Whether you are a buyer or a seller, before you sign the contract to work with a particular agent, you need to know quite a bit about that agent. You are, after all, entering into a reciprocal relationship, and there must be a good fit, an alignment of goals and methods. And you gather that pertinent information by asking questions, much like an employer does with a prospective employee. We thought it would be helpful, then, for you to know the top 5 questions real estate agents in Oakland are asked.
1. What is the neighborhood like?
More and more today, the neighborhood is more important to home buyers than the square footage of the house or whether it has a pool in the back yard. And that means real estate agents in Oakland are almost always asked about the neighborhood. You will, of course, want to check out the neighborhood yourself, but you should also ask the agent about it. She will likely have insider knowledge from years of working in that very specific market. Your agent should know whether the neighborhood is, for example, family friendly. If, however, the agent can’t tell you anything about the neighborhood, that should be a red flag.
2. How long has the property been on the market?
Real estate agents in Oakland should know how long a property has been on the market. For this knowledge will let you know about pricing, may indicate a problem, and can give you more negotiating leverage. If it has been on the market a while, say, six months, that’s a good indication the seller will be motivated to sell. A good agent in possession of this information should be able to negotiate you either a better price or more concessions or maybe both.
3. Has it changed hands often?
Another question real estate agents in Oakland are asked concerns how many times a property has changed hands, has been sold. If it has been sold several times in just a few years, then the logical follow-up question is, “Why?” Typically, in such a case, there is something wrong with the house like a flooding basement or something wrong about the neighborhood such as frequent home break-ins. Your agent should be on top of this and know the answer. You need all the information you can get, and your agent should be able to supply it.
4. Who was your most challenging client, and what did you do?
This is a question for real estate agents in Oakland that both buyers and sellers should ask. In fact, it’s one that most employers ask some version of in job interviews. It lets you know where an agent’s weak spots are and how she handles difficult clients.
What you’re trying to discover here is whether the agent has the patience and commitment to do whatever it takes to work with all personality types. A particular red flag to be on the lookout for is an agent trashing a former “difficult” client. That just isn’t-professional.
5. Can you make my offer more attractive without offering more money?
Real estate agents in Oakland are often asked this because buyers need to know that their agent has more tools in her negotiation toolbox than just an offer increase. You can always offer more money, but a good agent should have more tricks up her sleeve. Your agent should be able to leverage such things as buyers needing a quick closing or wanting to wait till the end of the school year. Your agent should be able to glean the pertinent facts and leverage them for you.
These may be the top 5 questions real estate agents in Oakland are asked, but they are by no means the only ones. And you should ask your agent plenty of questions both before and after you sign a contract to work with her. But that also means you need an agent who is able and willing to listen to you and who has the knowledge and experience to answer your questions. Our agents do both.