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Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

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Here is a partial list of questions and concerns you should bring up with you real estate agent before doing business. Find out whether your agent has an efficient marketing plan to sell your home. Conversely, if you are looking to purchase, ask how much experience your candidate agent has with your target neighborhoods. Ask for references from satisfied clients, 5 to 10 should do the trick.

Ask how fast your agent will return your phone calls. Take a look at your agent's brochure, office, and résumé. Ask if your agent provides additional financial services. Find out how many clients your agent takes on at a time.

Don't underestimate the importance of organization in general real estate. Does your agent appear to dress nicely and speak knowledgeably about the industry? Is she current on the MLS system? Does she use a computer organization system?

If you are a seller, will your general real estate agent upload your complete listing information onto the MLS quickly? What are your agent's hours of operation? Does she prefer to keep in contact via email, office phone, or cell phone? How much experience does the agent have in the business? How long has the agent been with his or her particular office?

What general real estate guarantees and protections can your agent offer you? How much time does your agent have to devote to you? Some agents can handle 10 clients at a time without blinking an eye. Others get run ragged handling more than two or three people at a time. Does your agent deal exclusively in residential general real estate, or does he or she tackle business and commercial general real estate as well?

If you've winnowed your search down to two or three agents, you may cross check references and ask for recommendations from disinterested third parties. You should also ask the so-called intangible questions like "Do you and your spouse click with the agent?" or "Do you get the sense that your agent is appreciated by his or her colleagues?" Would you like to have dinner with this person in a social context?" The answers here are important because they relate to how well your general real estate agent will do in terms of negotiating with sellers/buyers and their respective real estate agents.

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