other team members so you know who you’ll be working with day-to-day.