Ask These 8 Questions Before Hiring a Real Estate Agent
Hiring a BREA real estate agent is smart for anyone buying or selling a home or property in The Bahamas — not just when market conditions appear challenging. BREA licensed real estate agents have the necessary experience and expert knowledge of negotiation, complex real estate processes, and the local area where you’re doing business. The right real estate agent will make your transaction smoother and your life easier while getting you a great deal. The key to achieving this is to find the BREA licensed agent with the right fit for you.
How do you do that? You can easily find great real estate agents via the web and online reviews, social media, or word-of-mouth recommendations. However, don't hire any agent wherever you find your possible agents until you’ve asked these eight questions.
1. What’s your availability like?
Ask this question to understand how occupied the real estate agent is. Everyone is busy — but if the agent has an overloaded schedule, an upcoming vacation, or other conflicts, it might be worth looking into another option. You should feel sure that the real estate agent has time to properly focus on you and that your needs will be met.
2. What’s your marketing strategy?
This one is important if you’re selling a home or property. How will the agent get your property in front of as many potential buyers? Does the agent's marketing plan include professional photography? What about social media advertising and email blasts? Print media?
There are many different marketing tactics a real estate agent can use to sell your property, and just as no two homes or properties are alike, no two real estate transactions should be treated as identical. Your potential agent should talk to you about your goals and develop a unique-to-you plan for achieving them. If an agent you are considering does not, then keep shopping around.
3. What’s your negotiation style?
Whether you’re buying or selling, negotiation is potentially the most nerve-wracking part of a real estate transaction — for everyone! Asking this question will help you understand how the real estate agent will negotiate on your behalf. Does the agent play hardball or is the agent more compromising — and which do you prefer? It will also tell you how confident the agent is in getting you the price you want and the terms you’re looking for, so make sure you’re happy with their answer and negotiation approach.
4. How do you like to communicate?
Buying or selling, having a real estate agent whose communication style is compatible with yours is important. Do you prefer calls, emails, or texts? Do you like bare-bones, straightforward information or do you prefer a little sugar-coating? Make sure your preferences match with your agent's before committing to a situation that could end up frustrating you. Now is a good time to ask how often the real estate agent will be in touch and what kind of updates you can expect to receive.
5. How long have you been a sales agent?
Asking this question will give you an idea of the real estate agent's experience level and familiarity with the market. These things are important because they influence how expertly the agent will be able to navigate any issues that arise. It will determine how well the agent will place your home or property in the market if you’re selling and how easily the agent will find you your dream home or property at the right price if you're buying. Local expertise and years of experience also come with a priceless network of relationships and contacts to help you meet your goals.
Does that mean you should never hire a newly licensed real estate agent? Not necessarily. You should not worry about hiring a brand new agent if that agent has an experienced team to provide guidance and everything else the new agent may need to ensure your success.
6. What are your fees?
Ask this question to be sure you understand how much the agent is paid and who is responsible for paying the agent for the services. If you’re a buyer, you generally don’t have to worry about it. Typically, buyers’ and sellers' agents are paid a percentage of the purchase price and paid out of the sale proceeds. If you’re a seller, make sure you know the percentage so you’re not surprised when the sale goes through.
7. Do you have any references?
Buying or selling a home or property is a huge decision, and who you choose to accompany you on that journey can mean the difference between mega success and mega stress. Great real estate agents understand that and should be happy to provide references from clients who have had good experiences working with them. It’s also good to look up public reviews (Google reviews) of any real estate agent you’re considering hiring. This will give you an idea of what it’s like to work with them and what results you can expect.
8. What experience do you have with these market conditions?
The answer to this question will tell you how confident the agent is in achieving your goals — even if the market is difficult. It will give you an idea of how tuned in to the market the agent is and whether the agent is aware of the current potential pitfalls and struggles. It also allows you to see how straightforward the real estate agent's ability to communicate. Another great question is to ask the agent: “What’s your plan for making sure we’re successful in this market?”