Turn it around and make sure your prospective agent asks you the right questions.
Once you have made the decision to move, it is time to seek out the services of a Realtor. Keep in mind you are seeking someone who is going to guide you through a process to make the most expensive purchase of your life. Ask friends, relatives and business associates who they think might be a good realtor for you.
Once you have at least 3 referrals call each of them and set an appointment to visit their office and interview them. You can tell a lot about how professional your prospective Realtor is by how organized their office is, how personable others in the office are and just a general feeling you get in the first few minutes of being at their office. If you have a negative feeling at first politely cut the meeting short and go to the next Realtor on your list until the feeling is right.
Now that your prospective Realtor has passed the first test be prepared to ask a few pertinent questions like:
Why are you a Realtor?
Hopefully they enjoy helping people achieve their goals. Run if their answer is that since the Real Estate market has heated up they thought it was a good time to get their license and make a little money.
Ask what are their hours of doing business?
Anything less than 24/7 is the wrong answer. In a competitive Austin home market like we have now, the early bird gets the worm.
Ask if their firm has a preferred title company and mortgage company that they refer to?
If so, are there any financial incentives that accrue to the Realtor as a result of that arrangement? It is not necessarily a red flag if there is a referral fee or even partial ownership of the title or mortgage company, but it is nice to know. It is probably much better if the Realtor has preferred vendors, as the process will go much smoother if they do.
And lastly, if you have already zeroed in on a particular area of town to live in, does your prospective Realtor have the local knowledge to maybe ferret out some hidden gem that’s not necessarily in MLS?
Now comes the real reason for the interview process. What questions does the prospective Realtor have for you?
A very important question they should ask you is: Why are you moving?
If they do not ask that question then keep on looking for the right match. The answer to that question gives the real estate pro a list of questions to hone in on the right home for you. Maybe you are looking for a larger home as your family expands, maybe you want a bigger yard for your dog, maybe you want a shorter commute, maybe you want new construction, etc.
The point is that is the question that both you and your Realtor should ask and really, really, really understand the answer.